DeWine Announces Opening Dates For Child Care Centers, Day Camps, Gyms And More

Ohio Health Director Dr. Amy Acton
Ohio Health Director Dr. Amy Acton at an April coronavirus briefing. [Office of Gov. Mike DeWine]

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted on Thursday announced a slew of openings for various industries that have been closed for nearly two months during the coronavirus pandemic.

Child care centers will be allowed to reopen May 31 under a new set of "rigorous" standards, including daily temperature checks for children.

"Moving forward, childcare is going to look different for children, parents and teachers as long as this COVID-19 is around," DeWine said. "But we must get this right or we run the risk of exposing more individuals to COVID-19."

Ohio has recorded 26,357 total virus cases and 1,534 COVID-19 deaths as of Thursday.

 

Joni Close, president of Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton and leader of the governor’s early childhood advisory council, outlined the reopening conditions, including:

  • Daily temperature checks for children; those with temperature of 100 degrees or higher will be sent home.
  • Providers must wear masks and may ask parents and guardians to wear masks.
  • Smaller class sizes; a maximum class size of nine for preschoolers and school-aged children, a limit of six per room for infants.
  • Children must wash hands as they enter and leave a building.
  • No field trips; playground and outdoor activities will be allowed.
  • Centers will be expected to "rigorously" clean toys and surfaces after each use.

Acknowledging that such changes will put a monetary strain on day cares, DeWine said the state will provide more than $60 million in federal CARES Act funding to help pay for the new safety measures and offset the potential lost revenue caused by reduced class sizes.

DeWine on Thursday also announced a research project to study best practices for preventing the spread of COVID-19 in child care settings, which "will make Ohio a leader in reopening child care and how we conduct child care.

"As we gather more and more data from the study, it will continue to inform our decisions," he added, noting that the new guidelines are subject to change.

Gyms, Pools, Campgrounds And More

As he has before, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted referred to May as "moving month" – a month where "we are opening a next chapter in our response."

That “next chapter” includes the opening of:

  • Campgrounds on May 21
  • Horse-racing on May 22, though only at tracks, without spectators and racinos remain closed
  • Ohio Bureaus of Motor Vehicles on May 26
  • Gyms, fitness centers, athletic clubs and pools on May 26, with limited contact or no-contact sports leagues
  • Day camps on May 31, along with day care centers.

Protocols for gyms and fitness centers will be available "at some point today," Husted said, and for other openings, the guidelines will be announced by the end of the day Friday. Only pools regulated by local health departments would be opening, Husted specified, and the new guidance does not include or apply to water and amusement parks.

Honoring The Fallen

Earlier in the day DeWine ordered flags lowered for Peace Officers Memorial Day during this National Police Week. He also took some time to honor the state's fallen officers over the last year with a moment of silence. That included Dale Woods of Colerain; Bill Brewer of Clermont County; Jorge Del Rio of Dayton; and Kaia Grant of Springdale.

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