As stay-at-home orders are lifted for multiple industries to promote California’s economic recovery, the need for child care and other supports for working families will increase. Every child care program must have a plan in place to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and to ensure the safety of children, providers, and families. As programs begin to reopen and other programs transition from emergency child care for essential workers to enhanced regular operations, all providers must apply new and updated policies and requirements and must update their emergency preparedness plan.
Social distancing with young children is a challenging effort. However, the recommendations set forth aim to keep children and providers safe and healthy, while ensuring children are in a nurturing and responsive environment. Parents may also be concerned about the safety of returning children back to care. It is important to maintain frequent communication with families about the policies and practices implemented in programs to keep everyone safe. This ongoing communication will aid in supporting young children with this new transition and social and physical distancing practice.
The state recognizes this health crisis is a fluid situation and is coordinating joint efforts with state and local agencies to provide support, as well as current information and guidance that is responsive to questions and suggestions from providers, families, and stakeholders. Child care providers should continue to monitor updated guidelines and information posted at https://covid19.ca.gov.
These guidelines and considerations are based on the best available public health data at this time, and the practical realities of managing a child care program; as new data and practices emerge, the guidance will be updated.
The state has provided funding and materials to support child care programs to access cleaning supplies and essential protective gear, such as masks. Please contact your local child care resource and referral agency to learn more about what resources are currently available.
|Items||Child Care Workforce||Children|
|Cloth Face Coverings*||Yes, for tasks such as serving food,||Never place face coverings on babies or children under 2 because of danger of suffocation. Some counties require children over the age of 2 to wear facial coverings in places of businesses e.g. child care facilities|
for tasks such as serving food,
handling trash, or using
cleaning and disinfectant
| Hand Sanitizer |
Should contain at least 60% ethyl alcohol (preferred)
or at least 70% isopropyl alcohol(a neurotoxin and
Note that frequent
handwashing is more effective
than the use of hand sanitizers
|May be used under adult supervision only and must be kept out of children’s reach. Call Poison Control if consumed: 800-222-1222 Note that frequent handwashing is more effective than use of hand sanitizers. Sanitizer must be rubbed into children’s hands until completely dry. Hand sanitizer is not recommended for children under 24 months.|
|Disinfectant Cleaning Products||YES|
Provide training and required
protective equipment per
recommendations. Must be
kept out of children’s reach.
*Masks or face shields may also be worn. Note that local guidance may apply. Please consult recommendations from the local or county health department. The Healthy Schools Act requires that anyone using disinfectants at child care centers complete annual California Department of Pesticide Regulation-approved training. Online training can be found by going to https://apps.cdpr.ca.gov/schoolipm/. This does not apply to family child care homes.
If a parent/caregiver is entering the classroom, ask them to wash their own hands and assist in washing the hands of their children before dropping off, prior to coming for pick up, and as soon as they get home.