With summer here and children facing the prospect of being cooped up at home even longer, Human Services has released licensing rules and regulations for re-opening child care programs and summer camps, the agency announced Friday. Mandatory meetings are coming up next week for summer camp operators.
“It is critical, especially as we continue to evaluate the safety of group activities and settings during this COVID-19 pandemic, that anyone or any entity planning to re-open or operate any kind of child care program or summer camp be aware of and in compliance with the USVI statutes, licensing requirements and regulations for operating,” Human Services Commissioner Kimberley Causey-Gomez said in a statement to the press.
The agency’s release highlighted V.I. law which says, “No person may operate a childcare facility for three or more unrelated children unless he or she holds a valid license issued by the Department of Human Services.” It emphasizes that those operating out of compliance will face fines and immediate closure.
In March, following Centers for Disease Control guidelines to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Human Services Office of Child Care and Regulatory Services informed all licensed child care facilities they were required to reduce the number of children they were providing care for. Centers were informed that no more than 10 people could be in the facility at any time. Most childcare facilities opted to totally close operations during April and May, according to Human Services.
All child care operators must submit their re-opening plans before re-opening on a larger scale.
A mandatory summer camp guideline meeting will be held by teleconference on Tuesday, June 30, at 10 a.m. for the St. Thomas District and 3 p.m. for the St. Croix District. The purpose is to discuss the detailed summer camp guidelines and requirements. It is critical for providers and intended providers to call in.