Healthy Child Care Iowa (HCCI) has received many questions about the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recent guidance about the wearing of cloth face masks and if child care providers and children should be wearing them in care. 

The following CDC guidance outlines social distancing strategies for child care:

  • If possible, child care classes should include the same group each day, and the same child care providers should remain with the same group each day.
  • If your child care program remains open, 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 special performances.
  • Consider whether to alter or halt daily group activities that may promote transmission.
  • Keep each group of children in a separate room.
  • Limit the mixing of children, such as staggering playground times and keeping groups separate for special activities such as art, music, and exercising.
  • If possible, 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.
  • Consider staggering arrival and drop off times and/or have child care providers come outside the facility to pick up the children as they arrive. Your plan for curbside drop off and pick up should limit direct contact between parents and staff members and adhere to social distancing recommendations.
  • 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. (Iowa DHS and CDC).
  • If you have questions/concerns, work with your local public health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

Additional guidance from the CDC regarding children/staff and face masks:

  • Children under 2 years old should not wear a face mask. 
  • Children 2 years and older should wear a cloth face mask that covers their nose and mouth when in a community setting. 
  • Wearing a cloth face mask is an additional public health measure in addition to (not instead of) social distancing, frequent hand washing and other everyday preventive actions. 
  • Cloth face masks are not intended to protect the wearer but may prevent the spread of the virus from the wearer to others.
  • If available, place a face mask on a child who becomes ill while at care as they wait to be picked up. 
  • Face masks are recommended for staff who are completing daily health checks/temperature screening.
  • Medical masks and N-95 respirators are still reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

Optional guidance from Zero to Three has helpful information here for children who have concerns/questions about people wearing cloth face masks.

CCR&R of NE Iowa hosted a peer to peer meeting with guest Heidi Hotvedt from Iowa Department of Public Health and Healthy Child Care Iowa. This online meeting was held on 4/7/20 and Heidi reviews the new document for COVID-19 Guidance: Child Care Centers and Homes Health & Safety Concerns along with addressing recent guidance about wearing masks.


Tags: hcci , face mask , mask

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