Daycare Guidance

Preventative Actions for the introduction of respiratory germs INTO your facility

  • Post signs outside the entrance restricting entry to anyone with symptoms of illness/respiratory infection.
  • Daycare staff should be checked for fever before entering the facility at the beginning of their reported work period and maintain records of 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 from the daycare setting.
  • 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 daycare for activities, regardless of their security clearance. However, this does not apply to maintenance/repair workers. For these persons, a log shall be maintained including date/time, name, phone number/cell number and email.
  • 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; inform them of COVID-19 cases reported in your childcare or daycare center and stay informed of local developments.

Preventative Actions for the spread of respiratory germs WITHIN your facility

  • Promptly isolate any staff or child with symptoms of COVID-19, including use of a procedure mask (as tolerated by children).
    • If the child cannot tolerate a face mask, the staff assigned to that child should wear the facemask.
    • Limit the staff to 1:1 care for children who have been isolated.
    • Follow childcare/daycare facility procedures on notifying parent/guardian.
    • Educate parent/guardian on contacting their family physician.
    • Clean/disinfect area after the child leaves.
  • Cohort children and daycare staff. Children should be kept in the same group with same staff every day including meal, snack, 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.
  • Avoid shaking hands as a social greeting.
  • Ensure employees clean their hands according to CDC guidelines, including before and after contact with members, and after contact with contaminated surfaces or equipment.
  • 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 any sink is well-stocked with soap and paper towels for hand washing.
  • Position trash cans for easier discarding of tissues and paper towels for staff and children.
  • Intensify cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched items, including doorknobs, toys, phones, keyboards, mice and other items identified as frequently handled.
  • Cancel or postpone all non-critical gatherings and events.
  • Increase ventilation by opening windows or adjusting 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 coronavirus disease (COVID‐19) or other infectious diseases in communities. Social distancing actions include limiting large groups of people coming together, closing buildings or canceling events. Staff and parents/guardians over the age of 60 years, especially if they have serious medical conditions, and any children with serious underlying medical conditions, may wish to avoid a congregate setting such as a childcare or daycare center.

Contingency Planning

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

Closure of Childcare Facilities

A childcare facility might need to implement short-term closure procedures if an infected person has been in a childcare facility. If this happens, IDPH recommends the following procedures regardless of the level of transmission in the community.

  • Upon learning of a COVID-19 case in someone who has been in the childcare facility, immediately notify the local health department. The local health department will help the childcare facility administrators determine a course of action for the childcare program.
  • Dismiss students and most staff for a minimum of 2-5 days.
    • This initial short-term dismissal allows time for the local health department to assess the current COVID-19 situation and to work with facility administrators 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 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 that is effective against SARS-Co-V-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and use according to the product label instructions. More information is available here:
    • The local health department should assist the childcare facility in development of messaging to communicate with parents/guardians and staff about the temporary closure of the facility and potential COVID-19 exposures.
    • Childcare facilities who 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.
  • Local health department recommendations for the duration of childcare 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.
Guidance Document: