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Department of Social Services
State Board of Social Services
Standards for Licensed Child Day Centers [22 VAC 40 ‑ 185]
Action Amend Standards for Licensed Child Day Centers to Address Federal Health and Safety Requirements
Stage Final
Comment Period Ends 5/12/2021


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4/21/21  3:55 pm

Children with special needs

My suggested revision would be to specify that "children with special needs" have been diagnosed with....

CommentID: 97721

4/21/21  5:16 pm
Commenter: Sara Carroll

TB Screening

TB screening must be completed 30 days prior to hire (according to this change)  It was previously 12 months prior to hire.  Why such the drastic change in time... this poses just another hurdle for hiring new employees that might be coming from another program or had a TB screening recently.  It has been hard enough to hire in a timely fashion and get background checks completed (which some are taking over two weeks to come back).  Can we meet somewhere in the middle like 6 mos, what is the basis of this change?

CommentID: 97722

4/21/21  6:01 pm
Commenter: Aleksandra Razavi

TB test

I don’t believe it is a good idea to change the timing for TB.

it is already hard to hire new staff with new backgrounds checks requirements. This is unnecessary and pointless change.

totally against it.

CommentID: 97723

4/21/21  6:29 pm
Commenter: Angela Cross

Do NOT remove Religious Exemption for Vaccinations

Parents should be able to access child care and be allowed to make decisions for their own children's health care based on their sincerely held religious beliefs. Many vaccines are currently being made using testing on aborted fetal tissue which is a direct violation of Christians who believe as the bible says that God hates the shedding of innocent blood. Not to mention that currently in some states governors are attempting to violate the rights and freedoms of citizens by stating that they can not attend certain events and gatherings without a vaccine pass. They are currently attempting to mandate an experimental vaccine that has been found to have had many dangerous and deadly side effects. Any vaccine that does not have at least 20 years of research and/or that may involve the use of fetal tissue should not be mandated for children or staff. 

Angela Cross

CommentID: 97724

4/22/21  2:52 pm
Commenter: Katie Humnphrey


I am concerned 22VAC40-185-490 was excluded. As a RN & childcare health consultant, I am especially concerned a temp at which a child should be excluded is not defined. I realize COVID impacted this in 2020-21, but moving forward, providers need specific direction such as a number, or number plus symptoms, that directs them to exclude a child from group care. The APP recommends fever greater than 101 F with a behavioral change. Is this what they are to follow? I understand  22VAC40-185-245-K  states the components of the training, however since the training is not developed or facilitated by a healthcare professional, I am concerned lay people will select what temperature they feel is cause for exclusion without sound medical guidance. Is it possible this will be addressed in guidance?    

CommentID: 97725

4/25/21  9:11 pm
Commenter: Melissa West, The Mayapple School

Multiple Subjects regarding Amend Standards for Licensed Child Day Centers


K. The center shall develop written procedures for prevention of shaken baby syndrome or abusive head trauma, including coping with crying babies, safe sleeping practices, and sudden infant death syndrome awareness.

Comment: Will this be required for all centers, or only for centers serving infants?

9. 8. ] Prevention of sudden infant death syndrome and use of safe sleep practices;

Comment: Will all staff need to be trained in this, or only staff at centers serving infants?




 E. Within 30 days of the first day of employment, staff must complete orientation training in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), as appropriate to the age of the children in care. ]

Comments: Will increased availability and cost reduction be available to centers for this training? As a one classroom center, we do not have an internal trainer and we have used many different avenues for completing this training. It is very difficult to find available seats and available courses, and to not be able to hire staff if no course is available within the 30 days when needed would potentially mean that our center could not be open. Additionally, we already struggle with finding enough substitute teachers, and to add this requirement (when not easily available) for a staff person who might work only once a month would potentially reduce those willing to be subs. We have had to not hold school on some days or times in the past because we didn’t have a sub.



C. When children are regularly in ongoing mixed age groups, the staff-to-children ratio and group size applicable to the youngest child in the group shall apply to the entire group.


O. The ratio for balanced-mixed-age groupings of children shall be one staff member for every 14 children provided:


Comment: How can both C. and O. be the regulation at the same time? In a mixed age group with 3 year olds, the ratio would be 1:10, as required by C. .As required by O, however, the ratio would be 1:14. Although our normal ratio is lower than both, it would be beneficial to understand the regulation. Please clarify.



4. For children diagnosed with specific learning disabilities or speech or language impairments: one staff member to eight children.


