Guidance for Operating Child Care Programs Through COVID-19

Guidance for COVID-19 as of January 2022

Onondaga County Health Department

General Guide Lines:

1. You are required to report to the local Department of Health, any positive COVID cases for:

  • children attending your program
  • any staff or volunteers working in the program
  • in-home child care providers must report any positive cases of household members living in the daycare home
  • send questions through the Onondaga DOH portal to ask about quarantine or isolation orders for parents or other family members of the child testing positive; you are NOT required to report parent cases to OCFS or DOH at this time
  • children without positive results or symptoms and not part of a quarantine or isolation order, may still be able to attend the program.  However, you can develop policies and procedures outside of the NYS requirements (i.e. request testing results submitted prior to attending, etc.)

Note:

*** IF parents test positive, they should not be coming inside your program - you may wish to implement "non-contact" drop off and pick up of children 

***IF the children are required to quarantine or isolate with the parent or family member, they cannot attend your program.

2. Using the Spreadsheet below, enter the information about the case involving your child care program. 

  • Include in the information: the length of exposure from the positive child, staff, or household member (FDC/GFDC only), and whether staff in the program are vaccinated or not when listing them on the spreadsheet.

3. Send the spreadsheet, and any questions you have, through the dedicated child care portal listed below for the Onondaga County Health Dept. for child care:

https://covid19.ongov.net/covid-19-childcare-submission/

4. CALL your Licensor or Registration Office to report the positive COVID case.

  • Unless after hours, speak with a "live person" to make your report, rather than leaving a voicemail message or sending an email.
  • IF after hours, leave a message or send an email to your Licensor or Registrar and then CALL to speak to a "live person" the morning of the next business day 
  • You will be asked to provide the date of the last day of care, or last day of work for the positive staff member, the classroom, group, or attendance information related to the exposure.

5. Staff from Child Care Solutions or the NYS OCFS Syracuse Regional Office are available to assist you.  Our Health Care Consultant is also available to answer your questions and to assist you. 

Click here for the SpreadSheet and Save it to your desktop and it will automatically open.

Guidance for Operating an Early Child Care Program under COVID regulations:

1. Promoting Vaccination: People 12 years and older are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. Even though most programs serve children under this age, promoting vaccination for their families, your staff and everyone who comes in contact with your staff is essential. 

2. Consistent and Correct Mask Use: While indoors, mask use is recommended for people who are not full vaccinated, including children and staff. Children under 2 years of age should not wear a mask. While outdoors, people do not need to wear a mask but in areas of substantial high risk, the CDC recommends that people age 2 and older who are not fully vaccinated wear a mask especially if it is crowded. 

3. Physical Distancing and Cohorting: Maintaing physical distance is often not possible in Child Care settings, especially during certain activities but when it is possble to maintain physical distance, it is important to layer multiple prevention stategies, such as cohorting, masking indoors, improved ventilation, handwashing, covering coughs, and sneezes, and regular cleaning to help reduce transmission risk. 

4. Staying Home When Sick and Getting Tested: Any children and staff who have symptoms of infectious illnes should stay home and be referred to their healthcare provider for testing and care. Staying home when sick with COVID-19 is essential to keep COVID-19 infections out of prgrams and prevent spread to others.

5. Contact Tracing in Combination with Isolation and Quarantine: Child Care Programs should continue to communicate with state and local health departments to provide information about people diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19. This allows identfying which children and staff with positive COVID-19 test results should isolate, and which close contacts should quarantine.

To learn more about all these topics as well as cleaning and disinfecting, ventilation, handwashing and respiratory etiquette, and other additional considerations for Child Care Programs, please visit: CDC Website.