Senator Joe Vitale, the chairman of the Senate Health Committee, issued the following statement today urging Governor Phil Murphy to close day care centers in New Jersey, extending the same public health measures that already cover public and private schools and Pre-K programs throughout the state:
“The Governor took the right action to help stem the spread of COVID-19 by closing public and private schools at virtually every level, but the failure to extend the same safety measure to day care centers leaves an open vulnerability that puts infants, their families and others at risk. This is a double standard. We should establish a more definitive policy with a consistent standard that includes the closure of day care centers.
“Our schools already provide the largest day care function in the state and they have been shut down. If our goal is to contain the spread of coronavirus by preventing the congregation of groups of children in one place, we can’t overlook day care centers. These locations can be hotbeds for infants and young children to contract viruses and become carriers who can easily infect their siblings, parents and day care workers, even if they do not display the symptoms.
“If we need a specialized service to care for the children of emergency responders during this crisis, we can easily address that need with ‘closed’ facilities in state sponsored locations with health containments.
“I have had productive consultations with the commissioners of Health and Human Services on the range of actions we can take to protect the safety of everyone and I will continue to work in a collaborative and cooperative way as we navigate what is an unprecedented health crisis.”