Many people in Billings have been wondering why daycare facilities are still open. Take a quick glance at any one of your favorite Billings Community Facebook pages and you'll see plenty of, "shut them down!" and "why are they still open?" posts. I kind of felt the same way. I have kids and I know very well how filthy they can be.  With their boogers and snot and tears and grimey little fingers touching everything in sight. Putting 20 of them in relatively close quarters like a daycare facility seems like a horrible idea. At first glance.

A press release and update from Governor Bullocks office yesterday explains why child care operations are allowed to stay open. Here is a portion of the statement:

Childcare is also critical to enabling Montanans to continue to work in Essential Businesses and Operations, including healthcare, law enforcement, human services operations and others identified in my March 26, 2020 Directive.

The state cannot effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic if healthcare providers, first responders, and other Montanans performing essential functions cannot work because they are at home caring for their young children. I have determined that it is necessary to effect a comprehensive approach to ensuring childcare availability for these Montanans while also limiting the potential for spread of COVID-19 through childcare facilities.

That does make sense. Here are some additional guidelines that child care facilities must adhere to:

  • Childcare must be carried out in stable groups of 10 or fewer children. The same children must be in the same groups each day.
  • Children may not access any classroom space allocated to a different group of children. Priority should be given to keeping members of the same family in the same group.
  • Facilities must prioritize the needs of children in the custody of individuals engaging in Essential Businesses and Operations, as defined in my March 26, 2020 Directive.

You can read the complete PDF HERE.