The FAQs listed below reflect the amendment to guidelines issued January 12, 2021.
Q: How is ELD communicating with licensed providers?
With the coronavirus situation developing quickly, ELD has been sending regular communication by email to licensed providers and posting the letters to the COVID-19 page. Providers should check their spam folder to make sure they are receiving these updates. If a provider has questions regarding regulations and licensing, please call 1-800-556-6616. Providers can also submit questions by emailing ProviderContact@state.or.us. ELD wants to support providers in receiving up-to-date information as quickly as possible. If you have not previously provided an email, please send your licensing specialist the best email address to contact you.
Q: How is ELD working with Oregon Health Authority (OHA), Local Public Health Authority, and other agencies when there are COVID-19 cases in child care?
With the participation of OHA and other agencies, ELD has developed a “Playbook” that guides agencies on how to work together to respond when COVID-19 cases occur in child care. The Playbook describes the roles and responsibilities of each agency that should be involved in stabilizing an outbreak. Other business sectors have similar plans in place. You can find the Playbook here: https://www.oregon.gov/oha/covid19/Pages/Healthcare-Partners.aspx
Q: With the Governor’s travel advisory strongly encouraging quarantine for 14 days after travel, what is my responsibility as a child care provider?
The Governor’s advisory is for the protection and health of Oregonians. With the Governor’s executive order issued on November 13, 2020, child care providers must continue to follow the Early Learning Division’s Health & Safety Guidelines for Child Care and Early Education Operating During COVID-19. The decision on whether to enforce a travel quarantine with your families is a business decision. When making this decision, the ELD encourages you to have clear and open communication with your families. Let them know ahead of time what your policies are regarding enforcement of the travel quarantine, as families may still travel for the upcoming holidays. When working with your families, we suggest:
- Making families and staff aware of the advisory if they are planning to travel
- Supporting the 14-day travel quarantine by communicating about it with your families and staff
- If you are unsure of family travel plans, consider incorporating a question about travel into your daily health check
We know that you will put the health and safety of your child care families, staff, and your own family at the forefront of your decision making, and encourage it.
More resources about holiday celebrations are available on the Oregon Health Authority website.
Q: Do COVID-19 guidelines apply to Regulated Subsidy providers operating within public schools?
Yes. If a program is located in a public school, regardless of who operates it, the guidelines apply.
Q: Are 5-year-olds in a blended learning community of 3- to 5-year-olds under ELD guidelines or ODE’s “Ready Schools, Safe Learners”?
As kindergarten is not required in Oregon (i.e., it is not mandatory to attend), any licensed or recorded child care setting serving kindergarten-age children should follow ELD’s guidelines.
Q: Can pre-kindergarten programs under schools open?
All school age and pre-kindergarten programs operated by schools must follow ELD guidelines. However, they are not required to be approved through the Emergency Child Care (ECC) process. If the school contracts with an outside group (e.g., Champions, YMCA), then it must be ECC approved.
Q: Do the ELD guidelines apply to Preschool Promise programs?
Yes, these guidelines apply to Preschool Promise and Baby Promise programs.
Q: How will the new (K-12) metrics be taken into account for licensed child care?
The K-12 metrics do not apply to child care unless there is a school classroom, such as a kindergarten class.
Q: When are programs required to be in compliance with ELD Guidelines issued on August 14?
The guidelines are effective September 1, 2020.
Q: Will we receive a new Emergency Child Care (ECC) license with the new group sizes?
In most cases, the Office of Child Care did not issue “licenses” with the reduced capacity unless there were special conditions attached to Emergency Child Care (ECC) approval. If a program has a license or certificate that needs adjusting, please contact your licensing specialist.
Q: Why are in-person trainings still not allowed with face coverings if child care is allowed with face coverings?
Oregonians are being asked to do the best we can to minimize spread of COVID-19. While we appreciate the desire to attend trainings in-person, staff trainings are not foundational to parents being able to support their families by working and children needing care.
Q: Is ELD advocating for state funding to provide additional financial support for early childhood educators?
ELD has proposed multiple funding ideas since the start of the pandemic, when federal funding was also made available. All ideas or plans must be approved through several entities, up to the Governor’s office. The Governor’s Office is where most funding decisions are made.
Q: What is the responsibility of the provider to ensure school-aged children attend school?
Child care providers do not have a regulatory requirement to ensure children are completing their distance learning. They are not required to provide computers or internet access. This should be agreed upon with parents ahead of time so there is a common understanding.
Q: Are publicly funded programs such as Preschool Promise, Oregon Pre-Kindergarten, and Relief Nurseries required to close?
These programs should be closed unless they are providing Emergency Child Care. Click here to learn more and apply.
Q: Can a licensed provider who has NOT applied and been approved by Office of Child Care (OCC) to conduct Emergency Child Care (ECC) operate instead as a license-exempt provider and care for three or fewer children?
No, licensed providers must follow Executive Order 20-12 and Executive Order 20-19. Oregon Governor’s Executive Order 20-19 issued on April 23, 2020, maintains that all licensed child care facilities are required to close unless approved to provide Emergency Child Care by OCC. The order remains in effect until lifted by the Governor.
There is not an option to continue child care services as an exempt provider unless the provider asks OCC to close the license.
Q: When can I reopen my child care facility for normal business?
