Child Care Providers Operating in Red and Yellow Counties in the Governor’s Phased-in Approach to Reopen Business

Child care centers and group child care homes operating in non-residential buildings located in counties identified as “Red” in the Governor’s Phased-In Approach to Reopen Business may reopen under a waiver if they are providing services for families who work in life sustaining businesses.

Child care programs seeking a waiver should complete the Exemption of Directive to Temporary Close form (PDF) and email it to OCDEL (RA-PWDRACERT@PA.GOV) with the subject line “Waiver Request – (Insert County Name).

As counties are designated “Yellow” in the Governor’s Phased-In Approach to Reopen Business, they may choose to reopen without a waiver. OCDEL has prepared a webinar to review considerations and guidance on reopening. Child care providers preparing to open should continue to consult guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for child care that remains open. This guidance speaks to steps providers should take to keep child care spaces safe and properly monitor staff and children for potential exposure to and symptoms of COVID-19.

Currently, many stakeholders are looking for the Department of Health or Department of Human Services to issue guidance specific to Pennsylvania Child Care. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the most current and update information relating to COVID-19. As the CDC learns more about the virus, this guidance is routinely updated. As we continue to operate under the Red and Yellow Phases of reopening, this is the trusted source of information we are directing all providers to review.

Next Steps

  1. Familiarize yourself with the CDC’s Guidance for Child Care Programs that Remain Open.
    [This is the most current guidance as of May 12, 2020.]
  2. Watch the Child Care During COVID-19 and Reopening Child Care video on YouTube (youtu.be/3odfamNsvis);
    [This recording from May 6, 2020 features OCDEL Deputy Secretary, Tracey Campanini and Bureau of Certification Director, Tanya Vasquez on YouTube. The accompanying slide deck (PDF) is also available.]
  3. Watch the Group Child Care Centers That Remain Open on YouTube (youtu.be/qkQHMphWKlU);
    [This webcast from April 29, 2020 was developed by the Pennsylvania Key to support group child care centers’ understanding of the CDC guidance. The accompanying slide deck  (PDF) is also available.]
  4. Watch the Family Child Care Centers That Remain Open on YouTube (youtu.be/av8iUzDqNbo);
    [This webcast from April 29, 2020 was developed by the Pennsylvania Key to support family child care centers’ understanding of the CDC guidance. The accompanying slide deck (PDF) is also available.]
  5. Conduct a self-assessment to ascertain your comfort and preparedness to open while remaining compliant with Pennsylvania Child Care Certification Regulations and follow CDC guidance;
  6. Communicate with families to ascertain both their need for child care and their understanding of any new operating procedures;
  7. Contact your OCDEL Certification Representative with any questions or concerns; and/or
  8. Notify OCDEL’s Bureau of Certification Services if you decide to remain closed either temporarily or permanently

On-Going Considerations

Information about COVID-19 is developing rapidly and the CDC guidance is frequently updated. OCDEL continues to evaluate the guidance, as well as feedback from programs who continue to operate, and update policies as needed.

All programs should: