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Childcare for Essential Employees - FAQs

​​While many local government employees in offices or close-contact environments are working from home to avoid exposure to or spread of COVID-19, other staffers are regarded as “essential” and have to report to their workplaces for practical reasons. That’s a predicament for those with children, per the state’s temporary closure of schools. 

If your city is considering allowing employees’ children to congregate in a daycare-type setting, we encourage you to strongly consider the following potential concerns:

Frequently Asked Questions

I heard the empty schools could be used as daycares for specific employees. How would that work?

On March 18, 2020, the Department of Public Instruction and Department of Health and Human Services issued a joint statement outlining how empty schools could be utilized as a temporary daycare. Read that statement here

Regarding insurance, are there any liabilities to keep in mind with this? ​​ ​
You should check with your insurer. For local governments covered by the League’s Property and Liability Trust, there are some coverage limitations to consider: Sexual abuse is excluded from the policy, as is the furnishing or dispensing of drugs or medical, dental or surgical supplies. A waiver of all liability would be necessary for all participants.

What are some legal considerations? ​
The state licenses daycare facilities and has guidelines associated with staffing, facilities, etc. It would be prudent to check with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Service’s Division of Child Development and Early Education about their licensing requirements​, and if those could be met prior to establishing care, o​r if they are prepared to offer a waiver in this extreme pandemic situation. There are criminal sanctions, including both felony and misdemeanor violations, as well as civil penalties for failure to adhere to the statutory requirements of operating a child daycare facility.

The Division of Child Devleopment and Early Education has also issued some additional guidance and flexibility for child care providers ​in light of the coronavirus pandemic. 

What are some basic safety considerations to implement?
Persons providing childcare should have the appropriate training to attend to the child’s needs and safety. CPR and basic hygiene knowledge are essential. They should also know how to dispense any medication as needed (again, problems related to this are excluded from liability coverage); think insulin and other life-critical medication scenarios. 

Further, the rooms being used should be age appropriate for children, free of choking hazards or other injury risks. There should be a log of children present along with who has authority to take each child; think emergency contacts and custody issues. Another consideration is how to respond if a child potentially has COVID-19; cleaning of the facility and limiting exposure to others is important.

The proper controls as mentioned above should be in place and practiced.

What other considerations are there?
Other considerations are the child-care provider ratio, mixed age groups, the use of restrooms, and criminal history screening of staff. 

Please consult with your municipal attorney before making any decisions.