Daycare Guidance

Preventative actions

  • Post signs outside the entrance restricting entry to anyone with symptoms of illness/respiratory infection.
  • Day care staff should be checked for fever before entering the facility at the beginning of their reported work period and records kept of  their monitoring.
  • Ensure sick leave policies allow employees to stay home if they have symptoms of respiratory infection.
  • Monitor children daily for signs/symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Exclude any staff or child with symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Depending on the facility plan, stagger drop-off and pick-up times to avoid overcrowding of children and parents/guardians in confined spaces.
  • Limit parents/guardians to one per child during drop-off and pick-up.
  • No outside visitors should be allowed in the day care, regardless of their security clearance. However, this does not apply to maintenance/repair workers who should be tracked in a log that includes the date/time they were in the facility, their name, phone number/cell number, and e-mail.
  • Develop a communication plan with parents and staff in the event a COVID-19 case occurs in a staff or child.
  • Coordinate with your local health department (LHD). Inform the LHD of COVID-19 cases reported in your child care or day care center and stay informed of local developments.

Steps to prevent the spread of respiratory germs WITHIN your facility

  • Promptly isolate any staff or child with symptoms of COVID-19, including use of a cloth face covering (as tolerated by children).
    • If the child cannot tolerate a cloth face covering, staff assigned to that child should wear a cloth face covering.
    • Limit the staff to 1:1 care for children who have been isolated.
    • Follow child care/day care facility procedures for notifying a parent/guardian.
    • Educate the parent/guardian on contacting their family physician.
    • Clean/disinfect the area after the child leaves.
  • Group children and day care staff. Children should be kept in the same group with the same staff every day during meals, snacks, and rest and play periods. Limit groups/classes to 10 or less.
  • Post signs throughout the facility describing ways to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Monitor and enforce hand hygiene among staff and children. Hands should be washed with soap and water for 20 seconds and, if soap and water is not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Avoid shaking hands as a social greeting.
  • Ensure employees clean their hands according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, including before and after contact with members, and after contact with contaminated surfaces or equipment. Hands should be washed with soap and water for 20 seconds and, if soap and water is not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Put alcohol-based hand rub in every room (ideally both inside and outside of the room).
  • Teach and reinforce healthy hygiene as is age appropriate (covering coughs/sneezes, disposing of tissues, handwashing, keep fingers away from eyes, nose and mouth).
  • Make sure tissues are available and sinks are well-stocked with soap and paper towels for hand washing.
  • Position trash cans for easier discarding of tissues and paper towels.
  • Intensify cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched items, including doorknobs, toys, phones, keyboards, computer mice,  and other items identified as frequently handled.
  • Cancel or postpone non-critical gatherings and events.
  • Increase ventilation by opening windows or adjusting the air conditioning.

Preventative actions for vulnerable populations

Social distancing actions are taken to restrict when and where people can gather to stop or slow the spread of COVID‐19 or other infectious diseases. Social distancing actions include limiting large groups of people coming together, closing buildings, canceling events, and keeping 6 feet distance from other people. Staff and parents/guardians over 65 years of age, especially if they have serious medical conditions, and any children with serious underlying medical conditions, may wish to avoid a congregate settings, such as child care or day care centers.

Contingency planning

Consider reducing open hours or maximum capacity. Check the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and CDC websites daily for updated guidance to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Closure of child care facilities

A child care facility might need to implement short-term closure procedures if a person with COVID-19 has been in the facility. If this happens, IDPH recommends the following procedures regardless of the level of transmission in the community.

  •  Immediately notify the local health department (LHD). The LHD will help the child care facility administration determine a course of action for the child care program.
  • Dismiss students and most staff for a minimum of 2-5 days.
    • This initial short-term dismissal allows time for the LHD to assess the current COVID-19 situation and to work with facility administration to determine appropriate next steps, including whether an extended dismissal duration is needed to stop or slow further spread of COVID-19.
    • This also allows for a thorough cleaning and disinfection of the facility.
      • Close off areas used by the individual(s) with COVID-19 and wait as long as practical before beginning cleaning and disinfection to minimize the potential for exposure to respiratory droplets. If possible, wait up to 24 hours before beginning cleaning and disinfection. Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area.
      • Use a cleaning and disinfection product effective against SARS-Co-V-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and use according to the product label instructions. More information is available at
    • The LHD should assist the child care facility with development of messaging to communicate with parents/guardians and staff about the facility’s temporary closure and potential COVID-19 exposures.
    • Child care facilities that offer essential medical or social service programs should consider alternative methods for providing these services. Coordination with other agencies and providers may be indicated to determine how best to accommodate the needs of high-risk children and families.
  • LHD recommendations for the duration of child care facility dismissals will be made on a case-by-case basis using the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and the specific cases in the community.

Last Updated:  6/18/2020

Guidance Document: