Gov. Doug Burgum released modified operating practices and an emergency grant program for child care providers to help them through the coronavirus pandemic and ensure that child care services are available for health, safety and other lifeline workers.
The final child care initiative has three key elements:
- Guidance on how child care providers can continue to safely serve children through modified operating practices. This includes precautions such as a limit of 10 people per room, a screening process for access to the provider and guidelines for meals and playtime.
- A Child Care Emergency Operating Grant to cover extra operating costs associated with the modified practices and to sustain vital child care services now and during the COVID-19 recovery. These grants will be available to all child care providers licensed by the state who agree to prioritize children of health, safety and other lifeline households.
- Added flexibility to allow school districts to help care for children in grades K-5 whose parents work in vital health, safety and lifeline services. The governor will be amending an earlier executive order to allow this type of child access to schools.
The governor, in collaboration with Secretary of State Al Jaeger and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, also signed an executive order giving counties the option of mail ballot-only elections to protect public health.
The order waives the requirement that counties must provide at least one physical polling location on primary election day. This will give counties the flexibility and local control to conduct the June 9 primary election by mail ballot only – if the county chooses to do so. Currently, 33 counties offer mail ballot voting in addition to the physical polling locations required by law. The state’s 20 other counties also are eligible to conduct mail ballot voting.