“Normal” child care operations are not permitted at this time. Only programs approved to operate Emergency Child Care (ECC) by the Office of Child Care and adhere to the “Health and Safety Guidelines for Child Care and Early Education Operating During COVID-19,” issued on August 14, 2020, are open.
Providers can visit https://oregonearlylearning.com/COVID-19-Resources/Emergency-Child-Care to apply to become an approved ECC provider.
Q: Is it safe for me to provide child care?
COVID-19 is in the community. We all need to take the same basic steps to protect ourselves and our families from becoming ill.
The best way to protect yourself is to wash your hands regularly and, to the extent possible, limit close contact with others, including children. Cleaning hands with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand sanitizer after close contact with kids or others is a good strategy to prevent infection. If children you are caring for develop COVID-like symptoms, they should be separated from others in the child care setting and be sent home. Transmission of the virus is most likely to occur two days before symptoms occur and while people are symptomatic.
Q: It is possible to be infected with COVID-19 and have no symptoms. Does this mean I should require all staff and children to take a COVID-19 test before entering the program?
No, we do not recommend requiring all staff and children to be tested for COVID-19 unless they have symptoms or have been exposed. Daily health checks, which should include questions regarding exposure to other individuals with COVID-19, should be sufficient.
Q: What supports are available to me to provide Emergency Child Care?
ELD has been able to provide emergency supplies to providers operating as Emergency Child Care. Emergency Child Care providers can receive a free order of supplies (gloves, face coverings, disinfecting wipes, etc.) by applying through the state’s website. See the “Emergency Supplies for Providers” tab to learn more.
In addition, providers who are not an Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) listed provider can contact the Department of Human Services. ERDC assistance is available to all families at or below 85% of State Median Income during this time. For more information on this change, contact the Direct Payment Unit at DHS at 1-800-699-9074.
Q: What if my Emergency Child Care facility has to close?
Please reach out to your licensing specialist to notify them of closure. Contact your local Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) by calling 1-800-342-6712. If your facility must close due to COVID outbreak, you must also immediately notify your local public health department.
Q: I’m currently out of work and willing to be a substitute caregiver in Emergency Child Care. How can I get involved?
If you are currently not working in child care, but are willing to serve your community during this time, you can apply to be a substitute. The ELD will work closely to match you with a provider, setting, and schedule that most aligns with your preferences. The program or individual you are matched with will be responsible for paying you.
Q: Is there any way to enroll in the Central Background Registry (CBR) more quickly?
The Office of Child Care (OCC) established an emergency background check process for those not already enrolled in the CBR. Applicants will be subject to LEDS (Law Enforcement Data System) check for Oregon criminal and sex offender registry, Child and Protective Services check for child abuse, National Sex Offender Registry Public website check, and run against the CBR. To start this process, fill out and submit this form: https://oregonearlylearning.com/form_sets/emergency-background-check-application/ .
Passing an emergency background check does NOT enroll you in the CBR. Individuals who only have an emergency background check are not permitted unsupervised access to children. To get full enrollment in the CBR, you must submit a paper CBR application to the Office of Child Care.
Please see above section “COVID-19 Vaccine” for FAQs and resources.
|Applying to Be Emergency Child Care
Q: Who can apply for Emergency Child Care?
All licensed child care providers and recorded preschool and school-age programs may apply to operate as Emergency Child Care, and are required to be approved in order to operate.. Temporary child care facilities (“pop-ups”) may only apply to operate Emergency Child Care if they can demonstrate a community need.
Q: Can I still submit an application to operate Emergency Child Care?
Yes, providers can submit an application to operate as an Emergency Child Care, which requires following the “Health and Safety Guidelines for Child Care and Early Education Operating in COVID-19” issued by the ELD on August 14, 2020 and “Amendment to Health and Safety Guidelines” version 1.1 issued by the ELD January 2021.
You will need to remain closed until approved. Applications are being processing within a few days.
Q: I need assistance with the Emergency Child Care site application. Who can I contact?
If you have questions or need assistance with the application, contact your licensing specialist, call 1-800-556-6616, or email ProviderContact@state.or.us.
Q: What if I don't have access to a computer, printer, or scanner for filling out and submitting the Emergency Child Care facility application?
Please contact your licensing specialist for assistance. They can help you troubleshoot. Your licensing specialist may opt to mail you a form with return postage or assist you by filling out the form over the phone.
Q: How long will Emergency Child Care last?
We don’t know. The requirements for Emergency Child Care may change as guidance from Oregon Health Authority and Governor changes. The ELD will continue to send regular communication by email to licensed providers and will post information on the ELD website. Throughout this state of emergency, ELD is committed to supporting child care providers while also increasing the availability of healthy and safe care for children.
|Operating Emergency Child Care
Q: Can I tell parents or caregivers they are not allowed in the center and they must drop-off and pick-up at the door?
Guidelines require that parents or caregivers drop-off and pick-up children from program staff outside the facility.
All providers have the option to conduct drop-off and pick-up inside the program if there is inclement weather (hail, lightning, strong winds, sleet, snow, ice, freezing rain, or temperature 32° Fahrenheit and below.) Follow all procedures in the “Amendment to Health and Safety Guidelines” Version 1.1 here: https://oregonearlylearning.com/form_sets/amendment-to-health-and-safety-guidelines/
Registered Family (RF) and Certified Family (CF) providers only: When only one staff member is on site, parents or caregivers are allowed to enter but must wait for previous family to exit the home before entering. See https://oregonearlylearning.com/form_sets/health-and-safety-guidelines-for-child-care-and-early-education-operating-during-covid-19/ for more information.
