Local Child Care, Rec Program Leaders React to Reopening Guidelines

SANDWICH – Leaders of local child care and recreation programs are reacting to state mandates regarding the reopening process during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Charlie Baker announced earlier this week that child care programs licensed by the state’s Department of Early Education and Care must submit plans to the state, prior to approval at the start of the second reopening phase.

Programs that receive certain subsidies will also be given grants through the first two months of reopening by the state.

Recreational camps and programs not usually licensed as camps will be allowed to open during the third phase, as will residential and overnight stay camps.

Sandwich Recreation Director Guy Boucher said that the town’s All Day Super Fun Program is cancelled for this year, as the self-funded program saw unsustainable enrollment numbers.

Other smaller programs, while not ideal for some families, are in development to allow kids to get recreational activity.

“It’s definitely going to be a difficult summer in definitely new times, but we’ll find a way,” Boucher said.

Boucher believes that the major challenges going forward involve managing expectations, promotion, and making sure the public remains socially responsible.

Harwich Selectman Don Howell, who is also the vice president of the Harwich Ecumenical Council for Housing, said that while he understands the health concerns, proposed reopening plans put child care services, such as HECH’s Children’s Center, behind other small businesses.

“HECH basically laid off all of its staff at the Children’s Center this past week,” Howell said.

“We’re not even sure when we’re going to come back, and that’s mainly because the rules that allow it to come back…are completely implausible.”

Howell explained that providing proposed teacher-student ratios and separate sets of toys for kids is easier said than done.

Baker is set to announce the beginning of the second reopening phase on Saturday. The earliest the phase can begin is Monday.

About Brendan Fitzpatrick

Brendan, a recent graduate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is one of the newest members of the CapeCod.com NewsCenter team. When not on the beat, you'll probably find him watching Boston sports.

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