  • Comment: There has never been a year that I have NOT recommended one or more of the children in my school be evaluated for speech therapy. There also has never been a time when parents pursue this, that a child has been found to not need services. Does that mean that we should either ensure our ratio is 1:8 at the beginning of the school year for this eventuality, or that we should not recommend parents pursue services? Our ratio normally is 1:8, so it is not a barrier for our particular center. However, I worry that this regulation will lead to the under-diagnosis of children. According to the CDC, “Nearly 8% of children aged 3–17 years had a communication disorder during the past 12 months.” Statistically, it is highly improbable that any center *not* have a child who would fall under this category, should they be diagnosed properly. Will children miss referral if staff work in a center whose administration discourages their staff from communicating these concerns to parents due to the new regulations? Will children with speech impairments, who should be in a language-rich classroom, not be admitted to centers that they were previously welcome at, because they would change the ratio needed? I would like to see this new regulation be re-evaluated to address these concerns. 
CommentID: 97731

4/27/21  8:22 am
Commenter: Shanna Honan

22VAC40-185-190 Program Director Qualifications

A certification of  qualification from an internationally or nationally recognized Montessori organization   

This statement needs to be defined.  In order to be "recognized," Montessori credentials must come from MACTE accredited institutions.  MACTE is the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education and it accredits Montessori teacher education programs both nationally and internationally.  MACTE is a member of the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors and is recognized by the US Department of Education. 

CommentID: 97737

4/28/21  1:39 pm
Commenter: Alisha Vines

22VAC40-185-20 Section B

If this new section mean programs housed in elementary schools no longer subject to inspections or approvals, is there an opportunity for a program to opt out of that? Our current programs do not need to be licensed, however, we choose to be so that we have someone looking over our shoulders letting us know what we need to improve on and making sure we are taking the best care of the kids in our programs. Will this still be an option as I want our programs to continue to be monitored. If this is still an option, I believe this should state that.

CommentID: 97745

4/28/21  1:52 pm
Commenter: Alisha Vines

22VAC40-185-190 - Program Director Qualifications

We do not like taking out "but not limited to" in this entire section. In doing so, you limit to the degrees listed only. We struggle to find candidates now for some of our positions and limiting their degree will only make it worse. What is we find a great candidate who has a Business Administration or Management degree but they decided that they wanted to switch gears? What if they have programmatic experience? We are now going to not be allowed to promote or hire based on their degree because it is no longer listed as "but not limited to"? We are going to require them to spend money to go back and get the required number of child related "college credit" so they qualify? I don't see this happening in smaller localities such as ours, including asking the staff to obtain and maintain a CDA every three years. Sometimes, programmatic experience is more valuable that what you learn sitting in a college classroom.

CommentID: 97746

4/28/21  2:01 pm
Commenter: Alisha Vines

22VAC40-185-240 - Staff Orientation - Section E (First Aid/CPR)

Does this section mean that staff now need to be officially certified within 30 days or just "oriented" with the procedures? If it is certified, this is unrealistic for rural localities who have child care programs. We just recently scheduled a class for staff and had to schedule it 2 months out due to instructor availability. 

This also contradicts the subsidy guidelines of 90 days from date of employment or 90 days from subsidy approval if "certification" is needed and not just "oriented".

CommentID: 97747

4/28/21  2:13 pm
Commenter: Alisha Vines

22VAC40-185-530 - Section E

I would like to see any person who holds a license as at least a Basic Emergency Medical Technician for the State of Virginia to also be exempt for this requirement. This type of training requires ongoing training to maintain your certification as is overseen by the Virginia Department of Health. This should be considered and allowed as the training is above the standard first aid training accepted.

CommentID: 97749

4/28/21  2:21 pm
Commenter: Alisha Vines

22VAC40-185-160 - Tuberculosis Screening for Staff

Would like to see both Sections A2 and B1 reflect that a nurse (such as a school nurse) can also sign off on the screening forms. We are housed in our elementary schools and utilize our school nurses for the screening forms to ensure staff are up-to-date. Our health department is not always available and it is silly and expensive for staff to pay a co-pay to their doctor for this.

Staff should also be given the ability to accept screenings that were conducted a little longer that the 30 days prior to employment. What is we have a staff member coming directly from another child care program that is also licensed? There has to be a happy medium between the previous "12 months prior" and the proposed 30 days.

