As Child Care Centers Prepare to Reopen, New Restrictions Raise Practical Questions

Day care centers and summer camps in Massachusetts will be allowed to reopen during phase 2

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Massachusetts child care centers and summer camps have been given the green light to reopen during phase two, which could begin as early as next week.

But those who have studied the 30 pages of reopening requirements, like State Rep. Mike Soter, say it may be too complex to be practical.

"People who I've talked to in the day care facility industry, they're basically saying, 'Well, with all these restrictions, why are you even having us open at all?'" Soter said.

Soter says parents and day care providers are concerned with the logistics of trying to keep masks on kids 2 and older, constantly keeping kids six feet apart, and managing incredibly low staff-to-student ratios.

"Maximum of 10 children with two staffers, only 12 people, groups can't combine, you're going to have to limit the amount of play areas, you can't have touching play areas, and things like that, and they have to constantly be wiped down," said Soter.

"First thing that strikes me is this is about procedures and nothing about children," said David Elkind, professor emeritus of child development at Tufts University.

Elkind says following these requirements leaves little time for the staff to teach or play with children, and it all but eliminates interactive play, which is essential in early childhood development.

"If this is their only opportunity to play with other children and they're isolated otherwise, then certainly it's going to have long-range effects," Elkind said.

Child care providers would also need to submit specific plans to ensure health and safety before being allowed to reopen.

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