May 18, 2020

Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton President Joni Close shares guidelines for child care reopening at Gov. DeWine's coronavirus briefing

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine recently announced that child care centers will be allowed to reopen May 31 under a new set of "rigorous" standards, including daily temperature checks for children. Joni Close, president of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton and chair of Ohio’s Early Childhood Advisory Council, outlined the reopening conditions during the governor's daily coronavirus press conference.

The Canton Repository published an article about Close's role at the press conference. The text of the article is below or available here.

Joni Close gives child care update at Gov. DeWine’s coronavirus briefing

by Alison Matas
The Canton Repository

Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton President Joni Close got to be the person who told Ohioans how child care facilities will operate once they reopen.

Close on Thursday spoke during Gov. Mike DeWine’s daily press conference about procedures to stop the spread of COVID-19 at child care facilities, which may resume operations May 31.

Close chairs the state’s Early Childhood Advisory Council — a position she’s held for at least six years. She was part of a small group that gathered information from national sources and looked at what other states were doing related to child care to provide guidance to the governor.

The one problem: There’s not a lot of research about child care centers and the coronavirus, which is a fact the governor pointed out during his press conference. So the committee examined best practices across the country, with a focus on taking a cautious approach that considered the health of the children, providers and families.

“We’ve put all of that together, and the reality is it isn’t the perfect solution,” Close said. “We don’t know the right answers.”

Here’s what Close shared during Thursday’s press conference:

  • Providers will wear masks and parents might be asked to wear masks.
  • Temperatures will be taken daily, and anyone with a temperature of 100 degrees or higher will be sent home.
  • Children will need to wash their hands upon entering the child care center (and many other times during the day).
  • The maximum number of preschool- or school-aged children in a classroom will be nine. The maximum number of infants and toddlers in a classroom will be six.
  • There won’t be field trips.
  • Playground equipment will be sanitized between uses.

Close said every family is different and will need to make an individual choice about what’s best for their children.

“What we want is for children to be in a safe, healthy environment,” she said.

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System.

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