COVID-19 Guidance for Child Care Facilities
Updated May 17, 2021
The following guidance is provided to assist child care programs respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The
COVID-19 emergency is rapidly evolving. It is important to check the links in this document and on the
resources pages frequently for updated information as well as updates to this document. For topics not
addressed in this document, providers should refer to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Isolation is used to separate people infected with the virus (those who are sick with COVID-19 and those
with no symptoms) from people who are not infected. People who are in isolation should stay home
until it is safe for them to be around others. In the home, anyone sick or infected should separate
themselves from others by staying in a separate “sick room” or area and using a separate bathroom (if
Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others.
Quarantine helps prevent spread of the disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if
they are infected by the virus without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home,
separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local
Close contact relates to exposure to individuals with COVID-19 and is defined by the CDC as being within
6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24 hour period,
regardless of whether face coverings are being worn.
For the purposes of this guidance, COVID-19 symptoms are any ONE of the following:
fever of 100.4 or higher, sore throat, cough, difficulty breathing, diarrhea or vomiting, new onset of severe headache (especially with fever), or new loss of taste or smell. For persons with chronic conditions such as asthma, the symptoms should represent a change from baseline.
A probable case of COVID-19 is a person with COVID-19 symptoms who has had close contact with a
person with COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
The infectious period for COVID-19 starts 2 days before the onset of COVID-19 symptoms (or 2 days
before the date of the positive COVID-19 test if asymptomatic), and typically ends 10 days after
symptom onset/test date.
Cohorting (or podding) is one of many mitigation strategies that child care programs can use to limit
mixing between children and staff and to limit the spread of COVID-19. A cohort or pod is a distinct
group of children and staff that stays together throughout the entire day and remains the same every
day, so that there is minimal or no interaction between groups. In a child care center, a cohort would
typically be a classroom. In most cases, a family child care home would be considered its own cohort.