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Daycare Centers, Summer Camps Prepare To Reopen After Coronavirus Shutdown

BOSTON (CBS) - It's a good day for Tracey Nardone. "Yesterday was my 27th year in the business. And I can't think of a better birthday present," Nardone said Tuesday. For weeks, she feared her business wouldn't survive the shutdown.

Nardone's Weymouth daycare got the green light from Governor Charlie Baker to re-open. On Monday, Baker announced daycare centers and summer camps can welcome back families, pending a downward trend in health metrics, as early as next week.

"These programs can re-open in phase two, after submitting specific plans to EEC to ensure health and safety parameters for sanitation," Baker said during his Monday briefing.

Under the new guidelines, infants will not be excluded, a proposal providers told WBZ had been under consideration. All children will be subject to health screenings, centers must clean before, during and after programs, staff must wear face coverings and work the same shift. Group sizes will be limited to 10 children.

"Parents will be dropping off their kids at the front door. We will have a teacher greeting them, taking their temperature, and going over the health and safety checklist," Nardone said of the new safety rules. Teachers will then take children directly into classrooms.

Hale Reservation
Hale Reservation in Westwood (WBZ-TV)

For summer camps, rules are similar. Groups can't be larger than 12 people, including staff, and camps can't intermingle.

"We serve many, many kids from Boston every year. From urban communities, low income communities, and in an urban setting, to get to Hale requires transportation," said Eric Arnold, executive director of Hale.

The Westwood reservation, spanning more than 1,100 acres, is best known for its day camps, pre-pandemic more than 4,000 kids would participate. But this summer, getting them to the camp will be a challenge. Standards for transportation call for maximizing space between riders, to one person per seat in every other row.

"That sort of quadruples the cost of trying to provide any transportation for families. As an organization, equity is something we focus on, we're really concerned," Arnold said. "[We're] trying to figure out how to best serve a lot of kids that may not be able to find their way to us right now."

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