CHICAGO (WSIL) – Governor JB Pritzker has announced steps to expand child care in the next phases of the "Restore Illinois" plan.
Gov. Pritzker said Friday that the state is encouraging all currently closed licensed child care providers to reopen during Phase 3 of the plan, which is set for May 29.
"These newly reopened providers will have reduced capacity, of no more than 10 children per classroom, for the first 4 weeks. Once they have provided care safely for four weeks and have followed the new health, social distancing and sanitation routines and guidelines, they will be able to expand to larger group sizes, though not their full licensed capacity," stated information from the governor's office.
According to the Pritzker administration, new group size limits will be roughly 30% lower than their pre-pandemic levels for centers. Most licensed homes, which tend to be smaller, will be able to operate at standard capacity.
"Providers that have been successfully operating as emergency child care providers can move immediately to these new maximum capacities when their Region enters Phase 3. Most licensed child care homes will also be able to reopen to their licensed capacity."
There will be no restrictions on which families can use child care in Phases 3 and 4 of the "Restore Illinois" plan.
“We can’t have a conversation about going back to work without talking about child care – anything else leaves a large portion of the workforce, especially women who too often bear a disproportionate burden, without any way to move forward while caring for their kids,” said Gov. Pritzker. “Illinois must take a cautious approach that appropriately balances the need to greatly expand child care with the need to lessen the risk of spreading the coronavirus.”
The governor's office says the reopening plan will bring Illinois to three-quarters of the previous child care capacity in the state.