Gov. Tony Evers today directed Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm to restrict the size of all child care settings, according to a press release from the governor’s office. Under the order, centers may not operate with more than 10 staff present at a time and may not operate with more than 50 children present at a time.
The restriction in size goes into effect at 8 a.m. on Thurs, March 19, 2020 to give child care providers and families time to make plans for care moving forward. The closure will remain in effect for the duration of the public health emergency declared last week.
“Child care is an essential service for many of the folks working on the front lines to provide healthcare and vital services to our communities during the COVID-19 outbreak,” Evers said in a statement. “This is another step forward to ensure that service continues, while protecting our child care providers who are going above and beyond their regular duties to support our families, communities, and state.”
Providers are being asked to prioritize families of healthcare and essential service providers, using good faith to determine who those families are, according to the release. Those using care who can keep their children at home are being asked to do so. The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) and DHS have updated guidance for providers to implement this emergency order, available here.
“I know many Wisconsinites are looking for ways to help during this crisis,” Evers said in the statement. “If you are able, keeping your kids at home is one of the actions you can take to have the most impact. I also want to recognize the child care providers around the state who are stepping up to support our communities– we appreciate your service during this challenging time.”