Schools & Childcare

  1. Schools & Childcare Facilities
  2. Resources & Links

Schools & Childcare Settings

Schools and childcare programs, working together with local health departments have an important role in slowing the spread of diseases to help ensure students have safe and healthy learning environments. Schools serve students, staff and visitors from throughout the community.

 Planning & Preparation

  • Encourage your staff or community members to protect their personal health.
  • Post the signs and symptoms of COVID-19: fever, cough, shortness of breath.
  • Encourage people to stay home when sick.
  • Clean surfaces that are frequently touched – things such as shared desks, countertops, kitchen areas, electronics, and doorknobs.
  • Limit events and meetings that require close contact.
  • Stay up to date on developments in your community.
  • Create an emergency plan for possible outbreak.
  • Make hand cleaning supplies readily available.
  • Encourage students and staff to stay home if sick.
  • Monitor absenteeism.
  • Plan for digital and distance learning.
  • Be prepared to temporarily dismiss or close schools and cancel events.
    • Short term dismissals for cleaning and contact tracing if you have a case.
    • Longer dismissals if you have substantial spread in your area.
  • Plan ways to continue student services such as school meal programs if schools close.
  • Stagger staffing or schedules to reduce in-person interaction.
  • Work with your local health department for guidance on closures and re-openings.

If an outbreak occurs in our community

  • Send home or separate anyone who becomes sick.
  • If you identify a case, inform people who might have been exposed.
  • Continue to safely clean and disinfect the person’s area.
  • Connect with your local health departments.
  • Cancel large meetings or events.
  • Put your infectious disease outbreak plan into action.

When a confirmed case has entered a school or daycare

Any school in any community might need to implement short-term closure procedures regardless of community spread if an infected person has been in a school or daycare building. If this happens, CDC recommends the following procedures regardless of the level of community spread: 

  • Coordinate with local health officials. Once learning of a COVID-19 case in someone who has been in the school, immediately notify local health officials. These officials will help administrators determine a course of action for their childcare programs or schools.
  • Dismiss students and most staff for 2-5 days. This initial short-term dismissal allows time for the local public health officer to gain a better understanding of the COVID-19 situation impacting the school or daycare, and to determine appropriate next steps, including whether an extended dismissal duration is needed to stop or slow further spread of COVID-19.
    • Public Health Officer recommendations for the scope (e.g., a single school, multiple schools, the full district) and duration of school dismissals will be made on a case-by-case basis using the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and the specific cases in the community.
    • During school dismissals, also cancel extracurricular group activities, school-based afterschool programs, and large events (e.g., assemblies, spirit nights, field trips, and sporting events).
    • Discourage staff, students, and their families from gathering or socializing anywhere. This includes group childcare arrangements, as well as gathering at places like a friend’s house, a favorite restaurant, or the local shopping mall.