ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland State Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon announced Thursday that childcare providers are now able to return to the full teacher-child ratios and capacities for which they are licensed.

During a news conference Thursday afternoon, Salmon said more than 82% of the state’s child care providers have already reopened, but demand remains high due to virtual and hybrid learning.

She also said there have been very few positive cases in daycares. She said state officials are concerned that illegal, unlicensed daycares are opening to meet increasing demand as people go back to work.

“There are no background checks, no oversight and parents cannot be sure their children are in a safe environment,” Dr. Salmon said of the underground daycares.

HOGAN NEWS CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS:

The loosened restrictions mean child care centers will be able to have up to 20 three- and four-year-olds in a room with one teacher per 10 students. For school-aged kids, the centers will be able to have up to 30 in a room with one teacher per 15 students.

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Child care centers will also have to follow all federal and state health guidelines, Salmon said.

Because of the demand, the state’s education department is providing $1,000 in startup grants to new child care providers. Grants of $800 per family child care provider and $1,600 per center-based provider will also be available for existing businesses through October 31.

Watch the full news conference below:

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.

CBS Baltimore Staff

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