Parents must always be permitted entry if they have health or safety concerns.
Q: With inclement weather, are there any considerations for drop-off and pick-up?
All providers have the option to conduct drop-off and pick-up inside the facility if inclement weather conditions exist (hail, lightning, strong winds, sleet, snow, ice, freezing rain, or temperatures 32° Fahrenheit and below). However, you must follow the requirements below:
- Every parent/adult entering the facility must wear a face covering.
- Every parent/adult must practice social distancing (6 feet apart) with everyone except the child, and remain in the main entry area of the facility.
- Do not use fans, which can spread the virus, in the drop-off and pick-up area.
- Programs must follow all of the other requirements in the “Drop-Off and Pick-Up” section of the “Amendment to Health and Safety Guidelines” Version 1.1 and the “Health and Safety Guidelines for Child Care and Early Education Operating During COVID-19.”
Q: Are parents ever allowed to come inside?
If a parent has concerns for their child’s safety, they are allowed to enter. Additionally, for RF and CF if there is only one staff person working, drop-off and pick-up may occur inside the home. All providers have the option to conduct drop-off and pick-up inside the program if there is inclement weather. Parents who are breastfeeding, or need to take care of their child’s special feeding needs, may also come in for those purposes.
Q: If we need to have a technician, contractor, plumber, etc. enter our child care facility when children are present, is that allowed?
Yes. They must be logged on a visitor log. In addition, a health check must be completed, they must wear a face covering, and they are not allowed unsupervised access to children in care.
Q: What if a parent is late or comes in the middle of the day and no one is at the entrance to receive the child?
The best practice is for the program to set up a phone number for a parent to call and meet at the door.
Q: What happens if a center is too short-staffed to have program staff meet children at the door?
Programs need to plan ahead to have enough staff to meet this requirement.
Q: What if a parent refuses to wear a face covering at drop-off/pick-up?
Families should be informed of the requirements of operating during COVID-19. Providers should communicate directly with the parent, and address any barriers. Emergency Child Care may not be the best option for all families if they are unwilling to comply with safety measures meant to protect them and other families.
Q: Outdoor drop-off and pick-up for many centers is not possible due to hazards and busy streets. What accommodations are there to address this?
The guidelines around outdoor drop-off and pick-up are in place to minimize the possible spread of the disease and prevent it from entering the ventilation system. If you have a situation that is extraordinary, please consult with your licensing specialist.
Q: Do I have to take children and staff temperatures as they enter the facility?
Check for fever for all entering children and other individuals coming into contact with a stable group. Staff can ask for verbal certification from the parent, a child who is old enough to answer the questions, or note in the health log that it has already been verified through the school or other provider who cared for the child earlier in the day. Staff can also check using a thermometer. Providers may have a policy that requires the use of a thermometer.
Q: With cold temperatures upon us, taking temperature outdoors is producing inaccurate results. Do providers have other options?
Yes. Staff can ask for a verbal certification from the parent or can continue to check using a thermometer. Future updates to the Health and Safety Guidelines will reflect this option.
Q: If a parent prefers an alternate temperature-taking device than what the program uses, can the temperature be taken by the parent once they arrive?
Yes. Staff can ask for verbal certification from the parent or can continue to check using a thermometer.
Q: How do you classify a “cough” and when does it require exclusion?
Guidelines require providers to perform a daily health check on each child upon arrival and send home a child who has symptoms of “being ill with fever, unusual cough, or shortness of breath.” Unusual cough means out of the ordinary for this person (e.g., not usual asthma or allergies).
Q: What if the adult dropping off doesn’t know if the child has been exposed to a known positive or presumptive case?
A facility must ensure that this question can be answered prior to allowing entry. This may require a phone call to another adult who acts as the primary caregiver of the child.
Q: What constitutes enough contact to require being logged for contact tracing purposes? The director who walks in but stays six feet away from all children and staff? The cook who drops off food?
“Close contact” for the purposes of contact tracing is defined as being within six feet for longer than 15 minutes combined over a 24-hour period.
If a person briefly enters the room and:
- Does not come within six feet of any staff or children OR,
- Is not present in the room for more than 15 minutes combined over a 24-hour period
They would not be considered as having contact with the stable group and do not need to be logged.
Q: Do household members need to be logged as in attendance?
As is always the case, providers’ children under age 13 must be on the attendance log if they are in the home. Other household members are assumed to be in the home and would be part of contact tracing.
Q: How do child care children and staff access testing?
Guidance from the Oregon Health Authority indicates child care children and staff can be prioritized for COVID-19 tests if supply is limited, and recommends testing for child care staff and children who have had exposure regardless of if they have symptoms. OHA also recommends that any person with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 be tested for COVID-19. Child care children and staff can also be tested at Oregon State Public Health Laboratory (OSPHL) if they have any of those symptoms. OSPHL may consider testing even if they are not showing any symptoms.
Q: What happens if a child has COVID-19 symptoms but the family cannot pay for a COVID-19 test? Where do we refer families?
