Cd'A allows for temporary child care licenses amid COVID
Staff Writer | October 8, 2020 1:00 AM
The Coeur d’Alene City Council unanimously approved a pair of resolutions that will relax certain child care facility requirements while simultaneously allowing for a temporary child care license within city limits.
Kelly Setters, deputy city clerk, brought the measure to council for a vote Tuesday night that calls for the two measures, saying that COVID-19 requires municipalities to become more flexible to accommodate working parents.
“This requirement (is) because of the pandemic,” Setters explained, “because school-age children are going to child care for two hours while their parents are working. These facilities were willing (to say), ‘I could take more children, but my outdoor space doesn’t allow that.’”
Day cares across the country have faced unique challenges since the onset of the pandemic, where community spread concerns and personal protective equipment shortages — along with unexpected absences from sick employees and unpredictable daily enrollment — have thrust the industry into uncertainty. Setters said the Child Care Commission approved to send the matter to council after getting information and expert feedback that suggested the changes in order to give day care providers a sense of flexibility.
“The recommendation was based in part on a survey conducted by the United Way task force, in partnership with the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children, which looked at options for improvements in local systems in early education and care,” Setters explained. “One of the ideas resulting from the survey was that the city of Coeur d’Alene could help facilities that take care of extra children during the COVID-19 emergency by creating a temporary license similar to the state licensing program.”
Specifically, one amendment approved Tuesday relaxes the strict 75-foot-per-child minimum of outdoor space, giving facilities an alternative to come up with plans for scheduling children to play in shifts, plans that would have to be approved by City Hall. Those plans would, in theory, enable day cares with lesser outdoor spaces the ability to enroll more kids.
The other provision provides for temporary licenses, enabling a temporary reprieve to protect the city’s child care capacity during the pandemic. Temporary day cares will have to meet all the requirements a traditional day care would meet, with the exception of the 10 required hours of continuing education and the safe sleep courses.
The licenses will be valid through Jan. 29, 2021.