For childcare centers

Childcare centers and day camps serve a vitally important function in allowing parents to continue or go back to work, which has significant public health and social benefits. The following guidelines are based on taken from recommendations from Centers for Disease Control and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services-Section for Child Care Regulation.

General Guidance

Have a plan in place to protect staff, children and their families from the spread of COVID-19. This includes the following:

  • Develop plans to cover classes in the event of increased staff absences.
  • Put systems in place for staff and families to self-report to your child care program if a staff member, child or household member has symptoms of COVID-19, tests positive for COVID-19, or was exposed to someone with COVID-19.
  • Child care program should notify the Springfield-Greene County Health Department of any case of COVID-19 among children, staff or other individuals who were in the child care facility. Health department staff will help provide guidance on next steps.

Health Guidance

Employers and Employees

  • Staff should stay home if they are sick, have tested positive for COVID-19 or are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or if they have recently had close contact (within 6 feet for a cumulative total of fifteen minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with a person with COVID-19. Individuals who are fully vaccinated and are identified as a close contact are not required to quarantine, provided they remain asymptomatic.
  • Conduct daily health screening for staff and children. Examples of health screenings include self-checks for symptoms by staff and families before arriving at the child care facility, answering screening questions upon arrival, and performing daily temperature checks.
  • Vaccination for all eligible staff should be strongly encouraged.
  • Continued use of face masks is recommended for all child care providers and staff members, per CDC guidance. At a minimum, it is recommended all unvaccinated individuals be masked at all times.
  • Enforce handwashing strategies that include:
    • washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially at arrival to the facility,
    • before and after preparing food and drinks,
    • before and after eating or handling food,
    • before and after diapering,
    • after using the bathroom or helping a child used the bathroom,
    • after coming in contact with bodily fluid, after playing outdoors.

Exclusion of Sick Children and Staff

  • Communicate to parents the importance of keeping children home when they are sick, have tested positive for COVID-19 or are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or have recently had close contact (within 6 feet for a cumulative total of fifteen minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with a person with COVID-19.
  • Communicate to staff the importance of being vigilant for symptoms in children and staying in touch with the center director if or when a child starts showing symptoms of illness.
  • Establish procedures to ensure children and staff who come to the childcare center sick or become sick while at the facility are sent home as soon as possible.
  • Keep sick children and staff separate from well children and staff until they can be sent home.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces in the area after the sick child or staff member has gone home.
  • Follow exclusion guidelines from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Section for Child Care Regulation.

Parent Drop-off and Pick-up and Screening of Children and staff

  • Children should wash hands as soon as they enter the center. If a sink with soap and water is not available, provide hand sanitizer with at least 70% alcohol.
  • Consider staggering arrival and drop-off times and plan to limit direct contact with parents as much as possible.
  • Consider using curbside drop-off and pick-up.
  • Keep daily attendance logs of times children dropped off/picked up and by whom.
  • Conduct daily health screening for staff and children. Examples of health screenings include self-checks for symptoms by staff and families before arriving at the child care facility, answering screening questions upon arrival, and performing daily temperature checks.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Guidance

  • Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched, including the following:
    • toys/games,
    • doorknobs,
    • light switches,
    • sink handles,
    • countertops,
    • desks,
    • chairs,
    • cubbies,
    • playground structures, etc.
  • Use the cleaners typically used at your facility. Use all cleaning products according to the directions on the label and per licensing guidelines. All cleaning materials should be kept secure and out of reach of children.
  • Toys that cannot be cleaned and disinfected should not be used.
  • Toys that children have placed in their mouths or that are otherwise contaminated by body fluids should be set aside until they are cleaned by hand by a person wearing gloves. Clean with water and detergent, rinse, disinfect with an EPA-registered product, allow to air-dry, rinse again, and air-dry.
  • Machine washable cloth toys should be used by one child at a time or should not be used at all. These toys should be laundered before being used by another child.
  • Use bedding (sheets, pillows, blankets) that can be washed. Keep each child’s bedding separate, and consider storing in individually labeled bins, cubbies or bags. Cots and mats should be labeled for each child. Bedding that touches a child’s skin should be cleaned weekly or before use by another child.
  • Ensure adequate supplies (soap, paper towels, hand sanitizer, tissue) to support healthy hygiene practices.

Physical Distancing Guidance

  • To the extent possible, child care/day camp classes should be carried out in stable groups of people (“stable” means that the same children are in the same group each day); children should not change from one group to another and the same provider should remain with the same group each day. All staff/ child ratios and group sizes required by licensing rules are still in place and must be complied with.
  • Keep each group of children in a separate room.
  • Limit the mixing of children, such a staggering playground times and keeping groups separate for special activities such as art, music and exercising.
  • If possible, at nap times, ensure that children’s naptime cots (or cribs) are spaced out as much as possible, at least 6 feet apart.
  • Serve meals in classrooms instead. If meals are typically served family-style, plate each child’s meal to serve it so that multiple children are not using the same serving utensils.
  • Limit any nonessential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving external groups or organizations.

Please contact the Springfield-Greene County Health Department 417-864-1409 for further guidance.