If the family cannot afford a test because they don’t have insurance, they should apply for the Oregon Health Plan, which covers the cost of getting tested for COVID-19 if needed. For more information about OHP, go to www.OHP.Oregon.gov or call 1-800-699-9075 (TTY 711). The Oregon Health Plan (OHP) is open to all children and teens younger than 19, regardless of immigration status who meet income and other criteria. This includes Oregon children and teens with undocumented status or who are Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. Otherwise, the family can see a clinician through their county health clinic or a federally qualified health center (FQHC).
If the family does have health insurance, they should contact their health insurance provider to get more information on coverage for testing or visit the Services website.
Most health insurers in Oregon have agreed to waive co-pays, co-insurance and deductibles for:
- COVID-19 testing
- An in-network provider office visit or a visit to an in-network urgent care center to be tested for COVID-19
- An emergency room visit to be tested for COVID-19
- Immunization for COVID-19, should it become available
Regular terms of insurance such as co-payments, co-insurance and deductibles will still apply for other parts of a visit to a healthcare provider.
Q: How is the daily health check completed for children who arrive from school by bus (not provided by the program)?
If a child is coming to the child care from school or another provider and had a health check completed earlier that day, the child care can note in the health log that it had been verified by the other program.
Q: How do I learn more about COVID-19 symptoms and children? I'm hearing things about "COVID toes" or Kawasaki Syndrome-like symptoms.
The CDC provides regularly updated resources on how COVID-19 affects children. Per the CDC, children with COVID-19 generally have mild, cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported in some children. For more information on COVID-19 and children, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/pregnancy-breastfeeding.html.
Q: Is providing a copy of the ELD Guidelines to families sufficient for informing them of the requirements? Will providers be required to document that this information has been provided to families?
A facility may provide a copy of the ELD Guidelines to families in order to inform them but they must also supply specific information to their program. Programs will also be able to use their COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan to support this requirement. They can provide the specific program information as a printed copy, verbal explanation or by email. Documentation of meeting this requirement is not necessary, but OCC staff may request when or how the information was provided if there is a complaint. Simply posting the ELD guidelines does not meet the intent of informing families.
Q: What does it mean to provide information to families in a manner they can understand?
Facilities should provide the information in a family’s home language, and may utilize translated versions of the guidance available from OCC. For some families, verbal communication may be better than written. Guidance should be reviewed with families to support their understanding. Programs are also encouraged to use the translated resources provided by ELD and utilize the CCR&R for assistance.
Q: How does a program provide a space for breastfeeding if it is a small apartment with limited space?
Programs can create a barrier to offset the area (offer a seat in a dining room or clear a space in a bedroom). The intent of this requirement is to support breastfeeding parents while still limiting the number of outside people interacting with the stable group.
Q: What is the requirement for a stable group size?
Registered Family (RF) 16 children can be enrolled in a stable group with only 10 (or less, in the case of infants and in some family child care homes) in attendance or on site at the same time.
Certified Family (CF) 20 children in a stable group but only 16 (or less in the case of infants or some family child care homes) can be in attendance at the same time. Optionally, a CF provider may split children into two stable groups in different classrooms. No more than 10 children per group in attendance at the same time (still no more than 16 total children on site, or less in the case of some family child care homes) Each separated, stable group may have no more than 12 children enrolled.
Certified Centers (CC), Recorded Programs, and Schools – must meet the ratios in Table 1 below, unless licensed to operate under Table 2.
Table 1: Child Care Regulations, Ratio, and Group Size
|Age of Children
||Minimum Number of Caregivers to Children
||Maximum Number of Children in Group
|Six Weeks of Age and Under 30 Months
|24 Months of Age to 35 Months of Age
|36 Months of Age to Attending Kindergarten
|Attending Kindergarten and Older
||Phase 1 and Phase 2: 20
Table 2: Child Care Regulations, Ratio, and Group Size
|Age of Children
||Minimum Number of Caregivers to Children
||Maximum Number of Children in Group
|Six Weeks of Age through 23 Months
|30 Months of Age to Attending Kindergarten
|Attending Kindergarten and Older
||Phase 1 and Phase 2: 20
Q: Can I have my own children home together with the child care children while schools are closed?
If your children are under the age of 13, they count as child care children. They must be factored into your overall group size required by your license type.
Q: May I have two teachers or staff with a group of 10 kids even though it is not required by ratio?
Yes, you may have more staff/teachers than the minimum required by ratio to provide higher quality care. Staff should be assigned to stable groups.
Q: For Registered Family, how many kids can be in my stable group – also known as my “team,” from which I can have 10 kids on site at one time?
UPDATE: As of September 9, ELD changed this to a “team” group of 16 in Registered Family. The guidelines document will not be updated immediately, but will be edited to reflect this change in the next version.
Q: Can providers continue to allow children to share part-time slots?
Yes, the number of children who can share a part-time slot depends on the license type as well as the phase of the program’s county.
Q: Is there a limit to the number of groups allowed to share a large space (gym/cafeteria)? If allowed, what will the barrier need to look like for programs?
Gyms, cafeterias, and other similar very large spaces are limited to one group of 20 or split into two groups of 10. Those very large rooms cannot be split into multiple “classrooms” for multiple groups of 20. Barriers are required to be at least 4-feet high and must prevent children from touching one another. Please consult with your licensing specialist if you plan to split a large space into two groups of 10.
