Childcare Center COVID-19 Reopening Guidelines

With the onset of COVID-19, many families are now navigating work and school arrangements from home, potentially leading to increased stress for parents and children alike. As shelter-in-place restrictions continue to lift, families may choose to resume their use of daycare and childcare services to further support their children’s development and provide professional support during these difficult times.

These childcare services and centers include home-based childcare programs, private childcare centers, daycares, pre-kindergarten (pre-K), Head Start, or Early Head Start programs. Owners or operators of these childcare centers and their childcare professionals face a range of challenges in how to resume childcare services during COVID-19 safely:

  • How can we protect the health and safety of children who receive childcare services and their families?
  • How do we assure parents/guardians/families that we are doing all we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at our childcare center?
  • What are the best practices for the drop-off and pick-up of children at childcare centers or daycares during COVID-19?
  • What do we do if a child or childcare worker has tested positive for or has a suspected case of COVID-19?
  • How do you properly clean and disinfect children's toys, books, stuffed animals, and other high-touch surfaces?

With these questions in mind, AIHA has created this “Back to Work Safely: Guidance for Childcare Centers, 2nd edition” guide to offer practical advice for how to resume childcare services during COVID-19 safely. The guidance borrows from the latest advice given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as expert advice from other leading health, government, and childcare organizations.

These reopening guidelines share actional steps and recommendations to protect children who receive childcare services, including information on the following key areas:

  • What should a childcare center owner, daycare provider, or similar childcare services professional do to protect themselves, children, and families from COVID-19?
    • Guidance on how to enable physical distancing in childcare environments, including recommendations for how to structure childcare classes and ways to limit the mixing of children
    • Strategies for childcare drop-off and pick-up and how to store car seats and strollers
    • Enhanced cleaning practices, including how to disinfect children's toys, games, and cubbies, and whether you should attempt to disinfect outdoor playgrounds
    • Ventilation best practices to ensure there is an adequate flow of fresh air, including guidance on how to position pedestal fans or hard-mounted fans
    • How to change a diaper to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19
    • Food preparation and feeding considerations, including how to properly disinfect childcare center kitchen appliances and utensils and how to serve food to children safely during COVID-19
    • Daily wellness health check practices and what to do if a child or a member of their family is sick or displaying symptoms of COVID-19
    • Recommended signage for daycare and childcare centers increase awareness of how to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19
  • What should a childcare staff member or a parent/guardian/caregiver do to minimize the transmission of COVID-19?
    • Self-monitoring best practices, including temperature checks
    • Recommended PPE for childcare service professionals
    • How to notify a childcare center if you suspect you or your child may have COVID-19
    • What to do if you need to sneeze while inside a childcare or daycare facility

Download our “Back to Work Safely: Guidance for Childcare Centers, 2nd edition” guidance document today to learn how to resume childcare services during COVID-19 safely.