We struggle to get staff in the door in a timely manner as it is. These two changes cited are just going to make it even more difficult. Please consider these changes to reflect the comments provided.

CommentID: 97750

4/29/21  10:50 am
Commenter: Carolyn Pinkerton, Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education

22VAC40-185-190 Program Director Qualifications

Language currently reads: "A certification of qualification from an internationally or nationally recognized Montessori organization"


Language should be edited to the following for accuracy: "A credential/diploma from a MACTE accredited teacher education program." 


The Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) has been recognized by the US Department of Education (USDE) since 1995. Recognition by the USDE means the Secretary of Education has determined MACTE meets all USDE regulations to determine the quality of education and training provided by Montessori teacher education programs. MACTE’s scope of recognition by USDE is for Montessori teacher education programs within colleges and universities and for freestanding institutions.

Graduates of a MACTE accredited teacher education program have demonstrated they meet the rigorous standards for both coursework and internships
and are prepared to teach and lead in children’s schools.  

CommentID: 97759

4/30/21  8:51 am
Commenter: Meghan Cunningham

Lead Teacher

If Lead teacher requirements are amended, will previously hired lead teachers have a window in which they can complete the requirements if they do not already have them?

CommentID: 97764

5/2/21  4:36 pm
Commenter: Nancy M. Breeden, Staunton Montessori School

Mixed Age Grouping and Recognizing Authentic Montessori Training

I have 20 years experience teaching in an accredited Montessori school which has an excellent reputation for quality early childhood education.  We have, in the past, served thirty 3-6 year old children and are currently able to have 28 children with two highly trained staff.  Our training has enabled us to offer curriculum-based developmental areas of the classroom including practical life, sensorial, language, math, geography, etc.  We are fostering interest in learning, cooperation and freedom to talk and interact.  Mixed age classes promote individual development, a compassion of the older for the younger and self-confidence.   A variety of abilities also reduces competition.    A ratio of 28 students to 2 adults ensures that an adult is not always available to step in and help fosters independence and creates an "I will try to do it myself" attitude within the group.  Older children are often eager to help the younger ones, but are shown how to do it respectfully and only if asked by the child.

We hope that you will recognize authentic Montessori training from Association Montessori Internationale and American Montessori Society, which are both Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education(MACTE ) accredited training centers.  We hope you will also recognize that the mixed age grouping and ratio of 1 to 14 works very well in the Montessori environment.



CommentID: 97792

5/3/21  2:56 pm
Commenter: Dr. Charlotte Haynes, Heritage Montessori

Director Qualifications

Just for clarification, is VDOE going to require that Montessori Directors hold Montessori  certification? Most qualified directors already hold a B.A./B.S and some hold a Master's degree as well which certainly qualifies them to direct an early childhood program  when accompanied  by Early Childhood administration  experience. It would  be difficult to ask a Director to go back to school for several months if they haven't already obtained a certificate and currently  don't  work in the classroom setting.

CommentID: 97814

5/4/21  2:35 pm
Commenter: Shanna Honan


When children are regularly in ongoing mixed age groups, the staff-to-children ratio and group size applicable to the youngest child in the group shall apply to the entire group.

This goes on to have exceptions to this rules in section O.1 and O.2.

It might be less confusing to say:

When children are regularly in ongoing mixed age groups, the staff-to-children ratio and group size applicable to the youngest child in the group shall apply to the entire group except in the case of a balanced mixed age group as indicated in sections O and P.

thankyou for your consideration.

CommentID: 97886

5/4/21  2:59 pm
Commenter: M. Conti

Single Focus, and Unlicensed facilities

While we are taking the opportunity to improve the "quality" of care of children, hence creating more guidelines and more regulation to the already struggling childcare industry, why don't we address the "single focus" non sense, businesses that do not have any form of regulations to meet.  I personally witnessed this numerous times during the "covid" pandemic.  I made numerous calls, and emails regarding these new "pop up" facilities, only to hear we're under state of emergency, or they are single focus, or their is no agreement between the facility and the parents.  This is going on in plain sight, and NOTHING is being done.  Just push more regulation on our businesses. Plain and simple overreach.  We can't find qualified staff as it is, so let's make it even harder for us to survive with the new training requirements, Tb screenings, CPR requirements.  All of this is taking away from the joy of giving quality care to our children.  We have now become a training center. Other facilities, please speak up, and stop caving to this overreach. 

CommentID: 97888

5/6/21  2:48 pm
Commenter: Patricia Colby, Mountaintop Montessori

Clarification on standard 22VAC40-185-350, mixed age groupings

Mountaintop Montessori is in its 39th year of offering high-quality Montessori education to families in the Charlottesville area.  The quality of our program is based on implementing Montessori principles of education which have always included mixed-age groupings in all its classrooms.  Please clarify the language to allow Montessori schools to continue to offer multi-age preschool classrooms balanced by age with a ratio of 14 to 1 ( and in subsection O), and not as stated in subsection C  requiring that the ratio be based on the youngest age group in the classroom.  Balanced multi-age classrooms of 3 to 6-year-olds are an essential component of our well-established pedagogy.  Classrooms that have too few children of each age do not support the type of learning environment that we believe is vital to fostering independence by creating an over-reliance on adults and reducing cross-peer relationships. Thank you!  Patricia Colby, Ph.D., Head of School. 

CommentID: 97967

5/7/21  8:48 am
Commenter: Beth Kariel, MSW

22VAC40-185-350 Staff to children ratio and group size requirements. K.and O.

Both K. and O. in the staff to children ratio requirements refer to the necessity of having additional staff who are readily accessible.  The jobs of these additional staff need to be clarified.  If these additional staff are administrative staff, that should be fine.  However, if these additional staff are staff members who already are directly responsible for children, that would be problematic.  They would have to leave their own classrooms with an inadequate staff to children ratio, in order to go to the other classroom and help. 

CommentID: 97977

5/9/21  5:26 pm
Commenter: Janine Labak, MSW, Teacher MSNV

Mixed Age Grouping

Mixed age grouping and teacher to student ratio such as 1:14 are essential to the Montessori classroom which for years has proved to be a successful learning environment. These elements help to ensure independence, cooperation and self-confidence - qualities much needed for the children of the future. Thank you for including and clarifying these topics in the new standards.

CommentID: 98038

5/10/21  8:39 am
Commenter: Virginia Montessori Association

Recognizing Authentic Montessori programs

First, thank you for maintaining the 14:1 child/adult ratio in mixed age classrooms, with the adjustment of 10:1 in emergency situations. 

For the past 35 years, I have worked as Montessori educator in age 3-6 and 6-12 classrooms and as Director of Education. I am Vice President of Virginia Montessori Association and serve on the Executive Board of Washington Montessori Institute, founded 60 years ago as the first AMI training organization in the US.

I hope that standards will articulate specific criteria for recognizing authentic Montessori programs. Those standards are articulated in the "Montessori Essentials" at the Montessori Public Policy Initiative MPPI , Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education MACTE , Association Montessori Internationale  AMI , and American Montessori Society AMS

Thank you.



CommentID: 98041

5/10/21  9:27 am
Commenter: Jamie Childress, VP of Youth Development - YMCA of South Hampton Roads

Program Director Qualifications

Program Director Qualifications - Serious consideration should be given to School Age After School Programs that operate less than 30 hours per week.  A large barrier for said programs is trying to hire and recruit program director qualified staff that only wish to work 20-30 hours per week.  Current standards are written for full-day early childhood programs that operate 40+hours per week.  This is overkill.  I would suggest adding a standard that speaks to the number of hours the center is open as well as ages.  It is tough finding staff as it is, even Program Aides, and while I understand the intention, the standard is counter-productive and undermines the ability to attract and hire future teachers and child care employees, further sending programs into a downward spiral in which quality suffers and supervision is inadequate.  This is the number 1 challenge providers face in the after school space.  Program quality and supervision would improve if this standard is reviewed and amended.  

CommentID: 98042

5/10/21  11:12 am
Commenter: Sheri Brennig

Considering Montessori Programs

As you evaluate and revise standards for childcare centers, I hope you will consider the conditions necessary for quality Montessori programs to thrive. One is appropriate ratios for balanced mixed age groupings. My understanding that is now set at 14:1. Balanced mixed aged groupings in Montessori programs allow for a stimulating and challenging learning environment that supports children social, emotional, and academic development. Standards should support quality, not hamper it. Montessori programs are generally staffed by well trained and dedicated early childhood educators who have invested time and money to learn to use the Montessori pedagogy with young children.

I also hope that you will consider listing specific criteria for acknowledging authentic Montessori schools. The Montessori Public Policy Initiative has described the elements of quality Montessori programs on their website

As a long time Montessori teacher, school director, and Montessori parent, I can speak to the impact that a quality Montessori education can provide to children in our commonwealth.

Thank you for your consideration.

CommentID: 98047

5/10/21  4:52 pm
Commenter: K. Reynolds

mixed-age classrooms in Montessori schools

As a teacher and parent in Montessori schools for 20 years, I can comment on the importance of a mixed-age classroom in quality Montessori schools with a ratio of 1:14 at the 3-6 level.  It is essential that there is a balance in the ages in each classroom so that younger children have older students to look up to and learn from and the older children can model behavior for their younger peers and help guide them as well.  In order to foster independence, it is also important that there is an adequate number of children at each age level and a limited number of adults in the classroom for the purpose of encouraging independence, self-confidence and cooperation.   

Please clarify the language to allow Montessori schools to continue to offer multi-age preschool classrooms balanced by age and not as stated in subsection 'C' requiring that the ratio be based on the youngest age group in the classroom.  Balanced multi-age classrooms of 3-6 year olds are an essential component of our well-developed pedagogy.  

CommentID: 98203

5/11/21  12:30 pm
Commenter: Kimberly Pomares Nolte

Children's Records

Paragraph 8. A written care plan for each child  with a diagnosed food allergy...

This is easily accomplished when dealing with civilian doctors. However, as a school near multiple military bases this is difficult to accomplish when dealing with military physicians as they do not provide written care plans.

It would be beneficial if Social Services or the Department of Education provided a standard written care plan template that we could use to facilitate requests from military physicians.

CommentID: 98303

5/11/21  12:35 pm
Commenter: Kimberly P Nolte

Staff Training

Paragraph A.

The Virginia Department of Social Services-sponsored orientation course... 

This course has always been for subsidy based schools, not for private pay. I realize that there is a push to lump the two programs but I don't feel the different programs are best served by lumping the regulations together.

CommentID: 98305

5/11/21  12:55 pm
Commenter: Kimberly P Nolte

Staff Training

Staff Training

Paragraph E

Within 30 days of the first day of employment, staff must complete orientation training in first aid and CPR...

This is also addressed in:

First Aid Training, CPR

Paragraph A 1,2

At least one staff in each classroom... shall have within 90 days... CPR & First Aid

This needs clarification as the regulations are contradictory. One regulation says at least one staff person per classroom, the other indicates everyone on staff. Having one person per classroom is certainly enough.

Additionally making the requirement within 30 days is not feasible. In today's environment and for the foreseeable future scheduling a trainer is not easy and rarely doable in 30 days. 90 days allows schools to more realistically be able to stay in compliance.

CommentID: 98309

5/11/21  2:04 pm
Commenter: Shari Wood

Staff Training paragraph A

The VA Dept. of Orientation course, which used to be required for subsidy centers only, is now going to be required for all centers. Staff must complete the training within 90 days of hire. This is an on-line,10 hour training course which is very challenging, has high expectations for written answers, and does not allow much wiggle room for error. Some staff does not have the technology to complete at home, and we are short staffed so they can't do while here at work. This being a requirement will be a hardship for the school, and an unnecessary stressor for the staff.

CommentID: 98323

5/11/21  2:24 pm
Commenter: Kimberly P Nolte

Operational Responsibilities

 Paragraph K

The center shall develop written procedures for prevention of shaken baby syndrome...

It would be beneficial and bring continuity in the standards if Social Services or the Department of Education provided an outline covering all the important points for these procedures.

CommentID: 98326

5/11/21  2:34 pm
Commenter: Kimberly P Nolte

Ongoing Training

Mat Training Paragraph 3

Any child for whom emergency medications... shall always be in care...

This is very vague.  We have always had MAT trained staff and there is always MAT trained staff available to treat students. The way this is written it sounds like there needs to be one staff person available to shadow every student who has been prescribed emergency medication. Having multiple trained individuals on site meets the need to ensure the safety of the students.

CommentID: 98331

5/11/21  2:46 pm
Commenter: Kimberly P Nolte

Staff to Children Ratio

Table 1

Maximum group size.

I understand the point of this is to prevent schools from loading up large classrooms with too many students. However, it does not take into consideration playgrounds and assemblies.

Playgrounds are usually large and designed to accommodate more than one classroom at a time. By allowing only 1 class at a time it becomes impossible to provide appropriate playground time to all the students.  By staying in compliance with this regulation we become non-compliant for outdoor playground time. 