Q: Are we still allowing shared bathrooms, walkways, and entrances if space requires it in order to have more than one separate group?
Yes, if there are separate groups, they can continue to share bathrooms, walkways, and entrances as long as groups don’t mix and there is cleaning between uses.
Q: Can children be combined at the beginning and end of the day?
Only siblings can be combined at the end of the day because they are exposed to each other at home. Groups must otherwise remain stable and cannot be combined.
Q: If we know physical distancing helps prevent the spread of viruses, and we don't have conclusive scientific evidence regarding child transmission, why would we not make a requirement, or at the very least, recommend to encourage social distancing within a cohort?
The guidelines do require physical distancing when it is feasible, such as during drop-off and pick-up, and encourage it elsewhere, such as in the daily activities section, where it is recommended that programs have children work independently or outside when possible. With young children especially, physical distancing is not practical and, for developmental reasons, not always desirable. We attempt to strike the right balance within the guidelines.
Q: Does the square footage requirement include square footage for staff working in the room?
No, the square footage determines the number of children allowed in a space. Staff are not part of that calculation.
Q: What is the outdoor square footage requirement?
For Certified Center (CC) and Certified Family (CF), it is 75 square feet for the children using it at one time.
Q: Are we allowed to have more than one group outside at one time?
Yes, as long as the groups are separate, each group has their own space that meets the square footage requirements, and groups are supervised to ensure separation. A visual reminder, such as cones, is helpful for children.
Q: Once children return to school, they will have a stable group at school and a different stable group at child care. Is this allowed?
Yes, while it is not ideal that children are in multiple groups a day, it is not expected for child care to mimic the school’s stable groups.
Q. Are providers required to assign the same staff to groups as much as possible?
The same staff should be with the group of children daily, allowing for breaks and meal periods. If a staff person has to be out e.g. illness or vacation, the program must do its best to use staff who have already been exposed to that group of children.
Q: Are residents of a Registered Family (RF) / Certified Family (CF) home required to wear face coverings?
Any adult or child kindergarten age or older in the designated child care portion of the home during child care operation hours must wear a face covering.
Q: Are staff required to wear additional layers of clothes and add/remove them as we move between groups of children?
No. At one time this was a requirement. As we learn more about Covid-19, we are able to update the health and safety guidelines. This requirement has been eliminated.
Q: Can you specify the PPE requirements specifically for floating staff and non-floating staff?
All staff must wear face coverings. Floating staff may use the same face covering for multiple groups. Face coverings must be changed after a daily health check if the adult interacted with a sick child.
Q: Does everyone in an entire building/facility have to wear a face covering while child care children are in the building/facility or does the rule only apply to the child care space and shared space such as entrances, hallways, and food prep areas?
This should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. In a facility with multiple uses (e.g., church or school), only the child care areas require a face covering in accordance with the ELD guidelines. The remainder of the facility may have face covering requirements based on the Governor’s executive orders.
Q: Are children allowed to wear face shields?
While face masks and cloth face coverings are recommended, plastic face shields are not prohibited. Children two years and younger should not wear a face covering.
Q: Are outer layers changed between each child’s daily health check, or after all daily health checks are complete?
An additional outer layer of clothing is no longer a requirement in child care settings.
Q: Are there exceptions to wearing face coverings for adults and children experiencing medical conditions or disabilities? What would be required for documentation?
Adults and children can get an exception to the face covering requirement with a doctor’s or other medical or mental health professional’s noteiorder indicating that they have a medical condition or disability preventing them from using the face covering. The note does not have to specify the reason why they cannot wear a mask, but it must indicate that they are unable to do so.
Q. Is a new outer covering required every time a baby is fed?
No, this is no longer a requirement in child care settings.
Q: What if a child is very upset and refuses to wear a face covering? Do they need to be sent home?
The Office of Child Care suggests having parents support wearing face coverings at home prior to coming into care. Have conversations with the child to explain how wearing a face covering helps keep our friends safe. Parents could supply fun or silly masks and have them look at themselves in the mirror. Do the best you can to work with parents and help the child feel comfortable.
Q: Does the clean layer for feeding an infant apply only to bottle feeding?
This is no longer a requirement in child care settings.
Q: Are floaters required to change their face covering every time they enter a new room?
The guidelines do not require a change of face covering when you enter a new classroom – only when the face covering gets soiled. The requirement for an outer layer has been adjusted in response to comments during input sessions to clarify that you must wear a unique layer (e.g., the same smock in classroom A throughout the day and switch out for a different smock in classroom B when the classroom is switched).
Q: How do we properly dispose of soiled masks?
After removal of a soiled face covering, the face covering should be put away into a secure place that is not accessible to others. For example, it could be placed into a plastic bag or plastic container that is inaccessible to children prior to being cleaned.
Q: What happens if we cannot get a parent to provide a mask?
We suggest having a supply of washable masks on hand for children who do not bring one. Families should be informed of the requirements of operating during COVID-19. Providers should communicate directly with the parent and address any barriers they are having to providing a mask. Providers may also request PPE supplies from the state.
Q: Are face coverings required while eating and drinking?
