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Cornelius News

CMS board asks state to relax childcare licensing procedures in light of pandemic

Aug. 7. By Dave Vieser. The Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education, along with elected members from all seven municipalities located within Mecklenburg County, are asking the State Health Department to streamline their childcare licensing procedures. The representatives said they are concerned about the long-term effects of the COVID-19 shutdown on local communities, particularly for working families with school-aged children.

“Traditional public and charter schools in Mecklenburg are providing remote instruction to students,” they said in their letter.

The board hopes to be able to offer working parents a viable option for childcare so that they can return to work: “The childcare centers we envision do not impact Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools or other educational providers in our county. Our centers would be small and designed to serve the children of our communities so that their parents can reenter the workforce. Many of our families are struggling with the impacts of the shutdown, and we want to be able to offer them an opportunity to earn a living during the crisis.”

Meanwhile, local parents are working on education “pods” to cope with the pandemic. On July 30, CMS opted for full remote for an indefinite period of time.

The board went on to highlight several potential areas they feel are in need of attention:

• Change the Pre-licensure Workshops from in-person to online. Currently, the workshops can only be conducted in person and in groups of 10 or less. After pivoting to remote training, the department would also be able to reduce costs in areas such as paperwork and mileage.

• Allow municipal and county park and recreation-operated camps to continue for an additional four months per calendar year in addition to the four months that is already allowed by state law. This suggestion came from the Cornelius Parks Department.

Childcare is a heavily regulated area, but the applications can take months to be approved.

“We are therefore respectfully requesting that the Department of Health and Human Services help us by expediting licensing applications,” the letter says.