Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update – March 13, 2020
Since the news came out last night that many of our school districts were closing, questions have come up regarding Colorado child care and preschool programs. The state has provided some guidance, however, no true definitive actions have been put in place, leaving many of you wondering, “What am I supposed to do?” Here are some key points we want to share with you as we navigate these uncharted waters:
- The school districts have chosen to close, not because they have been asked by the CDPHE, but because they made the decision to do what they thought was best for their community of students, staff, and families.
- Until your local health department requires a mandatory shut-down for ECE programs, you may stay open if you feel that is in your program’s best interest. You do not have to follow district policy for school closings in this situation as you may have done in the past (e.g., on snow days).
- It has been recommended that if you have one positive case you may close for 72 hours to do a thorough cleaning. If you have multiple cases, it has been recommended to close your center for two weeks and follow local health department guidance as to when to reopen.
In the meantime, we recommend that if you decide to stay open, you follow these measures:
- Temperatures 100°F and above are exclusionary in the group care setting at this time. Please note that a child with a 99°F temperature showing other signs of exclusionary symptoms (such as excessive coughing, malaise, and fatigue, or inability to participate in the group care setting due to suspected illness) should be sent home.
- At this time of high illnesses and fear of COVID-19, children should return to group care at least 48 hours after fever or exclusionary symptoms have resolved. This is different from the “How Sick is Too Sick” guidelines which states 24 hours.
- While the health department does not recommend excluding an asymptomatic child who has been exposed to COVID-19 by a primary caregiver (for example, a mom), if you feel it would be best that the child remain home, it is appropriate that you make the best decision for your entire program.
The health department suggests disinfecting all surfaces except food surfaces at this time. That includes mouthable toys and other surfaces. Remember to do the final rinse with water after using your disinfectant, then finish by using a sanitizing solution (like Quat).
For the latest information, please check your local health department’s website as new information is posted daily.
Below is a recent document from the Boulder County Health Department titled, “Rationale for Keeping ECE Programs Open,” to use as you are making your decision. Please feel free to share with your staff and families.Download the Document