Information for parents: returning to childcare amid COVID-19

Series: Coronavirus | Story 112

Last updated 6/5/2020 at 10:32am

Some child care centers have remained open so that essential workers and health care workers can go to work. With summer coming, the Washington State Department of Health has just updated guidance on how child cares, summer day camps, and youth programs can operate safely during the COVID-19 epidemic.

This guidance does not address overnight camps, youth sports and athletics, or activities included as part of K-12 basic education or special education programs. A

n important part of operating a safe child care facility is serving fewer kids than might have been served before COVID-19. The more people interact with others from outside their own household, the closer that interaction, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spreading.

Families who are still able to keep their children and youth home should continue to do so. This won’t be possible for everyone, especially as more and more businesses reopen.

If your kids do go to child care, make sure to send them only to programs in your local geographic area. When you drop your child off at child care, you will need to take their temperature, either at home or onsite.

You will also be asked if your child has experienced any of the following symptoms:

• Cough

• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

• A fever of 100.4° F or higher or a sense of having a fever

• Sore throat

• Chills

• New loss of taste or smell

• Muscle or body aches

• Nausea/vomiting/diarrhea

• Congestion/running nose — not related to seasonal allergies

• Unusual fatigue

You will also be asked if anyone in your household has experienced any of the above symptoms, if your child has been in close contact with anyone suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 and if your child has used any medication to reduce a fever before arriving.

If your child does get sick, he or she will need to stay home. Your child can return to child care in 10 days as long as their fever has been gone for at least 72 hours by that time and their other symptoms have all improved.

If your child has had close contact with someone with COVID-19, but they are not sick, keep them home and watch their health for signs of fever, cough, shortness of breath, and other COVID-19 symptoms during the 14 days after the last day they were in close contact with the sick person with COVID-19. They should not go to child care or other public places for 14 days.


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