CDC Releases Updated Guidance for Child Care Providers

From the Administration for Children and Families / March 12, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a resource for child care providers, Guidance for Operating Child Care Programs during COVID-19. CDC is also releasing new Toolkits for Child Care Programs. These resources provide information to help child care professionals protect children, their families, and staff members; slow the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic; and keep children healthy.

This CDC guidance is meant to supplement—not replace—any federal, state, tribal, local, or territorial public health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which child care programs must comply. Tailor your COVID-19 plan based on the unique needs of your child care program and the spread and impact of COVID-19 in your community. Continue to work with your local public health officials, child care licensing boards/bodies, child care accreditation bodies, health consultants, school districts, and other early childhood partners to monitor the situation and revise your plan as needed.

Changes to the guidance as of March 12, 2021:

  • Expanded guidance background for what is known about COVID-19 and transmission in child care settings
  • Updated guidance for mask use for child care
  • Updated guidance on ventilation and water systems
  • Updated guidance for children with special needs and disabilities
  • Updated guidance on cohorting and staggering strategies
  • Updated guidance for communal spaces, food service, playgrounds and play space.
  • Updated guidance on recognizing signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and screening
  • Updated guidance on protecting people at higher risk
  • Updated guidance for Direct Service Providers (DSPs)

Key Points

  1. Child care providers, also known as Early Childhood Education providers, can help protect children, families, and staff and slow the spread of COVID-19 by using CDC’s updated Guidance for Operating Child Care Programs during COVID-19.
  2. This guidance is intended for all types of child care programs, including child care centers, family child care homes, Head Start programs and other pre-kindergarten programs.
  3. This guidance outlines strategies that child care programs can use to maintain healthy environments and operations, lower the risk of COVID-19 spread in their programs, prepare for when someone is sick with COVID-19, and support coping and resilience.

For Family Child Care Homes

For Parents, Guardians, and Caregivers

Wednesday, January 13, 2021, Gov. Mills updated vaccination guidelines. Daycare workers remain in Phase 1b. There is no additional information at this time on timeline and process.

“Phase 1b continues to include frontline workers, as recommended by the U.S. CDC’s advisory group. Identifying these workers and determining how they will be vaccinated will occur as more information on the vaccine supply in the Biden Administration emerges. Should vaccine supply increase, Maine can more quickly vaccinate people whose work puts them at greater risk of contracting or transmitting COVID-19.

Maine’s progress in vaccinating people in Phase 1a allows Phase 1b to begin this month. Maine aims to complete Phase 1b by April.”

Phase 1b: February to April
  • Those who are 70 years old or older
  • Adults with high-risk medical conditions
  • Frontline essential workers (TBD) — in the following sectors: food and agricultural, Postal Service, manufacturing, grocery stores, public transit, education (teachers, and support staff), and daycare. The State of Maine will review this list and make determinations as this phase approaches.

Maine CDC has created informational packets with recommendations for COVID Positive Cases.

Here are 2 that providers might find most useful:

Here’s sample of information from the packets:

 If you have an employee or child who tested positive or is a close contact, please work with them directly to determine when it is safe for them to return to work or into child care. Maine CDC is no longer providing release from isolation and release from quarantine letters. Maine CDC does not recommend that employers require a negative test to return to work for individuals who tested positive.

Updated Guidance Letter from OCFSNovember 3, 2020

Guidance for Child Care Programs that Remain Open: Please review the US CDC guidance for Childcare Providers. You may also find this guidance from US CDC helpful: Prepare your Small Business and Employees for the Effects of COVID-19 .

Additional guidance related to COVID-19 more generally is available from the US CDC and
the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

If you’re looking for general information about COVID-19, call 211, text your zip code to
898-211, or email

Caring for Children with Asthma During COVID -19 FAQ’s for Parents:

CDC Guidelines on quarantine and isolation after symptoms subside.

CDC has recommended guidance for donning and doffing PPE.

Cleaning and Disinfection After Persons Suspected/Confirmed to Have COVID-19 Have Been in the Facility.

The CDC Foundation is hosting a series of online seminars for retailers, childcare providers, and elementary and secondary education leaders. (These seminars have been recorded.) The seminars are designed to provide insights into existing resources and tools and share a risk analysis framework leaders can use to inform their operational decisions.

Yes, it says Center, but much of the information is applicable to family child care:

4/3/2020 Guidance from CDC ~ Supplemental Guidance for Child Care Programs that Remain Open from the CDC

Here are some key pull outs for FCC providers that do not want to read through the whole guidance sheet:

Implement social distancing strategies ~ nap time, ensure that children’s naptime mats (or cribs) are spaced out as much as possible, ideally 6 feet apart. Consider placing children head to toe in order to further reduce the potential for viral spread. / Consider staggering arrival and drop off times and/or have child care providers come outside the facility to pick up the children as they arrive. Your plan for curbside drop off and pick up should limit direct contact between parents and staff members and adhere to social distancing recommendation.

