CHICAGO — Child care providers can reopen in Illinois next week, but the number of children they can serve will be limited, Gov. JB Pritzker announced Friday.
After Illinois moves into Phase 3 of its reopening plan on May 29, newly opened child care facilities will be limited to serving 10 kids per classroom for four weeks. After that, they’ll be allowed to bring in more kids, though they’ll still have lowered capacity, Pritzker said.
“On the strong advice of public health experts, these new group size limits will be roughly 30 percent lower the levels they were at before the pandemic,” Pritzker said.
The roughly 2,500 emergency child care centers that have already been open during the pandemic will be able to skip the four-week wait and instead expand their capacity starting May 29.
Because child care centers might struggle to operate without being able to serve as many kids as they once did, the state is looking at how it can help them with business relief funds, Pritzker said.
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s a red state or a blue state; every state is home to providers who need real assistance in sustaining their business in the coming months. And every child in every state deserves access to quality child care and learning services,” Pritzker said. “We all want a stronger, more equitable America on the other side of this pandemic, and it starts with our children and their earliest experiences.
“This is how we begin to build that post-COVID world.”
Previously, the state planned to reopen child care center in Phase 4, even though offices, stores and businesses reopened in Phase 3. That move would’ve left many parents scrambling for child care as they returned to work.
But Pritzker revised the plan to help parents and because of promising results from emergency day care here.
“To date, Illinois has not seen significant transmission of COVID-19 in child care settings, which is encouraging evidence that child care can be provided safely,” Pritzker said.
But there’s still a lot researchers don’t know about how coronavirus affects children, the governor said.
“Therefore, moving forward Illinois must take a cautious approach that appropriately” balances the need for child care with the need to lessen the spread of coronavirus, Pritzker said.
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