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[OBSOLETE] C-21-07

COVID-19 Policy Updates


  • Certified Child Care Providers
  • Early Learning Resource Centers
  • Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) Staff


Tracey Campanini,
Deputy Secretary, Office of Child Development & Early Learning

Issue Date: Aug. 31, 2021
Effective Date: Sept. 7, 2021
End Date: Dec. 10, 2021 (Obsolete)


To communicate the release of an Order of the Acting Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health Directing Face Coverings in School Entities (Order) and expectations for compliance by certified child care facilities as well as provide clarification of ongoing reporting requirements related to COVID-19. The Order applies to all child care providers licensed by the Department of Human

NOTE: This announcement replaces Announcement C-21-04: Best Practices for Child Care Facilities Operating During the Novel Coronavirus in its entirety.


COVID-19 continues to impact Pennsylvania, including a new variant, B.1.617.2 (Delta). To support the safe return of children to school, early learning settings and child care, on Aug. 30, 2021, the Acting Secretary of Health issued an Order for all individuals 2 years and older in school entities to wear a face covering while indoors in a school entity. The definition of “school entity” in the Order includes all child care providers licensed by the Department of Human Services.


The COVID-19 virus continues to impact Pennsylvania, with COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths on a sharp rise. Despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendation that all K-12 schools, child care and other early learning settings should require masks, many entities are not following the CDC’s recommendations. There is evidence that indicates community masking is effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Further, research supports that mask wearing has no significant adverse health effects for wearers. More information on the effectiveness of mask wearing, including citations and published research, can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

The Acting Secretary of Health’s Order will be effective Sept. 7, 2021. School entities should comply with the Order on or before that date. Effective Sept. 7, 2021, child care certification representatives (reps) conducting inspections or complaint investigations will cite child care facilities operating out of compliance with the Order. The citations for non-compliance with the Order will be issued under 55 Pa. Code §3270.143270.21§3280.143280.20, and §3290.18, all pertaining to compliance with “pertinent laws and regulations” and “general health and safety.”

COVID-19 has been identified by the Department of Health as a communicable disease. Child care programs are required to report positive COVID-19 cases utilizing the DHS Licensed Facility COVID Data Tool and reporting to child care certification staff and informing parents of suspected outbreaks.

Certification reps will continue to cite programs for failure to report cases of COVID-19. To assist child care providers with continued compliance with these requirements, OCDEL has provided an Appendix A:  COVID-19 Certification Requirements: OCDEL Guidance Chart. The chart outlines the areas of compliance, legal citation, and regulatory language.

Next Steps

Child care providers must:

  1. Read this Announcement and share with appropriate staff.
  2. Stay up-to-date on the most recent CDC Guidance for Operating Child Care.
  3. Access additional COVID-19 resources for child care programs in Pennsylvania (pakeys.org/covid-19) on the Pennsylvania Key website.
  4. Direct all questions and comments to your Regional Child Development (Certification) Office.
    • Central (Harrisburg) -1- 800-222-2117
    • Northeast (Scranton) – 1-800-222-2108
    • Southeast (North & South) – 1-800-346-2929
    • Western – 1-800-222-2149


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