Updated Guidance about COVID-19 for Child Care, Early Learning and School Age Programs
On July 6, 2021, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) updated the child care guidance to align with the state’s amended mask order. In Washington State masks are no longer required outdoors regardless of vaccination status. Removing masks outside makes it even more important that you continue to cohort staff and children in stable groups and encourage them to spread out when playing outside without masks.
Snohomish Health District and the Child Care Health Outreach Program recognize that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently updated their guidance for child care programs, however the CDC guidance states that “masks should be worn indoors by all individuals (ages 2 and older) who are not fully vaccinated. ECE settings may implement universal mask use in some situations, such as if they serve a population not yet eligible for vaccination.”
Children under the age of 12 years old are unable to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Due to this, all staff, youth and children five years of age or older must wear facial coverings, or an acceptable alternative, indoors regardless of vaccination status unless eating or sleeping.
Masks continue to be strongly encouraged for children 2-4 years of age with adult supervision.
Any person who chooses to wear a mask should be supported in doing so.
Both the Washington State DOH and the CDC guidance emphasize implementing layered COVID-19 prevention strategies to protect children and adults who are not fully vaccinated:
- Continue to cohort staff and children in small groups.
- If using a float staff to cover breaks, the staff person should be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
- Continue frequent cleaning and sanitizing of high touch surfaces.
- Ventilation continues to be important for good indoor air quality.
- Continue excluding staff and children for one or more symptoms and following the Washington State DOH Evaluation and Management flowchart on return to care after exclusion.
Private businesses are allowed to be stricter than the minimum requirements. It is within your rights to require masks for parents coming into your center or, if they choose not to wear a face covering, you could bring the child out to them for pick up.
Continue to monitor Guidance for Child Care, Youth Development, and Day Camps During COVID-19 for updates as information changes.
For child care questions, contact the Snohomish Health District Child Care Health Outreach Program at firstname.lastname@example.org
For COVID 19 questions related to exposure contact the CD Line: 425-339-5278