Q: Are there any modifications to rules regarding screen time for Emergency Child Care settings?
Screen time is defined as time spent using a device such as a computer, television, or games console. For family child care, the rule stands that children in Emergency Child Care shall not be exposed to more than two hours of screen time per day. However, online school activities, including completing any homework, should not be counted as screen time. All media exposure must be developmentally and age appropriate. Certified Center (CC) rules do not currently address screen time.
Q: Does ELD have guidance on separating outdoor space? If there’s a large outdoor area, can temporary fencing be used to separate groups outside?
A facility may delineate separate spaces for children as long as they can ensure that children know the boundaries for their group. Programs should also ensure the minimum 75 square feet per child is met. If temporary fencing is used, the program must get approval from their licensing specialist and ensure the exit path is not impeded. A visual barrier such as cones, would not require fire marshal approval, but would require close supervision to ensure children are complying.
Q: What is recommended for applying sunscreen?
Caregivers should wear gloves and wash hands between different applications. Encourage the children that are able to apply their own sunscreen. Aerosol sunscreen is not permitted since it still needs to be rubbed to be effective. Using aerosol over lotion does not achieve the desired result of minimizing contact. Because of the continued concern of children inhaling it, it is not allowed to be used in accordance with the rules.
Q: What water play activities are permitted?
Water tables are not permitted at this time. Allowing children to water plants and play in a sprinkler are allowed, as water is continually in motion and not able to stagnate. Activities that contain water in one place, such as a water table, should be discontinued.
Q: Are sandboxes allowed at this time?
No, sandboxes, like sensory tables, are not currently permitted.
Q: Are programs permitted to take children to public parks?
Going to a public park is allowed if the park is open by the county/city and if allowed by the Governor’s orders. The Oregon Health Authority has provided guidance that children spending time outside is helpful in limiting the spread of the disease. Programs should keep stable groups separated from each other and away from other kids at the park as much as possible. Using park equipment is allowed if it’s available for use through the park. Many parks still have equipment that is off limits to the public. Note: Field trips are currently not permitted. Walking field trips to fully outdoor locations are permitted. Transportation for field trips is not.
Are trips to farms, forests, parks or similar outdoor locations permitted? If so, what would be required to do so?
Fully outdoor field trips are permitted provided they are within walking distance. Transportation for field trips is not allowed unless the program does not have outdoor space available on site or within walking distance. Note: Parents are allowed to transport their own children to a field trip location.
Q: Are programs allowed to bring in a contracted service, such as a gymnastics teacher?
No, these special events with additional people in child care are not allowed. These are extraordinary times.
Q: Is it required that providers discontinue the use of all areas and materials that require interaction between children?
Activities or areas that inherently require children to interact or come into contact with common materials should be discontinued or modified in order to reduce the potential spread of the virus. Some examples include water, sand, and sensory tables, sandboxes, and dress up clothes. Dress up clothes could be used if washed after each child’s use. Sensory activities could be divided into individual bins for each child to play with independently. Sprinkler play is still allowed because the water is continuously flowing.
Q: Does distance learning count as screen time?
No, distance learning is separate from the screen time allowance.
Q: Are we asking providers to not allow children to play with each other?
No, we are asking for providers to limit the sharing of materials as much as possible. This can be done by dividing up materials among the children, then cleaning the materials after use. If children do share materials, wash hands or use hand sanitizer after.
Q: What does a program do if they don’t have enough space to allow for 36 inches between mats/cots/cribs at naptime?
The program will need to rearrange space or remove items to meet the 36-inch requirement. If they cannot meet that requirement, they may need to reduce the number of children in care.
Q: How close can children get to each other?
The guidance does not specify how close children can be with each other. It is recommended that large group activities are limited, as well as limiting the number of children in an area, but no specific limits are given. It is understood that with very young children it is essentially impossible to keep them physically distanced.
Q: Is hand sanitizer allowed in child care?
Hand sanitizer is allowed as an alternative to handwashing except:
• Before and after eating, preparing food, and bottle preparation
• Before and after administering medication
• After toileting or assisting with toileting
• Before and after diapering
• After removing gloves
Q: Can hand sanitizer be used on infants?
Hand sanitizer is not considered safe for infants.
Q: Are all hand sanitizers safe?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has tested hand sanitizers labeled as containing ethanol (or ethyl alcohol) and found some contaminated with methanol, which is toxic.
Check the specific list of hand sanitizer products, updated on an ongoing basis: https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-updates-hand-sanitizers-methanol.
If your hand sanitizer is on the list, throw it out immediately. Consumers who have been exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol and are experiencing symptoms (listed on the link above) should seek immediate treatment.
Q: Can you provide more guidance around the use of hand sanitizer on children?
- No hand sanitizer for infants (under 2 years).
- For children 2 years and older, soap and water should be used but hand sanitizer can be used with supervision. Caregivers should ensure there is no ingestion and proper drying of the hands takes place so that hand to mouth behavior does not result in exposure to alcohol.
- Sanitizer could be ingested intentionally or unintentionally, and that could result in mild to serious health consequences, depending on the child and amount ingested.
- Hand sanitizer use should be supervised by the adult. It can be a closely monitored dispensing station or a container that is brought out and stored away safely when needed.
Q: Are there certain foods that we should not be feeding children? Are there foods or diets that make children more likely to get the virus?