Assemblies and Programs: There are times during the year that require larger groups of children to be brought together in an auditorium or other large venue. Some of these include in-house field trips and presentations, holiday programs, and graduations to name a few. The Maximum Group Size Requirements sound wonderful until one realizes that it puts all these programs that make a school awesome into violation.

CommentID: 98333

5/11/21  2:48 pm
Commenter: Shanna Honan Chesapeake Montessori School

Operational Responsibilities

22VAC40-185-30 Operational Responsibilities

Every Center will ensure that advertising is not misleading or deceptive as required by VA code 63.2-1713


"Montessori" schools that operate without adhering  to the the MPPI (Montessori Public Policy Initiative) Montessori Essentials are deceptively and irresponsibly defrauding Virginia's parents into believing their children are getting a Montessori education. The Montessori Essentials are the nationally recognized elements of a Montessori school.   Montessori teachers study for a minimum of 600 clock hours to earn their Montessori early childhood credentials from accredited teacher education programs.  Recognized  Montessori teacher programs are accredited by MACTE, which is recognized by USDE.  Montessori teacher education programs in Virginia must be certified to operate by SCHEV, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.  Neighbors, including MD and DC have consumer protection laws in place to avoid this type of fraudulent advertising. Defining what can be considered a "Montessori"  school is vital in correctly representing the specialized education offered.  All other claims are misleading and deceptive. 



CommentID: 98336

5/11/21  3:01 pm
Commenter: Betsy Gladen

22VAC40-185-190 section c. Credentialed Montessori Teachers

As a Montessori educator for over 15 years (Early Childhood Credential awarded from AMS through VMTEC, a MACTE accredited training center) and now as a Montessori school administrator, I plead that you understand the importance for authentic Montessori teacher training.  Montessori teacher training is both rigorous and intensive (equivalent in work load to earning a VA teacher's license, which I also hold currently).  I propose the wording from 22VAC40-185-190 section c "A certification of qualification from an internationally or nationally recognized Montessori organization" be CHANGED to read "A certification of qualification from A MACTE ACCREDITED training Montessori organization"

Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) is recognized by the VDOE and is a member of the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors.

Thank you.

CommentID: 98340

5/11/21  3:10 pm
Commenter: Betsy Gladen

22VAC40-185-350 section O. Mixed Age Grouping

As mixed-age grouping is essential to all levels of Montessori education (Early Childhood 3-6; Lower Elementary 6-9; Upper Elementary 9-12; Montessori Middle School 12--15; Montessori High School 12-18) I want to offer my deepest gratitude for remembering this critical piece in keeping Montessori education authentic.  Thank you for keeping the balanced mixed-age groupings of children at the staff ratio of 14:1 as outlined in 22VAC40-185-350 section O.

"The ratio for balanced-mixed-age groupings of children shall be one staff member for every 14 children provided: 

1. The center has additional staff who are readily accessible in the event of an emergency to maintain a ratio of one staff member for every 10 children when three-year-olds are included in the balanced-mixed-age group; and

2. The lead teacher has received at least eight hours of training in classroom management of balanced-mixed-age groupings.

Again, thank you.

CommentID: 98342

5/11/21  4:10 pm
Commenter: Jen Schlidt, WCLC

22VAC40-185-350 Staff-to-children ratio and group size requirements

22VAC40-185-350 Staff-to-children ratio and group size requirements

We do not agree with the maximum group sizes in Table 1 for birth to 16 months. WCLC is a large center with ample space for students; we currently hold 16 students in our infant ( 3 - 12 months) classroom and our waddler classroom (12 - 16 months). By limiting us to 12 students in each of thee classrooms, we are taking away 8 open spaces at our center, which lengthens our waitlist and takes away our ability to provide the much needed care to our community.


CommentID: 98355

5/11/21  8:30 pm
Commenter: Alexis Markley

Clarification Needed


I would like further clarification for what you deem to be "recognized" for Montessori credentials.  Are you getting your information from MACTE (Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Educators)? They are the accrediting body for Montessori training centers and recognized by the Department of Education.  

I would like further clarification in regards to mixed aged groups ratios. In a Children's House Montessori classroom we expect to have around 24 children in a balanced mixed age group of 3-6 year-olds with two adults.  The 14:1 ratio is vital for the continuation of Montessori philosophy and the independence of the child.  Montessori teachers from a MACTE accredited program will have vast knowledge on how to lead and manage a classroom with balanced mixed age groups.  Will there be an exception for this standard and if so how can we as schools obtain it? 