Intensify cleaning and disinfection efforts ~ Intensify cleaning and disinfection efforts by including objects/surfaces not ordinarily cleaned daily such as doorknobs, light switches, classroom sink handles, countertops, nap pads, toilet training potties, desks, chairs, cubbies, and playground structures. / Toys that cannot be cleaned and sanitized should not be used. / Machine washable cloth toys should be used by one individual at a time or should not be used at all. / Children’s books, like other paper-based materials such as mail or envelopes, are not considered as a high risk for transmission and do not need additional cleaning or disinfection procedures.

Modify drop off and pick up procedures ~ Hand hygiene stations should be set up at the entrance of the facility, so that children can clean their hands before they enter. / Infants could be transported in their car seats. Store car seat out of children’s reach. / If performing a temperature check on multiple individuals, ensure that a clean pair of gloves is used for each individual and that the thermometer has been thoroughly cleaned in between each check. If disposable or non-contact thermometers are used and the screener did not have physical contact with an individual, gloves do not need to be changed before the next check.  The CDC would like complete PPE be worn, but that is not realistic for fcc providers.

It is important to comfort crying, sad, and/or anxious infants and toddlers, and they often need to be held. When washing, feeding, or holding very young children: Child care providers can protect themselves by wearing an over-large button-down, long sleeved shirt and by wearing long hair up off the collar in a ponytail or other updo. / Wash hands, neck, and anywhere touched by a child’s secretions. / They should change the button-down shirt, if there are secretions on it, and wash their hands again. / Contaminated clothes should be placed in a plastic bag or washed in a washing machine. / Infants, toddlers, and their providers should have multiple changes of clothes on hand in.

Maintain an adequate ratio of staff to children to ensure safety.

Maintaining the health and safety of our personal families, child in our care, and the sustainability of our small businesses will require us to remain informed and flexible as new information becomes available. It also means that maintaining the path of communication is very important. FCCAM is working to do our part. The situation with COVID-19 is continually changing as federal and state government responds to new information from experts in dealing with a pandemic. FCCAM has gathered resources around Infectious Diseases in general and COVID-19 specifically on this page and within the section’s drop down menu to make it easier for you to stay informed by having a reliable resource to access at any time. We will be updating as new information is received by us.

Find notices from the State of Maine in regards to COVID-19 and Child Care can be located here. We are updating as soon as we have access to the material.

All communications being sent out to child care providers is also going on the Office of Child and Family Services (OFCS) website. You can sign up to get updates, news directly from OCFS from the linked page.

Posted DHHS Child Care Emergency Plan direct link (CCSP programs)

Maine Center for Disease Control (CDC) / Maine CDC Fact Sheet on COVID-19

Center for Disease Control (CDC)

World Health Organization (WHO)

Family child care providers are looking for direction in revising their business plans around closure and dismissal for the COVID-19 pandemic. The State of Vermont released a 5 page pdf on 3/10/2020 offering Technical Guidance for Child Care, Head Start and public and private Prekindergarten Education Programs on business operation during COVID-19. Much of the information is adaptable for child care programs in Maine.

Maine’s small businesses and their workers are the backbone of our economy, and there is no question that the coronavirus is impacting them. To protect small businesses, Governor Mills requested that the Small Business Administration (SBA) provide economic support loans to Maine small businesses in order to help them overcome any temporary loss of revenue due to COVID-19. To protect Maine workers, Governor Mills submitted emergency legislation that temporarily expands eligibility for unemployment insurance to individuals whose employment has been impacted by COVID-19.

Maine Department of Labor / For guidelines and general information to help businesses, employers, and the public plan and respond to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19 check out Guidance on Coronavirus (update 3/11/2020). For information on resources available to help your business recover from losses as well as best practices to protect the safety and health of your employees, Maine’s labor laws, and other work-related issues, visit the Maine Department of Labor’s Guidance on Coronavirus Response and Updates.

Work-Related Illness – If the illness is work related, the employee and employer should consult with the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board.

Federal Disaster Loan Assistance from U.S. Small Business Association for businesses, non-profits, homeowners and renters / 3-step loan process with application done online

This CONSIDERATIONS FOR CHILD CARE CLOSURE DUE TO COVID-19 flowchart is from ChildCare Aware of America is posted here to help you consider your decision on remaining open or closing.