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DHS COVID-19 PROVIDER GUIDANCE // OCDEL

Announcement 20-09: Emergency Temporary Relocation of Facility due to the Governor Issuing a Declaration of Disaster — Specific to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Issued: October 7, 2020; Effective Date: October 7, 2020

Audience
Bureau of Certification Staff, Child Care Centers

Purpose

To establish a statewide protocol to manage situations in which a child care facility must relocate operation due to local education agency (LEA) decisions to limit access to their facilities to mitigate the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). This document is specific to child care impacted by displacement through Aug. 30, 2021. This announcement supplements announcement C-17-05, which addressed the process to relocate due to all other emergency or disaster circumstances.

Background

As part of the commonwealth’s response to COVID-19, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) issued guidance to assist all LEAs with developing and implementing local Health and Safety Plans to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Health and Safety Plans must consider unique factors of each LEA related to the impacts of COVID-19 and local health conditions. Health and Safety Plans must include a plan to communicate to enrolled families how the LEA will mitigate risk and outline strategies to prevent virus transmission. 

PDE’s guidance allows LEAs to consider flexible attendance policies and limitation of additional activities for students and staff as a mitigation strategy to prevent virus transmission and ensure a healthy school environment. As Pennsylvania LEAs and private schools are finalizing and announcing plans for the 2020-21 academic school year, they may announce limitations to other activities that would otherwise normally occur in their buildings or on their campuses. This may result in child care programs who have partnered with LEAs to operate in those spaces to be displaced for the 2020- 21 school year and 2021 summer months.

Discussion

If a child care operator is informed they will be displaced from a LEA building, OCDEL will work with the provider to complete an emergency relocation if they plan to continue operations. This process is outlined below.

    1. Regional Office Notification
        • The legal entity or representative of the legal entity shall immediately contact the regional office of the closing of the facility.
        • The legal entity or representative of the legal entity is responsible to inform the regional office of the following:
              • Plans for returning to the original location by Aug. 30, 2021, or before:
              • Converting the current temporary location into a permanent location; or
              • Plans to move to another permanent location by Aug. 30, 2021.

    2. Initial Move to Temporary Location
        • If the operator is moving to a temporary location, the operator must obtain a certificate of occupancy within five business days following the temporary relocation. A certificate of occupancy shows a formal approval of the change in the use and occupancy of a space in accordance with the Uniform Construction Code. The operator contacts and obtains the certificate of occupancy from either the local municipality or Labor and Industry.
        • Certification staff will conduct an initial inspection of the temporary location within five business days of the relocation.
        • Certification staff will take an application to the initial inspection for the legal entity to complete and give to the certification staff for the new location.
        • The initial inspection is limited to high risk items, listed on the temporary relocation checklist.
        • If the facility is in compliance with the regulations listed on the temporary relocation checklist, the certification staff will issue an initial provisional certificate of compliance for a specified length of time, not to exceed six months. If a facility is unable to return to their location before the provisional certificate of compliance expires, a second provisional may be issued for an additional six-month period if necessary; reviews for a possible third will be conducted on a case by case basis.
        • If there are violations of the regulations on the temporary relocation checklist, the certification staff will assist the provider in developing an acceptable plan of correction and a schedule for verifying correction of these violations as soon as possible.
        • The legal entity will contact the Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC) to provide an update on the temporary relocation of the location.
        • Certification staff will also contact a Keystone STARS representative to provide an update on the temporary relocation.
        • The regional office will maintain the existing certificate of compliance for the original location.
        • If the provider is currently operating under a negative sanction, the sanction will follow the relocation. There will be no disruption to the negative sanction process.

    3. Returning to the Original Location
        • The legal entity must inform the regional office prior to returning to the original facility location.
        • The standard cycle of inspection and certification renewal will resume.

    4. Converting the Temporary Location into a Permanent Location or Moving to Another Permanent Location
        • The legal entity will submit a complete application for the site as a new location.

The Bureau will utilize the standard inspection process to make a certification decision.

Next Steps

Child Care providers should:

    1. Review this announcement.
    2. Direct questions to the certification representative.

OCDEL staff should:

    1. Review this announcement.
    2. Use the appropriate temporary relocation checklist to conduct the onsite inspection
    3. Direct questions to a supervisor or regional manager.

Please address all questions to your regional office: Central — 717-772-7078 or 800-222-2117;
Northeast — 570-963-4371 or 800-222-2108; Western — 412-565-5183 or 800-222-2149;
Southeast, North, and Southeast South — 215-560-2541 or 800-346-2929