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Pandemic Child Care COVID-19 Checklist

COVID-19 Information and Checklist on Pandemic Child Care

Responding to COVID-19


Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, MD, MPH, has ordered all child care services closed as of 11:59 p.m. March 25, 2020, unless they have a Temporary Pandemic Child Care License issued by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS). Exempt are facilities that stay open to operate a U.S. Department of Agriculture food service program but do not continue to provide child care services.  

Availability is limited and enrollment is open only to children of essential staff workers. For information on who is essential please refer to the amended stay-home order.

For parents

Parents will be required to fill out an enrollment form and an addendum, describing the nature of their employment. Enrollment forms, a list of approved providers, and an interactive map of providers can be found at http://jfs.ohio.gov/cdc/CoronavirusAndChildcareForFamilies.

Parents who find safe and healthy alternative child care options during the pandemic should do so as soon as possible to keep children out of group settings. Parents should not leave children with an elderly person, because this population is at higher risk of serve complications from COVID-19

For child care providers

Centers are required to submit an application for a temporary pandemic child care center license to ODJFS and meet licensing requirements. For an application and additional information, please visit http://jfs.ohio.gov/cdc/CoronavirusAndChildcare or call 1-877-302-2347 option 4.

Additional requirements of the order include:

  • There should be no more than six children in a class/room.
  • Ratios must be kept at one teacher to no more than six children.
  • Whenever possible, children whose parents have the same employer should be kept together.
  • Whenever possible, classes/rooms should include the same group each day, and the same childcare providers should remain with the same group each day.
  • There should be limited use of shared space or mixing of groups.
  • If shared space is used, a rigorous cleaning schedule must be in place.
  • Parent interaction should be limited at drop off and pickup.

Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH, strongly recommends that all operating child care programs also take the following actions: 

  • If possible, arrange for administrative staff to telework from their homes.
  • Conduct training for staff on handwashing, cleaning high-touch surfaces, and cough etiquette. Clean all surfaces multiple times daily.
  • Implement handwashing routines among all children and staff upon arrival, before and after eating, before and after any outdoor play time, and at the end of the day.
  • Ensure that adequate supplies are available to support hand hygiene behaviors and routine cleaning of objects and surfaces. If you have difficulty in obtaining these supplies, please contact your local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) Agency which can be found under “Resources” at Child Care Aware of America.
  • Intensify cleaning and disinfection efforts. Caring for Our Children (CFOC) sets national policy for cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection of educational facilities for children. Toys that can be put in the mouth should be cleaned and sanitized. Other hard surfaces, including diaper changing stations, doorknobs, and floors can be disinfected. Specific guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on general disinfection procedures and on sanitizing toys and bedding can be found here. An example of a cleaning/disinfecting schedule can be found here.
  • Consider staggering arrival and pickup times and/or have childcare providers go outside the facility to pick up children as they arrive. Plans for curbside drop off and pickup should limit direct contact between parents and staff members and adhere to social distancing recommendations.
  • Do not admit children, parents, staff, and others who have a fever or signs of illness (including cough or shortness of breath). Encourage parents to be on the alert for signs of illness in their children and to keep them home when they are sick. Screen children upon arrival, if possible. Detailed CDC guidance on screening and safe screening methods can be found here.
  • If any children and staff have signs and symptoms, separate them from others and send them home as soon as possible. Plan to have an isolation room or area (such as a cot in a corner of the classroom) that can be used to isolate a sick child.
  • Follow CDC’s guidance on how to disinfect your building or facility if someone is sick.
  • If a child or staff member is confirmed to have COVID-19, immediately notify your local health department, which will help determine a course of action, including how long the facility should be closed for a public health assessment and cleaning and disinfecting. Students and most staff will likely be dismissed for two to five days and possibly longer if needed to stop or slow further spread of COVID-19.
  • Consider creating a separate classroom or group for the children of healthcare workers and other first responders. If your program is unable to create a separate classroom, consider serving only the children of healthcare workers and first responders.
  • Cancel or postpone special events such as festivals, holiday events, and performances.
  • Consider whether to alter or stop daily group activities. Limit the mixing of children (e.g., stagger playground times, keep groups separate for special activities such as art, music, and exercising.
  • At nap time, ensure that children’s naptime mats or cribs are spaced out as much as possible, ideally 6 feet apart. Consider placing children head to toe in order to further reduce the potential for viral spread.
  • If care is suspended, work with your local health department to make sure there are continuity plans for any meal, medical, or social programs provided through the program.
  • Review additional guidance, including information on caring for infants and toddlers, hand hygiene, and food preparation at the CDC’s Supplemental Guidance For Child Care Programs That Remain Open webage, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-cov/community/schools-childcare/guidance-for-childcare.html.

For answers to your COVID-19 questions, call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).

Additional resources:

Guidance for Schools and Child Care Programs: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/index.html.

K-12 Schools and Child Care Programs-- FAQs for Administrators, Teachers, and Parents: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/communication/factsheets.html.

Talking with children about Coronavirus Disease 2019: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/talking-with-children.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fcommunity%2Fschools-childcare%2Ftalking-with-children.html.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/disinfecting-building-facility.html.

CDC COVID-19 Stress and Coping Resources: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html.

Children and COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/children.html.

COVID-19 Guidance related to Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/pregnancy-breastfeeding.html.

Prevention Infographic

Protect yourself and others from COVID-19 by taking these precautions.

  • Stay home 
  • Practice Social Distancing
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals
  • Wash hands often with water and soap (20 seconds or longer)
  • Dry hands with a clean towel or air dry your hands
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth with unwashed hands or after touching surfaces
  • Clean and disinfect "High-Touch" surfaces often
  • Call before visiting your doctor
  • Practice good hygiene habits 

If you have questions regarding Coronavirus/COVID-19 please call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634)


High touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.

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