License Exempt Waiver to Expanded Learning Program
November 2020

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Updated Guidance on programs operating more than 60 hours

The California Department of Education (CDE) worked in collaboration with the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) to develop this memo regarding waivers for After School Education and Safety (ASES) and 21st Century Community Learning Centers (ASES/Expanded Learning) programs that want to expand their current programs. We are committed to supporting ASES/Expanded Learning providers who continue to provide quality programs for the children of families working on the frontlines against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In response to the rapidly evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency in California, both Departments are taking major and unprecedented actions to ensure that ASES/Expanded Learning providers have the resources and flexibility needed to meet the needs of children in care.

On March 4, 2020, Governor Newsom issued a Proclamation of a State of Emergency (“Proclamation”) for California that permits CDSS to address the needs of child day care providers, allowing for waivers of the Health and Safety Code or Welfare and Institutions Code, accompanying regulations, interim licensing standards, or other written policies or procedures with respect to the use, licensing, or approval of facilities and homes within its jurisdiction.

This memo provides information about waivers that are available to ASES/Expanded Learning programs who want to provide an ASES program to school-age children of critical infrastructure workers beyond the current conditions that qualify for child care facility licensure or exemption. The waivers are offered to provide short-term solutions for the provision of care available for license-exempt providers, operating outside the conditions of their statutory exemption, during the COVID-19 emergency.

Waivers are available to ASES/Expanded Learning programs who want to provide programming beyond the current conditions that qualify for child care facility licensure or exemption. License exempt ASES/Expanded Learning programs who wish to operate beyond the bounds of the current exemption requirements must request a waiver. ASES/Expanded Learning programs will have to request a waiver and meet all the conditions for waivers, adhere to the local public health guidelines for providing a healthy and safe program environment, and incorporate policies and procedures provided by CDSS to support the prevention, containment, and mitigation of COVID-19.

Waiver requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The Regional Office (RO) will follow up with the requesting ASES/Expanded Learning programs if the request is deemed incomplete and additional information is needed. If the waiver request is denied, ASES/Expanded Learning programs will be notified in writing of the reasons for denial. If the waiver request is granted, the Child Care Licensing Program will notify ASES/Expanded Learning programs in writing, and they will be required to post the waiver in a public location at the facility.

The following conditions, along with additional requirements specific to the type of licensure exemption, will need to be met to provide care beyond the licensing standards or current conditions that qualify for licensure exemption:

  • Ability to follow Industry COVID-19 Guidance for child care providers;
  • Comply with local health department directives;
  • First Aid/Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation training;
  • Physical distancing and face coverings;
  • Consumer protection and emergency disaster plan;
  • Comply with all reporting requirements;
  • Comply with oversight by government authorities, including CDSS;
  • Allow oversight by video/telephonic conferencing means;
  • Group size and capacity set by state or local health department, or CDSS Child Care RO;
  • Provide age appropriate, environment, equipment, materials, and supplies;
  • Ability to provide special needs care and supports for children in care, if applicable; and
  • Notify parent/guardian of policies impacted by the waiver.

In addition to the conditions listed above, the following will also apply to ASES/Expanded Learning programs providing care:

If on school grounds, approval from school district or equivalent.

  • No more than 16 individuals in a cohort. If a local ordinance requires a stricter maximum group size, the provider must follow the local ordinance requirement.
  • Limited to school-age (kindergarten through grade twelve).
  • Other ages served reviewed for approval by CDSS on a case-by-case basis.
  • Must be in good standing with Child Care Licensing if current license holder.
  • Fire clearance for the care of children.
  • Access to digital resources reviewed on case-by-case basis.

Background Clearances: The requirements of the California Health and Safety Code sections 1596.871 and 1522.1 shall not apply to an employee of a school district or subcontractor, county office of education or subcontractor, or community college district or subcontractor ASES/Expanded Learning program operated under contract with the State Department of Education and utilizing a CDSS licensing waiver, provided that such employee has a currently valid criminal record clearance as a condition of such employment, including subsequent notifications from the California Department of Justice to the school district, county office of education, or community college district operating or subcontracting the ASES program. A school district, county office of education, or community college district operating or subcontracting an ASES program upon receiving information that the status of an employee’s criminal record clearance has changed, shall immediately submit that information to the Child Care Licensing Division RO.

If anyone is interested in requesting a waiver, please contact the local CDSS Child Care Regional Office (PDF) and request a waiver in writing. The RO will work with ASES/Expanded Learning programs to complete the waiver process. The RO will review the waiver request and determine whether the request justifies the need for a waiver and explains how the provider will meet health and safety requirements and conditions for a waiver.