Providers should follow the typical nutritional guidelines from the USDA, per child care rules. There are not any recommendations to avoid foods or follow certain diets.
Q: What should providers do if they cannot get disposable gloves for cleaning? Is it okay to sanitize gloves and reuse them? Is it okay to use household rubber gloves, as is allowed for sanitizing toys?
Programs may use household reusable rubber gloves for cleaning, and sanitize between uses, except when cleaning and disinfecting areas around a sick person or when in contact with diapers or bodily fluids which requires the use of disposable gloves. Disposable gloves are not designed to be reused and may become less effective protection as the material is weakened by reuse. If supplies necessary to ensure health and safety are not available, a program must not operate. Programs may request supplies from ELD.
Q: What should I do if I think a child, their family, my staff, or I have been exposed to this virus?
If exposed to a presumptive or confirmed case during their infectious period, you must notify the Office of Child Care and local public health authority in accordance with the ELD COVID-19 Guidelines. The individual(s) must quarantine for 14 days. The 14 days starts from the last time they had contact with the person with a presumptive or positive case. Consult with your local public health authority for further guidance.
Q: Are child care workers being prioritized for COVID-19 tests?
Yes, the Oregon Health Authority recommends that certain groups, including people exposed in a child care facility, be tested regardless of whether they have symptoms. The optimal time for testing of asymptomatic contacts is unknown, but 3–14 days after exposure is recommended based on current data. Note that a negative test does not change the need for 14 days of quarantine for all contacts. Child care workers should work with their health care provider to obtain a test. For more information, visit https://sharedsystems.dhsoha.state.or.us/DHSForms/Served/le2267.pdf
Q: A child in my program has family members in the health care field or other higher risk job. I am worried this is creating situations where the child is more at risk of contracting the virus and putting other children and staff at risk. Can I disenroll this child?
Children cannot be denied care because of the fear of transmission of COVID-19. Emergency Child Care providers play a crucial role in serving children and families of essential workers. At this time, there is no evidence that children of an essential worker are any more likely to have or to transmit COVID-19 than other children. The Office of Child Care does understand that programs are needing to make difficult enrollment choices that protect themselves, their families, and the children they serve. If you need further guidance, consult with an attorney.
Q: If a child in care or a staff member has symptoms associated with COVID-19, should they be excluded from the program?
A child or staff member who is or has been sick with an illness that includes cough, shortness of breath, or fever should be sent home and should be tested for COVID-19.
If the test is positive or if the person is not tested, the child or staff member must stay home for at least 10 days after onset of symptoms, and until 24 hours after both fever and cough has have resolved without the use of fever reducing medication., and other symptoms must be improving.
If the COVID-19 test is negative, the person may return 24 hours after resolution of cough and fever without the use of fever-reducing medication.
Children and staff who have been exposed to someone with confirmed case of COVID-19 or presumptive case of COVID-19 (i.e., they are sick and have been exposed to someone with a positive test) during their infectious period (2 days before to 10 days after symptoms began or positive test) must be excluded and should quarantine for 14 days after the last exposure. Exposure to a person in quarantine who does not have symptoms of COVID-19, nor is confirmed positive, does not require exclusion.
If the program has a staff or child with a confirmed or presumptive case, the program must notify the local public health authority and the Office of Child Care.
Q: If a child or staff has been exposed to someone who has symptoms typical of COVID-19 (e.g., fever, coughing, shortness of breath), should they be excluded?
If the person with symptoms is not confirmed presumptive or positive, then the child/staff who was exposed does not need to be excluded.
Consult your local public health authority with any questions.
Q: Should we monitor or exclude child/staff who have been exposed to someone untested, with COVID-19 symptoms? And, at what point? If a child shows up with enough of a cough/fever to send them home and exclude them, does the staff that greeted that child now need to be excluded for the 10 days also?
A child or staff member who is or has been sick with an illness that includes cough, shortness of breath, or fever should be sent home and should be tested for COVID-19.
In a sense, everyone should be monitoring themselves, and parents and staff should be monitoring children for symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, and fever. An exposure is defined as an individual who has close contact (less than six feet) for longer than 15 minutes (total in a 24-hour period) with a COVID-19 case who is infectious. Infectious means from two days before until 10 days after their symptoms started or when they were tested.
Quarantine is required after exposure to someone with lab-confirmed or “presumptive” COVID-19. “Presumptive” COVID-19 means you are having symptoms after exposure to someone else with lab-confirmed COVID-19. Consult your local public health authority with any questions.
Consult your local public health authority with additional questions on exposure.
Q: Who are we required to report to if there is a positive case?
Programs are required to report to the Office of Child Care AND their local public health authority. Additionally, if you are participating in Employment Related Day Care, Preschool Promise or Oregon Pre-Kindergarten, you must notify the appropriate program staff.
Q: Can programs make their own policy on temporary exclusion for travel?
Yes, this is a business decision.
Q: What if a child has a fever or cough. This child is tested for COVID-19 and has a doctor’s note saying that COVID-19 is negative. How long do they need to be out if they are symptom-free?
They may return to care 24 hours after resolution of the cough and fever without fever-reducing medicine.
*UPDATED* Q: My local public health authority says I must quarantine for 14 days but the ELD guidelines only require 10 days. Which must I follow?
