PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — On Childcare Awareness Day advocates would usually march from the Convention Center to the State House raising awareness of the needs for children, parents and providers.

This year, on Wednesday, it will be done virtually — at the same time providers are preparing for children to return to their care in less than two weeks. Childcare centers in Rhode Island are scheduled to reopen on June 1 with some new rules and restrictions in place.

Everyone will be placed into groups of the same 12 people of fewer every single day. This means that there is a twelve-person maximum for at-home daycares including the people who live there. This is the same limit for children and workers in the same room at canters.

Children and workers will be screened at the door before entering. Anyone with symptoms they can’t explain will be sent home until they are tested or they get a doctor’s note.

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The state will provide forehead thermometers, but say that is up to each provider if they want to do daily temperature screenings.

The guidance says children over two-years-old have to wear face masks, but it is not reasonable for children that young to wear them all day — it may hinder speech or social development.

Gov. Gina Raimondo asks for patience as the state’s more than 900 childcare centers start to reopen.

“We’ll be supporting childcare centers with 50,000 surgical masks,” Raimondo said. “It’s just a way to help them get started to give them 50,000 surgical masks to keep them safe and the kids safe and give parents a sense of peace and comfort and confidence that it’s going to be safe to return your kids to childcare.”

The 9th annual Childcare Awareness Day this year will focus on how to support families and providers during COVID-19. It will be streamed on Capitol TV’s Facebook page from 11 a.m. to noon.

Phase I guidelines for child care »