Advocates Support Governor Pritzker’s Enhanced COVID-19 Child Care Health and Safety Measures

August 7, 2020

ECE Advocates Statement on Illinois Child Care Provider Face Covering Requirements

Chicago – Governor Pritzker announced on Friday new emergency rules mandating that all child care providers in Illinois must wear face coverings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This is part of a broader, enforceable, mask-wearing mandate that also covers schools and other businesses.

Illinois Action for Children, the Ounce of Prevention Fund, and the Illinois AEYC support this action taken by the Governor. COVID-19 is a clear and present public threat that is not going away on its own. Parents are concerned about the health of their children, and the health of their families. Child care providers are concerned about the health of their employees, the children in their care, and their own families, too.

“We know that child care providers care deeply about the children in their care and want to do everything possible to keep them safe and healthy. By wearing face coverings, providers will be protecting themselves and the children they care for while modeling responsible behavior,” said Teresa Ramos, Illinois Action for Children’s V.P. of Public Policy and Advocacy. “While this new mandate is enforceable with penalties to providers if they do not comply, we believe and trust that providers will continue to put the safety of children and their families first.”

Today’s announcement is another measure that strengthens the Pritzker Administration’s continued public health-first methodology to dealing with the threat and spread of COVID-19 in our state. From the phased approach to reopening Illinois to the careful, science-based reopening of child care specifically, the Governor has demonstrated his willingness to make difficult decisions that protect the health of our state’s residents above all else.

The new rules encourage voluntary compliance and offer multiple opportunities to implement health guidelines before receiving a penalty, a system already utilized in other states like New York, Louisiana, and Nevada.

Illinois’ enforcement* of this mandate will occur in three steps:

  • Education about importance of compliance
  • Warning issued
  • Fines issued

*Individual workers are not subject to financial penalties but are required to wear masks

This temporary, emergency rule gives local officials more flexibility in their ability to keep their communities safe.

The requirements being asked of child care providers in this unprecedented time can be difficult for them to meet and maintain, particularly given the financial hardships they often face. With that in mind, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) and the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (INCCRRA) are providing limited cleaning and PPE supplies to child care providers across Illinois. These supplies can be ordered at no cost except for shipping.

Look for additional announcements from the State of Illinois in the coming days regarding the availability and distribution of face coverings to child providers.

About Illinois Action for Children

Since 1969, the nonprofit organization Illinois Action for Children has been dedicated to creating the foundational conditions that allow young children to reach their full potential in school and life. As a state and national leader in early childhood care and education, IAFCs programs, services, and advocacy improve learning and life outcomes for children and families, including reducing the effects of poverty. Our goal is for all children from diverse social, economic and cultural backgrounds to thrive.

About the Ounce of Prevention Fund

Children born into poverty begin life with the odds stacked against them. That’s not just unfortunate for them. It’s a problem for all of us—one that can and must be solved. The Ounce is demonstrating effective solutions every day. Our work is anchored in a growing body of scientific evidence about early brain development. We use private dollars to apply that science in developing innovative programs, and then leverage public funding to support their implementation and replication.

About the Illinois AEYC

Illinois AEYC advances high quality learning for all children birth through age 8 by promoting practice, policy and research to support all families and professionals. Our core values are deeply rooted in the early childhood profession. In addition, we seek to be a high-performing, inclusive organization that in enriched by and continually grows from our commitment to diversity, as embodied by our core beliefs.

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