Posted by ICCRR in News on 3/20/2020

Message for Iowa Child Care Programs from the Department of Human Services

March 20, 2020

Child Care Guidance in Response to COVID-19

While not often included with first responders, the service you provide is critical. Thank you for your public service. We appreciate child care providers staying open to provide quality, safe care to Iowa’s children during this critical time.

The updated guidance has been developed in close consultation with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH). The health and safety of children, family, staff and child care providers is of the utmost importance. Child care programs provide an essential support for working families. We need to ensure child care for essential workforce, including healthcare, first responders, critical infrastructure—which includes food service and grocery workers.



The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) encourages parents who telecommute to keep their children home with them.

DHS also encourages child care settings to limit rooms to 10 individuals per room when possible, and to increase space between children. Recess, activities and hallway passing should be staggered to limit interactions.

To remain open during this time, we insist all child care centers follow practices outlined below.




  1. Implement common-sense practices for preventing disease spread, such as: covering a cough, staying home when sick and washing hands. Child care providers are an important part of ensuring children maintain personal hygiene best practices. Increase these practices, particularly after eating or using the restroom. Talk to children about these practices. The Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends washing hands for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Remove all plush toys from child care settings. Do not allow children to bring plush toys from home. Wash blankets daily. Minimize the amount of toys in your child care settings and clean them daily.
  3. Implement regular deep-cleaning practices at a minimum once a week, while continuing daily cleaning as normal.


  1. Conduct mandatory temperature screenings upon drop-off every day. Send home children with temperatures of 100.4 degrees or higher. Do NOT allow children with fever into childcare settings.
  2. Ensure that employees and children are not admitted to a childcare center when ill. If you suspect a child or individual is ill, or their parent is ill, send them home and have them call their primary healthcare provider. Healthcare practitioners are equipped to screen individuals and to refer for additional testing, if needed.
  3. Sick children should be separated until they are able to go home. Staff who are ill should go home immediately.
  4. Talk with your staff and parents about travel plans to affected areas so you are able to assess any potential risk. Visit the CDC’s Information for Travel page for the most up-to-date alerts.
  5. Put your infectious disease outbreak plan into action.


  1. Insist parent(s) drop-off children at the front door, limiting adult entry to the facility.
  2. Cancel all gatherings, field trips, staff training and congregate meal settings. Distance children while eating.
  3. Ask that staff practice social distancing outside of work (remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings and maintaining approximately 6 feet of distance from others when possible).
  4. Avoid mixing children across classes and stagger passing times.
  5. Limit deliveries from outside vendors. If possible, have them deliver after business hours or leave deliveries outside of the facility.


  1. All child care providers should report available slots to CCR&R daily, or as frequently as possible. This will help ensure access for essential workforce.
  2. If you see clusters of absences, report to DHS and we will coordinate with IDPH on potential closures.
  3. Report clusters of illness to DHS.
  4. If you are considering closing, please notify DHS.

Tags: dhs , covid-19 , coronavirus

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