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Reopen Guidance for Child Care Providers During COVID-19

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) continues to prepare to support for providers in counties that will transition to the yellow phase and our expectations for this phased reopening.

Even as we prepare to restart certain operations in the 24 counties that will move to yellow on Friday, May 8, 2020, we must remember this is not a return to normal life. This is just the beginning, and the dangers of the pandemic are still very real. We must all still do all we can to prevent spread of COVID-19 to avoid these counties going back under a stay at home order.

When a county moves to the yellow phase, child care providers are permitted 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 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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guidance for Child Care Programs that Remain Open. This is the most current guidance as of May 7, 2020.

2. Watch Child Care During COVID-19 and Reopening Child Care with OCDEL Deputy Secretary, Tracey Campanini and Bureau of Certification Director, Tanya Vasquez

a. Recording May 6, 2020 (YouTube)

b. Slide Deck (PDF)

3.Watch the Pennsylvania Key developed webcasts to support your understanding of the CDC guidance

a. Group Child Care Centers That Remain Open from PA’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL)

i.   WEBINAR from Wednesday, April 29, 2020 (YouTube)

ii.  Slide Deck (PDF)

b. Family Child Care Centers That Remain Open from PA’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL)

i. WEBINAR from Wednesday, April 29, 2020 (YouTube)

ii. Slide Deck (PDF)

4. Conduct a self-assessment to ascertain your comfort and preparedness to open while remaining compliant with PA Child Care Certification Regulations and follow CDC guidance

5.  Communicate with families to ascertain both their need for child care and their understanding of any new operating procedures you will be adopting

6. Discuss any concerns with your Certification Representative

7. Notify Certification if you decide to remain closed either temporarily or permanently


On-going Considerations

What we know about COVID-19 is developing rapidly and the CDC guidance is updated accordingly. OCDEL will continue to evaluate the guidance, as well as feedback from programs who continue to operate, and will update policies as needed to be as responsive as possible. All programs should:

  1. Continue to monitor the Certification listserv for additional information from OCDEL
  2. Continue to monitor the Pennsylvania Key Coronavirus page for additional webinars
  3. Continue to submit your health-related questions to hssco@pakeys.org
  4. Continue to communicate with your Certification Representative


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