(WXYZ) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Wednesday an executive order that will expand the capacity for child care services for health care workers, first responders and other members of the essential workforce amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Our health care workers and everyone who’s providing emergency medical services are doing incredible work to help us fight COVID-19,” Whitmer said. “That’s why I’m taking action to expand capacity for child care services for these critical frontline workers. By expanding our ability to care for our children, we are allowing them to continue working and protect public health and safety. Child care services are essential to our collective effort, particularly while schools are closed. To all child care providers who are able and willing to remain open in Michigan, I thank you for your service and sacrifice during this time.”
The executive order is effective immediately. The function of the order is to authorize the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) to issue expedited provisional licenses to expand the capacity for child care services. It also allows employers, like hospitals, to operate a disaster relief child care center for their employees, a press release states.
Additionally, the order allows both public and nonpublic school facilities to be utilized for the purposes of maintaining a disaster relief child care center focused on providing services for members of the essential workforce.
Whitmer has requested full support from intermediate school districts to help mobilize and coordinate these efforts in partnership with local education agencies, employers, early childhood educators, private or community-based child care centers, and licensed in-home providers.
The order calls for all disaster relief child care centers to perform a health evaluation of all individuals who enter the facility each time they enter, and they must deny entry to those individuals who do not meet the evaluation criteria.
Essential workforce members includes health care workers, home health workers, direct care workers, emergency medical service providers, first responders, law enforcement personnel, sanitation workers, child care workers, personnel providing correctional services, postal workers, public health employees, key government employees, court personnel, and others providing critical infrastructure to Michiganders.