BOSTON (AP) - Gov. Charlie Baker signed an executive order Friday that gives working parents more child care options for children engaged in remote learning when school resumes this fall.
The order allows the Department of Early Education and Care to authorize currently licensed after-school and out-of-school programs to operate during the school day. Current law prohibits such programs for school-aged children from offering care during regular school hours.
It will allow YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs, family child care homes, and other facilities to care for school-age children who are learning remotely.
The state will also exempt informal remote learning parent cooperative arrangements organized by families, if the groups are supervised by unpaid parents.
The programs will be subject to background record checks, health and safety standards, facilities checks, and child to staff ratios.
“We all want our children to get back into school as soon as possible and we applaud the schools and districts that are making the extra effort to bring their students back in some form,” said Education Secretary James Peyser said in a statement. “At the same time, we know that remote learning will be part of the educational experience for many students this fall, so it’s critical that we enable parents, after-school providers, and community organizations to offer additional childcare options and learning supports when students are unable to attend school in person.”
VIRUS BY THE NUMBERS
Massachusetts reported 16 newly confirmed coronavirus deaths and nearly 440 newly confirmed cases Friday, pushing the state’s confirmed COVID-19 death toll to more than 8,790 and its confirmed caseload to more than 117,800.
The seven-day weighted average of positive tests was 1%. The true number of cases is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.
There were more than 300 people reported hospitalized Friday because of COVID-19, and 60 reported in intensive care units.
The number of confirmed and probable COVID-19 related deaths at long-term care homes rose to more than 5,780 or about 64% of all confirmed and probable deaths in Massachusetts attributed to the disease.
PARTY HOST FINED
A Massachusetts howeowner has been fined $1,500 for hosting a party last weekend that attracted about 200 guests, an event health officials say violated state regulations on large gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic.
The party in Milford last Saturday had to be broken up by police after neighbors complained. Police Chief Michael Pighetti told The Milford Daily News that no one was arrested and the partygoers dispersed immediately.
The homeowner, Luis Loja Caguana, was fined for three separate violations: lack of social distancing; lack of facial coverings; and a gathering that exceeded the state outdoor limit of 50 people, Milford Health Director Jacqueline Murphy said.
Only 10% to 20% of the guests wore face coverings, she said.
Caguana told The Boston Globe that the party was a fundraiser for a woman he knows with cancer who does not have health insurance, and he did not expect so many people to show up. He said he wore a mask and handed them out, but acknowledged that not everyone wore one.
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