Massachusetts families whose children are learning remotely this fall will be able to participate in supervised care during the school day under new policies announced Friday by the Baker-Polito Administration.
Gov. Charlie Baker has signed an executive order that allows the Department of Early Education and Care to authorize after-school and out-of-school programs like YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs and family child care homes to care for school-age children while they participate in remote learning, according to a news release from the administration.
Currently, a state statute prohibits after-school and out-of-school programs from this type of care, but as schools get ready to reopen and many parents need to go back to work and find care for their children, the exemption was made.
Under the executive order, informal remote learning parent cooperative arrangements will also be able to operate as long as the groups are organized by unpaid parents, the administration said. These cooperatives must still follow state COVID-19 guidelines.
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The order also creates a temporary license exemption for remote learning programs to provide supervision and care for school children up to age 14 during the school day. Before they can apply for the exemption, they must meet specific criteria and be approved by their local municipality, according to the administration.
"We all want our children to get back into school as soon as possible and we applaud the schools and districts that are making the extra effort to bring their students back in some form," Massachusetts Education Secretary James Peyser said in a statement. "At the same time, we know that remote learning will be part of the educational experience for many students this fall, so it's critical that we enable parents, after-school providers, and community organizations to offer additional childcare options and learning supports when students are unable to attend school in person."