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State issues FAQ guide for families with children returning to childcare facilities in 'yellow' and 'green' counties

The guide provides the most up-to-date information for families who need childcare during the COVID-19 outbreak
Pennsylvania State Capitol (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania)

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services issued guidelines Tuesady for families in need of childcare and parents with children who will be returning to a childcare facility in counties moving into the yellow or green phases of COVID-19 mitigation.

The Department's Frequently Asked Questions guide is an addition to previously released guidance to child care providers in counties that have moved to the yellow phase, Secretary Teresa Miller said in a press release.

“As parents return to work and child care opens more broadly, there is likely some anxiety about broadening their children’s social circles," Miller said. "We want to be sure that we are providing the most up-to-date information for families who need child care during this health crisis.

“We know that essential workers and parents whose offices are reopening still need to have a safe place for their children to go while they are at work, and we are committed to helping parents and reopening child care providers navigate this new normal.”

All child care facilities that reopen must closely follow CDC guidelines for child care centers, DHS said. Essential workers who need child care can find approved options here for counties still in the red phase. 

For those counties still in the red phase, all child care facilities operating outside a residence are required to submit a waiver to DHS’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning if they intend to remain open, according DHS.

Workers who need child care in yellow and green-phase areas can find child care options here: www.findchildcare.pa.gov. Child care facilities in this phase are able to, at their discretion, open without a waiver. 

Families who need assistance paying for child care can apply for Child Care Works, Pennsylvania’s subsidized child care program at www.compass.state.pa.us or by contacting the Early Learning Resource Centers that serves their community at www.raiseyourstar.org.

All child care staff, regardless if they are in a red, yellow, or green-phase county, are required to wear masks, DHS said. Children and youth do not need to wear cloth face coverings in child care, youth programs, or camps. Face coverings for children are still recommended by the CDC when feasible, especially for older youth, particularly in indoor or crowded locations. 

Children will be screened during drop off, which may require having their temperature taken to ensure they are not exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 before entering the facility. Parents will be notified and advised to seek medical attention should a positive COVID-19 case be confirmed at a child care facility.

Parents who are concerned about the health and safety of their child while in care or whether their child care is following CDC guidelines can contact OCDEL’s Child Care Certification Regional Office in their community to report concerns.

Source: Department of Human Services