Friday, March 31, 2023

Coronavirus: Here are the state guidelines for childcare providers

school, home school, child, pencil

The Virginia Department of Social Services has created guidelines for childcare providers to stop the coronavirus (COVID 19) from spreading.

But what do these guidelines mean for childcare providers?

Dr. Duke Storen, state commissioner for the department of social services, sent a letter to childcare providers, asking centers to adapt their services using social distancing measures, such as limiting 10 people including staff members to a room and even suggesting the centers encourage families to care for their own children, if possible.

Storen wrote childcare should only remain open if they can follow the guidelines and providers who close must notify the VDSS licensing inspector.

If there is a positive case of the coronavirus in your facility, notify the Virginia Department of Health and the VDSS licensing inspector immediately.

“We will provide ongoing communication as new information becomes available,” Storen wrote. “On behalf of the entire Commonwealth, thank you again for your efforts and diligence to serve our communities and protect those in your care during these unprecedented times.”

Other guidelines from the VDSS are:

  • Encourage your staff and community members to protect their personal health.
  • Educate your child care community and staff of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Ensure students are eating meals in the classroom.
  • Require employees to stay home when sick and send home anyone who becomes sick.
  • Limit facility events or gatherings (<10 people) that require close contact and stagger entrances and exits to limit contact.
  • Have staff and children wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Alter programming to increase distance between children, such as allowing only one classroom of children outside at a time.
  • Conduct regular health checks of staff and children to look for symptoms of sickness or fever. Separate symptomatic individuals until they are picked up from the facility.
    Serve meals in the classroom.

For providers part of Virginia’s Child Care Subsidy Program, the following guidelines have changed:

  • School-age children currently designated for part-day care will be eligible for full-day care.
  • The number of paid absence days will increase from 36 days to 76 days for level 2 (licensed). The same number will also be available to Level 1 (unlicensed) providers.
  • Families due for eligibility re-determination in the near term, will have their eligibility automatically extended for two months.
  • The requirement for a face-to-face interview for initial eligibility will be temporarily suspended.
  • Procedures for receipt of manual attendance will be streamlined to make it easier for providers to submit attendance.

Parents who need child care, call 866-KIDS-TLC or email for assistance with locating open child care programs.

For updates, visit the VDSS’s child care website. For more information about childcare settings and precautions, visit Virginia Department of Health or the Centers for Disease Control websites.

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