COVID-19 Child Care Recommendations
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On March 23, Gov. Jay Inslee issued a Stay Home — Stay Healthy order which will be effective for a minimum of two weeks. The order requires every Washingtonian to stay at home, except for people:
- Pursuing an essential activity, like shopping for groceries or going to a medical appointment. What’s opened and closed
- Getting takeout food. (Food deliveries also are permitted).
- Going to work at an essential business.
- Going outside for walks and exercise, as long as they keep 6 feet apart.
- What does it mean to stay home?
On March 28, Public Health's Health Officer, Dr. Jeff Duchin, issued a Quarantine Directive and Isolation Order to protect the health of our community and prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Quarantine Directive: Everyone with COVID-19 symptoms who has a test result pending shall remain in quarantine while waiting for the test results.
- Isolation Order: Every who has tested positive for COVID-19 shall remain in isolation until no longer infectious.
King County is using strategies to slow the spread of COVID-19. On March 12, Governor Jay Inslee announced that all schools in Washington State will be closed from March 17-April 24, 2020. At this time, the order does NOT include closing child care and early learning programs.
Child care and early learning programs play a critical role in the COVID-19 response. By allowing parents to continue working, they keep emergency rooms operating, essential businesses functioning, and our children safe. Child care providers are vital to our community, and we are deeply grateful.
Child care administrators can take important steps to help prevent and prepare for cases of COVID-19 in the child care setting, including:
Plan and communicate
- Inform all parents, children, staff, and volunteers about steps everyone can take to protect themselves and prevent further spread. Include messages to address stigma and discrimination.
- Share Public Health's COVID-19 Fact Sheet for Families.
- Use Public Health's Checklist for Child Care Administrators.
- Review, update, and implement your facility's plans for managing emergencies.
Monitor student and staff health
- Ask parents to check their children's temperature and ask staff to check their own temperature every day before coming to child care. Ask that all children and staff stay at home and away from others if they have: a temperature equal to or greater than 100.4°F; a cough; shortness of breath; or other signs of new illness, unrelated to a preexisting condition.
- Establish a daily process for identifying and sending home children and staff who become sick during the day.
- Plan for and keep track of children and staff who do not attend child care. Collect information about absences. Document illnesses on an illness log per WAC 110-300-0465.
Reduce the spread of germs in your facility
- Clean, sanitize, and disinfect your child care center frequently.
- Continue to use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) according to guidance in the current WAC.
- Choose activities that create more physical space between children.
- If your child care has a case of COVID-19, consider closing temporarily. Use this time to clean and to determine how much the illness spread. Refer to the document, Guidance for Child Care Administrators: What To Do When You Have a Positive COVID-19 Case In Your Community.
- Guidance for Administrators of US Childcare Program and K-12 Schools to Plan, Prepare, and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (CDC)
- Child Care Resources & Recommendations (DOH)
You may find that there are differences in the guidance issued by local, state, and national entities. King County is currently more heavily impacted by COVID-19 than many other regions throughout the state.