Returning to Child Care During COVID-19

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Families have been faced with important decisions about child care during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to allowing caregivers to participate in the workforce, child care is valuable for children’s social and emotional development. Therefore, caregivers considering child care arrangements for their children should understand the strategies that will be used to reduce risk of exposure to COVID-19. 

With child care settings beginning phased reopening in Pennsylvania and beyond, experts from various areas of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) — pediatric primary care, infectious diseases, early childhood and child care — partnered to compile the following resources to help aide in your decision-making.

To inform these documents, the CHOP PolicyLab has been tracking scientific, medical and policy developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidance for safe child care operations.

Parent & Caregiver FAQ: Returning My Child to Child Care

This frequently asked questions document is intended to provide parents and caregivers with information and guidance for returning their children to child care that reflects the latest evidence on safety protocols for home and center-based care.

We caution that data from this pandemic are still new, so the considerations we feature in this document are guided by our best current understanding of transmission risk, sometimes based on what we know about COVID-19 and sometimes based on experience with other respiratory viruses like influenza.

Topics covered include:

  • General safety & COVID-19 child health basics
  • Masking
  • Symptom screening: Pick up & drop off procedures
  • Sanitizing/Disinfecting procedures
  • Distancing & classroom arrangements
  • Support services
  • COVID-19 cases

Questions to Ask Your Child Care Provider: A Checklist for Parents, Guardians & Families

This checklist of questions is intended to help guide parents, guardians and families in conversations with their child care providers.

Topics covered include: Experiences with COVID-19, drop off & pick up procedures, health & safety, cleaning & disinfecting, and visitors.

Reopening Doors to Child Care Safely: A Guide for Center Operators and Professionals

This document is intended to support center operators and other related professionals in their planning for reopening child care centers, as they balance safety with providing a high-quality, developmentally appropriate and emotionally supportive experience for young children. The information presented in this document reflects emerging evidence that can guide safety protocols.

Topics include:

  • Staffing requirements
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Child safety
  • Sanitizing/Disinfecting procedures
  • Screening & opening policies