WATCH – CT Covid-19 Reopening Childcare and Summer Camp Informational Update

May 21, 2020


On Thursday May 21, State Senator Tony Hwang moderated a “CT Covid-19 ReOpening Childcare and Summer Camp Informational Update” and was joined by CT’s Office of Early Childhood as well as local experts involved in summer camps, child care, and child psychology.


This was an important update for parents and caregivers who are weighing the risks of enrolling their children in a group setting and starting to broaden their COVID-19 exposure competing with increasing work demands and desiring to re-socialize children who have been isolated for over 10 weeks.


Here are highlights from the meeting between Senator Hwang and his distinguished guests:


Commissioner Beth Bye from the office of Early Childhood, which regulates and provides guidance to child care and camp programs throughout Connecticut. Commissioner Bye shared an outline of the safety protocols that daycares and summer camps will be required to follow during the Covid reopening phases. Commissioner By stated that through the guidelines from the Center for Disease Control, the Office of Early Childhood wants to “protect public health and give children great experiences.”


Dr. Michael Patota, the Executive Director of The Child and Family Guidance Center spoke about the challenges parents and caretakers will face managing separation anxiety both they and their children may experience being apart for the first extended period of time in 10 weeks.  He recommends that parents set a calm, confident example for children to follow through the upcoming changes.


Anthony Calabrese, Fairfield’s Director of Parks and Recreation, has led the department through a total redesign of the strategy and offerings in order to provide “safe and quality programs.”


Sabrina Smeltz, CEO of Wakeman Boys & Girls Club, added that Wakeman will succeed in reopening through communication and following the example of what is working for other organizations.  They have used the delay in starting the summer camp programs to provide additional time to learn, prepare and train their staff.


Diana Liptak, YMCA of Coastal Connecticut/Fairfield YMCA, shared that the policy, protocol and budgetary challenges “will not stop us from doing what we do best – which is camp and child care.”


Senator Hwang added, “Daycare and camps rank among the more unsung “essential services” having to remain open during all stages of COVID-19.  Today as the state starts down a path to reopening, there are still many unknowns.”  


“With so many changes coming, anxieties are high.  Many parents/caretakers are looking for answers and only finding headlines and opinions.  We all want to make sure our children are in a safe environment without it being too uncomfortable physically or emotionally,” concluded Senator Hwang.


LEGAL NOTICE:  This meeting was recorded and subject to state freedom of information (FOI) guidelines.  Certain communications or records received by or sent from this electronic mail account may be subject to public disclosure pursuant to the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 1-200 et seq.