The Early Learning Division developed the quarantine guidelines in partnership with the Oregon Health Authority, and in response to information released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Oregon, the local public health authority has the option to recommend a 14-day quarantine. If the local public health authority advises to quarantine for 14 days, you must follow that guideline.
*UPDATED* Q: My local public health authority does not allow ending quarantine after 7 days with a negative COVID-19 test, but the ELD guidelines allow it. Which must I follow?
The Early Learning Division made the quarantine guidelines in partnership with the Oregon Health Authority and follow recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Oregon, local counties have the option to continue to recommend a full quarantine period and not accept a negative COVID-19 test. If your local public health authority advises you to continue to quarantine, then you may not return to the child care until the full quarantine period is complete.
Q: Do children have to wear a face covering while being transported?
Children age kindergarten and older must wear a face covering during transportation.
Q: Will ELD create a training that providers can use to require their staff to complete?
The ELD has developed a training resource programs can use when instructing staff on the Covid-19 Health and Safety Guidelines. This guide can be submitted to ORO for two hours of training in the Core Knowledge Category of Health Safety and Nutrition and Program Management.
Q: Are Registered Family (RF) providers included in the professional development requirements?
Registered Family (RF) providers are required to complete their own ongoing training.
Q: Do providers have to submit their plan to the Office of Child Care?
You do not need to send the plan to ELD unless requested. The plan should be completed within 45 days of ELD’s issuance of the template on September 25, 2020. It must be provided to families in a manner they can understand (by Monday, November 9, 2020.) Additionally, new programs must have their Covid-19 Health and Safety Plan completed prior to receiving their child care license or approval to operate as an unlicensed emergency child care.
Q: What financial assistance is available to support my small business?
The Early Learning Division (ELD) has provided grant funding to Emergency Child Care providers during the COVID-19 crisis. The grant program uses resources allocated to Oregon through the federal Coronavirus Relief Act and other Child Care and Development Block Grant funds. All applicants who meet the criteria will receive a grant. Grant amounts vary by provider type. The grants were available for both licensed and license-exempt child care providers, as well as temporary emergency child care programs. For more information about grant criteria and details, visit oregonearlylearning.com/COVID-19-Resources/Grants.
For other support and resources, visit orproviderrelief.org. Providers can also contact Oregon Small Business Development Center advisors.
|Licensing Visits & Renewals
Q: How are renewal appointments and other licensing visits processed during this time?
If the renewal application was submitted timely, your program will not expire and you may request the appointment be rescheduled. If the application was not submitted timely, the licensing specialist will work to conduct the visit virtually and renew the license.
|Liability, Insurance, Employment & Benefits
Q: Does business interruption insurance ensure coverage for me because of COVID-19?
According to this memo issued by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business, most business interruption policies only cover loss of income that results from physical damage to your property. These policies typically exclude coverage for a pandemic or epidemic. A State of Emergency declaration does not change the terms of your business interruption policy and is unlikely to lead to business interruption coverage. Some policies may cover loss of income due to a pandemic or epidemic, but only for a limited amount of time. Contact you insurance company or agent to see if you policy covers a pandemic or epidemic.
Q: Will operating Emergency Child Care impact my insurance liability?
No, insurance companies will be prohibited from withdrawing, failing to renew, or cancelling any commercial liability line of insurance for providers operating an approved Emergency Child Care program by the Office of Child Care. The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services’ Division of Financial Regulation issued a memo outlining this policy.
Q: In the event that a child(ren) gets the virus, am I held responsible/liable for that?
First, follow all suggested Oregon Health Authority guidelines including not allowing sick children or staff to be in attendance. Existing Office of Child Care (OCC) rules address when to keep children out of care. These rules are in the COVID-19 section of the ELD’s website. You can download the information to post or share with families. Seek legal advice or consult your insurance company if you have liability concerns. However, this is not an area the ELD regulates, and we cannot give you legal advice.
Q: If my child care center/workplace has closed or I have been laid off, what benefits are available to me?
- You may be eligible to use paid or unpaid sick leave provided by your employer. Please see the sick leave FAQ below for more information.
- You may be eligible for unemployment insurance. Governor Brown has ordered an expansion of unemployment benefits to include Oregonians whose employment status has been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. This order is retroactively effective to March 8. Visit Employment Department Temporary Rules for Unemployment Insurance Benefits Flexibility on the Employment Department website to learn more about eligibility.
Q: Is my center or home required to offer me sick leave?
Since the onset of the coronavirus outbreak, many employees have been required to remain at home because they may have contracted the virus, are caring for a family member who may have the virus, or have to remain home because schools are closed and they have no access to child care. The Oregon legislature passed SB 454 in 2015, requiring all employers to allow employees to earn and use up to 40 hours of protected sick time each year. Nearly every employer in Oregon must comply with the law.
There are a couple of important factors that determine whether an employee is eligible for paid or unpaid sick leave.
- All employers must provide up to 40 hours of unpaid protected sick time per year.
- Employers that employ at least 10 employees in Oregon (and 6 if the employer has operations in Portland) must provide that protected sick time with pay. An employee may not be disciplined or terminated for taking protected sick time. For more information on sick leave as it applies to recent events, please visit Bureau of Labor and Industries Facts about Sick Time.