BALTIMORE (WJZ) — All child care providers in Maryland except those serving essential personnel need to close by the end of the day Friday, officials said.

The only daycares that can remain open are the ones that have a waiver.

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“During this State of Emergency, child care programs have been established by the State to serve only designated essential personnel,” State Schools Superintendent Karen Salmon said in a news release.


The programs will be available at no cost to parents.

“The children of essential personnel attending the State-funded child care programs will be kept at an appropriate distance from each other with ratios of one teacher to nine children and smaller class sizes for younger children,” Salmon said.

Child care providers who want to care for children of essential workers can reopen Monday after applying and being approved to do so. They will only be able to care for children of essential workers.

Tammy Witherspoon is one of thousands of owners who don’t know what to do after the announcement was made that child care centers were ordered to close by the end of the business day Friday.

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“Right now, my plan is to open Monday for essential personnel,” she said.

One local mother said her daycare provider isn’t one on the list and doesn’t know if they’ll stay open even though she is deemed essential personnel.

“I have a letter from my job saying I’m essential,” she said.

To find out more about the state’s list of child care providers who can offer free child care to children of essential personnel, click here.

Eligible programs may be found on the MSDE website at or by using the LOCATE: Child Care resource, a telephone service that is available by phone Monday through Friday at 877-261-0060 between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.

You can also apply to be an essential child care provider through the state. That waiver is here. 

There is also more information at

There are several forms you’ll need to fill out; click each one for a link:

Parents and caregivers of essential personnel may also call one of the following numbers for additional information:

  • 410-767-0335
  • 410-767-7823
  • 410-870-2544
  • 410-767-7798
  • 410-767-7805

Child care providers with questions can contact their Regional Licensing Specialist.

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Annie Rose Ramos