Lastly, I would like to impress upon you the importance of the name Montessori on a school.  In Virginia, anyone can open a school can call it "Montessori" without repercussion.  There are written standards from the largest Montessori organizations in the world, (American Montessori Internationale and the American Montessori Society, among others) on what an authentic Montessori school should have to be considered Montessori.  I would invite you to contact MACTE or the Virginia Montessori Association for additional policy information we are proposing.  


CommentID: 98381

5/12/21  12:32 pm
Commenter: Liz Dowdy / International Accreditation and Certification of Childhood Educ

Ratio requirements during transportation

Please consider adding that ratio requirements do not need to be followed during transportation as often there are mixed age ages when transporting children  to/from homes or schools.

22 VAC 40-185-580. Transportation and field trips

F. The staff-to-children ratios of 22VAC40-185-350 B and 22VAC40-185-335 shall be followed on all field trips. The staff-to-children ratios and group requirements need not be followed during transportation of school age children to and from the center…

CommentID: 98426

5/12/21  12:52 pm
Commenter: Liz Dowdy / International Accreditation and Certification of Childhood Educ

Requiring two staff members with first aid/CPR during transportation

Please consider adding an exception so that only one staff member with first aid and CPR be required when transporting children. Requiring two people on each van or bus will create a financial hardship in paying extra salaries and also may take staff away from other areas.  

22VAC40-185-530 First aid training, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

C. There shall be at least two staff members who meet the requirements of subsection A of this section present on the premises during the center's hours of operation, on fieldtrips, and wherever children are in care. EXCEPTION: When on field trips only one staff member shall be required to have first aid and CPR.

CommentID: 98428

5/12/21  1:12 pm
Commenter: Liz Dowdy / International Accreditation and Certification of Childhood Educ

Annual CPR and first aid training

Since CPR and first aid certifications are generally for two years, why will training be required annually? Because it is only training, and not certification, who will be qualified to do training? This will be an unnecessary cost for centers.

22VAC40-185-245 Ongoing training

H. Annual training shall be relevant to staff's job responsibilities and the care of children, and include topics such as:

12. CPR and first aid;

CommentID: 98431

5/12/21  1:15 pm
Commenter: Liz Dowdy / International Accreditation and Certification of Childhood Educ

Written procedures for SIDS and crying babies in centers with older children

Please clarify why it is necessary for centers not licensed for infants or toddlers, and that will never have them on site, to be required to have written procedures for coping with crying babies, safe sleep practices, or sudden infant death syndrome awareness. Also, clarify how the procedures should be written since they will never be put into practice.

22VAC40-185-40 Operational responsibilities

K. The center shall develop written procedures for prevention of shaken baby syndrome or abusive head trauma, including coping with crying babies, safe sleeping practices, and sudden infant death syndrome awareness.

CommentID: 98432

5/12/21  1:27 pm
Commenter: Liz Dowdy / International Accreditation and Certification of Childhood Educ

Sensitivities or intolerances?

Please consider either changing either “sensitivities” or “intolerances” so that they match. Or, explain in the Definitions Section that the two words are interchangeable.


22VAC40-185-40 Operational responsibilities

A.7. Allergies and intolerance to .…  

J. …. children's allergies, sensitivities, and dietary restrictions.

K. … all children's allergies, sensitivities,....

22 VAC 40-185-550. Procedures for emergencies

3. b. …  information on allergies or food intolerances

4. b.. … information on allergies or food intolerances

CommentID: 98434

5/12/21  1:32 pm
Commenter: Liz Dowdy / International Accreditation and Certification of Childhood Educ

MAT training revised every three years

How and why will centers be cited if the MAT curriculum and materials are not reviewed or revised by the department every three years?

22VAC40-185-245 Ongoing training

J. Medication administration:

1. a.  AND 2. b. The approved training curriculum and materials shall be reviewed by the department at least every three years and revised as necessary.

CommentID: 98435

5/12/21  1:33 pm
Commenter: Liz Dowdy / International Accreditation and Certification of Childhood Educ

Deleting activated charcoal

Please consider deleting activated charcoal from the required supplies.

