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COVID-19 Guidance for Operating Early Care and Education/Child Care Programs

Early Care and Education Guidance

Dear Colleague Letter

Date:        July 9, 2021

To:           ACF Grant Recipients and Interested Parties

Subject:   COVID-19 Guidance for Operating Early Care and Education/Child Care Programs

Dear Colleague:

We want to share the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) updated COVID-19 Guidance for Operating Early Care and Education/Child Care Programs. The updated guidance focuses on helping administrators of child care and other early care and education (ECE) programs, along with state and local health officials, safely support in-person child care operations.

Vaccination is currently the best public health prevention strategy to control the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Promoting COVID-19 vaccination can help child care and other ECE programs continue to provide in-person learning and care. However, as young children are not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccination, the updated guidance emphasizes the prevention strategies most important for child care and other ECE programs. CDC continues to recommend that children over age 2 and child care and other ECE program staff members who are not fully vaccinated wear masks indoors.

Although fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared with adults, children can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, can get sick from COVID-19, can spread the virus to others, and can have severe outcomes. As new variants of COVID-19 spread across the country, it’s especially important for child care and other ECE programs to remain vigilant and to follow CDC guidance. This guidance gives child care and other ECE programs a flexible, science-based approach to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to keep children and staff healthy and able to continue in-person learning and care.

We encourage you to share this guidance widely with your partners and networks and on your organization’s social media pages. We hope you will find this updated guidance useful in your work, and we will continue to share new information and resources as they become available.

Dr. Ruth Friedman signature.

Dr. Ruth Friedman

Director

Office of Child Care

Administration for Children and Families

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Mary E. Switzer Building, Fourth Floor, MS 4425

330 C Street, S.W.

Washington, DC  20201

General office number: (202) 690-6782

Fax: (202) 690-5600

General email: occ@acf.hhs.gov

Website: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/occ