Last week, the North Carolina Governor’s office announced that schools will be able to open under Plan B, which includes both moderate social distancing for in-person teaching and virtual education. With this, field trips and traveling outreach programs will no longer be major operations for our community this fall. We know this means major shifts in revenue and staffing for North Carolina’s environmental education community.
We know that your organization will need to reflect on its own capacity to keep your participants and staff safe. Many of you may have already made the decision to provide exclusively virtual or remote programming for this purpose.
If you are considering exploring new types of in-person programs for youth this fall (especially outdoor programs), you may have questions about what types of programs you might offer that would fall under child care licensing in North Carolina.
Your organization can operate under your current status, without any additional licensing if:
You are providing programming for school-aged children, that parents pay for on their own. This could look like:
Providing one-day, week-long, or semester-long programs in small groups.
Your staff serving as supervision/tech support during virtual schooling days and then taking kids outdoors on breaks during school hours.
You do all your own programming outside of school hours, such as afterschool programs, school break camps, or specialty programs.
You are providing preschool programming for less than 4 hours per day.
You provide full day recreational programming, for 4 months or less.
You may need to become a licensed child care center if:
You want to run drop-off educational programs for kids younger than age 5, longer than 4 hours per day for more than 4 months.
You want to offer programs for school age children, but you want to become eligible for federal subsidy reimbursement to cover tuition for low-income families.
Want to learn more about becoming licensed or if your particular program idea needs to be licensed? Contact your county’s Lead Child Care Consultant to learn more.
For safety guidelines related to COVID-19, please review the materials provided by the NC DHHS and CDC. Also,EENC recently released eeGuidance for Reopening Schools,which provides strategies for schools and districts to utilize environmental and outdoor education to safely and equitably support student learning.
Please feel free to reach out to your statewide networks with questions, comments, and concerns. We’re here to help you as best we can. We will continue to communicate with you as other options and recommendations come to the forefront.