22  VAC 40-185-540. First aid and emergency supplies.

  1. The following emergency supplies shall be required at the center and be available on field trips:
    1. Activated charcoal preparation (to be used only on the direction of a physician or the center's local poison control center); and
CommentID: 98436

5/12/21  1:35 pm
Commenter: Liz Dowdy / International Accreditation and Certification of Childhood Educ

Clarification now needed for "such as"

Because “but not limited to” is being deleted in many of the standards, please clarify if the phrase “such as” is now meant to be used as an all-inclusive list of examples or as a partial list of examples.

such as, but not limited to

CommentID: 98437

5/12/21  2:11 pm
Commenter: Ellen McDonald, McDonald Montessori School

22VAC40-185-10 Definitions
  • [“Allergy”  an immune response by the body to an allergen that causes either a systematic (anaphylactic) or localized (like hives, erythema ) reaction]
  • “Balanced Mixed Age Grouping”  This a clear definition of what the standard recognizes as a balanced mixed age group. Is any program with a teacher having 8 training hours on balanced mixed age grouping allowed to utilize this ratio? It seems to be directly addressing Montessori programs. Why not limit the balanced mixed age grouping to Montessori programs?
  • “Children with Special Needs” means children [who have been diagnosed] with developmental disabilities, emotional disturbance, and so on…
  • “Independent Contractor” please clarify. Does this mean any individual (pest control company and/or specialized program leaders (e.g. Mighty Kicks Soccer)? 
  • “Licensee” means [the individual or the entity] to whom the license [for the child day center] is issued.
  • “Minor Injury”  means a wound, [injury, or other damage to the body such as abrasions, splinters, bruises, stings (that do not cause an allergic reaction),  and bites (that do not break the skin).]
  • “Programmatic Experience”  Consider adding “camp” to the experience settings list.
  • [“Poisoning”  a harmful ingested substance that elicits a bodily reaction like nausea, vomiting, labored breathing, burns or redness around the mouth and lips, or confusion.]
  • “Serious Injury”  means a wound or other [significant] and specific, damage to the body such as unconsciousness, broken bones, dislocation, deep cuts [likely requiring stitches], concussions, objects lodged in an orifice (like the eye, nose, ear, etc.) which will require immediate medical evaluation by a medical professional. 
  • “Shelter-in-Place”  means the [seeking of safe refuge within the physical building. The safe refuge may vary from location to location in the building depending upon the eminent threat. The time spent in shelter-in-place will also vary depending upon the threat. Only after the perceived threat has subsided, a shelter-in-place stay may end.]


CommentID: 98443

5/12/21  2:13 pm
Commenter: Ellen McDonald, McDonald Montessori School

22VAC40-185-80 Attendance Records and Reports

22VAC40-185-80 Attendance Records and Reports


A. For each group of children, the center shall maintain a written record of daily attendance that documents the arrival and departure of each child in care as it occurs.  Is this truly necessary? I believe that daily attendance records shall be kept, and we currently do that. We have designated arrival and dismissal times. When children arrive before the designated time, we document their arrival time (enter or Before Care program). When children leave after their dismissal time, we document their departure time (leave our After Care program). Do we really need to document that a child arrived at 8:36 when that falls within our designated arrival time? Or that they departed at 3:04 when that falls within our designated departure time? Those high-volume times of arrival or dismissal can be hectic. We focus on the children’s safety as that is our priority. Writing down times seems a bit overkill and an unnecessary responsibility when a child’s safety should prevail.




CommentID: 98445

5/12/21  2:15 pm
Commenter: Ellen McDonald, McDonald Montessori School

22VAC20-185-130 Immunizations for Children

Are we required to enroll children who are not immunized and who have an affidavit stating such? Or are centers allowed to choose whether or not to enroll unvaccinated children?

CommentID: 98446

5/12/21  2:16 pm
Commenter: Ellen McDonald, McDonald Montessori School

22VAC20-185-160 [Tuberculous Screening for staff and independent contractors]

Obtaining a TB test or screening prior to working with children adds another obstacle to get individuals working quickly. Because we must maintain our ratios, we need to be able to hire staff with an immediate start date.  I understand the need for the precaution. Can a medium be reached? Perhaps a sworn statement affirming no known TB exposure as an interim for the first 30 days of employment? 


Why is the standard for staff and independent contractors only? Volunteers and parents, because parental involvement is required (see VAC40-185-420 Parental Involvement D), are not addressed in this standard.

CommentID: 98447

5/12/21  2:17 pm
Commenter: Ellen McDonald, McDonald Montessori School

22VAC40-185-190 Program Director Qualifications

c. A certification of programmatic experience from an internationally or nationally recognized Montessori organization. Please define recognized. Who determines the legitimacy of the organization?*

CommentID: 98448