March 16 Child care provider update from Governor and Lt. Governor

Minnesota Department of Human Services logo

March 16, 2020

March 16 child care provider update from Governor and Lt. Governor

Dear Child Care Providers:

In our letter yesterday, we assured you that we would make communicating with you a priority. The COVID-19 pandemic presents an unprecedented challenge to our state and our situation is changing rapidly.

Today I signed an Executive Order that included closure of Minnesota restaurants and bars for dine-in customers as well as other places of public accommodation and amusement. This Executive Order does not direct child care centers or family child care to close. That said, based on this Executive Order and the new guidelines from the federal government to limit groups to the size of ten, we know that many of you may be considering closing, which is understandable. The health of your staff, families, and children is my top priority and I know it is yours too.

As childcare providers, you play a critical role in our communities persevering through this health crisis. We would appreciate if you continued to care for kids and their families and would like to support you if you decide to remain open. For any providers who choose to stay open during this time, if your staff are ill, and need to be tested for COVID-19, we will prioritize the testing of these staff in our lab. Also, if you do stay open, we encourage you to prioritize serving children of health care and emergency workers. We would ask:

  • If a family does not include health care or emergency workers, ask them to keep their children home or use a family, friend or neighbor to provide care in order to make capacity for new families.
  • Consider expanding your hours to accommodate longer shifts of emergency workers.
  • Let us know if you are choosing to remain open and if so, how many children you could serve here. We are working with community partners to identify families in need. 

With this new guidance, the social distancing of children will require new practices. For larger childcare settings this could include separating or staggering multiple smaller groups within your facility. Complete updated guidance can be found here.

During this time of emergency, we need leaders to stand up and help our emergency services continue to operate. Remaining open, even at reduced capacity, can help enable emergency and healthcare workers to do their jobs. Should you decide to close, we would ask that you consider continuing to care for children of health care and other emergency workers in your community.

Again, for those providers who are willing to continue to serve families of health care and emergency workers, we will prioritize you in COVID-19 testing.

We recognize this time is challenging for everyone, and particularly our child care providers. We will work with you as we move forward to try to mitigate the impact this crisis is having on our state.

We will get through this together. Thank you for the work you do every day to education our children – and for your leadership during this unprecedented time.



Governor Tim Walz 



Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan