As a child care provider, you can help protect children, their families, and staff and slow the spread of COVID-19 by using CDC’s updated Guidance for Operating Child Care Programs during COVID-19. Tailor your COVID-19 plans and actions based on the unique needs of your child care center.
Actions like wearing masks properly, staying home when sick, physical distancing, frequent hand washing, co-horting (see below), and regular and consistent cleaning and disinfecting can help all types of child care programs make spreading COVID-19 less likely.
Please refer to the CDC Guidance for Operating Child Care Programs during COVID-19 for more in-depth information about preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the child care setting. This CDC guidance is meant to supplement—not replace—any Federal, state, tribal, local, or territorial public health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which child care programs must comply.
A. Drop-off/Pick-up: Stagger drop-off and pick-up times. Limit direct contact with parents, guardians or caregivers. Consider using curbside drop-off and pick-up.
B. Screen Daily for Illness: Conduct daily health screenings for anyone entering the center. Examples of screenings could include self-checks for symptoms before arriving, health questions upon arrival, and daily temperature checks.
C. Masks: Wear a mask. Everyone 2 and older should wear a well-fitting mask over their mouth and nose, except when eating or sleeping.
D. Educate Families: Educate your families about keeping their child home when they are sick, had close contact to a person with COVID-19, awaiting results, or tested positive for COVID-19.
E. Meal Times: Eat meals outdoors or in well-ventilated areas while keeping physically distanced much as feasible.
F. Physical Distancing Modify learning stations and in-classroom activities, use available space, and stagger schedules to have fewer children in each area.
G. Nap Time: At nap time, ensure that mats or cribs are spaced out as much as possible.
H. Cleaning and Disinfecting: Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as toys, door handles, tables, faucets, and drinking fountains.
I. Outdoor: Play Spaces Being outdoors reduces the risk of spreading COVID-19, but preventive behaviors are still needed. Keep hand hygiene and cleaning supplies readily available.
J. Vaccination: Getting vaccinated as soon as the opportunity is available is an important way for child care providers to stay safe and reduce the risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19.
K. Co-horting: Identify small groups and keep them together. If possible, child care groups should include the same children and the same child care providers each day.
L. Ventilation: Reduce the concentration of virus particles indoors by increasing airflow. Consider maximizing the existing air circulation system, using child-safe fans, opening doors or windows and adding HEPA air filters.
M. Shared Objects: Keep each child’s belongings separated and avoid shared objects when possible.
N. Hand Hygiene: Wash hands using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Thoroughly dry hands after washing. Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol (over age 2) if soap and water are not available.
O. Isolate a Sick Child: Plan to have an isolation room or an area you can use to isolate a sick child or staff member. Make sure isolated children still have adult supervision.
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