Oregon drafts new guidelines for pre-schools, daycare centers amid virus


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As the state continues to draw up plans for students in the fall amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Oregon pre-schools and daycare centers may be allowed to add more students to their classrooms, according to a recommendation in a guidelines draft for early child care programs released by Gov. Kate Brown’s office on Thursday.

The 29-page draft includes safety guidelines already in place at child care facilities operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the draft provides clarification of some existing guidelines, including rules on parent pick-up that prevent parents from being allowed in the facility’s building.

The draft also includes new rules, such as requiring face coverings for children in Kindergarten and above. The face coverings rule was announced earlier this week during an expansion of Brown’s statewide face covering mandate.

Amy Clouse, who has owned Grandma’s Place Early Learning Center in Portland for 23 years, had to drastically change operations during the pandemic.

“We just really didn’t know what to expect, but we all sorta figured like the rest of the world we all had to hold tight for four to six to eight weeks and this was all going to pass,” Clouse said.

Clouse said parents are currently dropping off their children at the classroom door, and added parents who have infants might find staying outside of the building difficult.

“We have some new families who are starting with their infant and to not be able to go talk to their teacher about their baby’s day” will be hard, she said.

She also feels the face covering rule may be difficult for some of the children at her daycare program to understand.

“I think the reality of a 5 year old keeping a mask on all day — I mean as an adult I have a hard time doing it, you know the second I sit in my office, I have to pull it down and take a deep breath and I can’t imagine having to explain to a 5, 6, 7 year old that they have to keep a mask on all day,” she said.

Parents across the state have an opportunity to share their opinion or make recommendations before the draft is finalized through Sunday. Click here to submit comments in English, and click here to submit comments in Spanish.

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