Protect Providers, Instill Consumer Confidence in Reopening and Decrease Risk of Subsequent Infection
The Commonwealth must immediately pass legislation to impose an immunity from tort liability associated with claims related to COVID-19 to all Commonwealth certified child care providers that are following guidance from the Centers on Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) related to COVID-19 that are authorized to continue to operate pursuant to the Governor’s Emergency Declaration.
IMPLEMENTING THIS STATUTORY CHANGE WILL:
Address the Shortage of Supply of Child Care for Essential Workers
Child care providers must responsibly protect their business assets so they can continue to operate and care for children after the crisis is abated. The threat of COVID-19 liability suits is keeping many child care programs on the sidelines and as a result, the child care needed for working families is in short supply. As long as programs are certified and are following CDC guidance, they should not be at-risk for COVID-19 lawsuits.
Avoid Sudden Child Care Program Closures After the Crisis Abates
Providers must be protected from any costs associated with compliance with the Emergency Declaration including liability costs that might be incurred as a result of suits filed against providers for COVID-19 related claims.
Every child care, Pre-K Counts and Head Start program must be required to attend free training on the practices needed to sanitize all spaces in which children and staff are working. In addition, funding must be provided so publicly-funded programs are able to clean before re-opening and purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and continue to keep their programs sanitized to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection ($40 per slot = $4.5 million programs in child care settings / $715,000 programs in Head Start programs, licensed nursery schools and school districts).
THIS APPROACH WILL:
Instill Consumer Confidence and Reduce Subsequent Infection
Ensuring all program staff receive training and publicly-funded programs are supported to clean their facilities/homes and purchase PPE will help reduce additional infection. In addition, it will breed consumer confidence to know the training is a requirement and that funding was provided to ensure safe environments. Such training should be credit bearing and approved by the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning. Associated with establishing a legal training requirement in order to protect the public health, programs that serve children in Child Care Works, Pre-K Counts or Head Start Supplemental Assistance shall be granted funding to assist with cleaning costs as they reopen and continue to operate during the pandemic, as well as PPE.
*At this time, it is unclear if child care programs will be required to meet additional health and safety rules in order to operate as the Commonwealth reopens. Additional requirements could come with significant costs and implementation impact will have to be assessed. Should additional requirements be announced, further information will be provided on the financial impact.
Pre-K for PA's work is possible only through generous contributions from the 1675 Foundation, The Donley Foundation, GE Employees Community Service Fund, The Heinz Endowments, The Philadelphia Foundation, and William Penn Foundation.