COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio child care centers are set to reopen on May 31, after the coronavirus caused many sectors of the state's economy to temporarily shut down.
Now, parents are heading back to work, and many are waiting with bated breath to send their kids back into day care. Although these facilities are able to get back into gear, they are going to look a little different as the state continues its fight against the spread of COVID-19.
Child care guidelines
To keep children, their families and teachers safe, leaders with the Ohio Department of Health say child care providers must operate under reduced ratios and follow strict cleaning and handwashing protocols.
The Department of Job and Family Services also recommends that child care providers do the following:
- Use “curbside” drop-off and pick-up when possible.
- Have a dedicated staff person escort your child into and out of their child care facility each day.
- Wash children’s hands upon arrival and before departure.
- Have adults wear masks.
- Limit mixing of classrooms.
- Sanitize toys after each use and remove toys that cannot be sanitized.
- Stagger the use of communal spaces, such as playgrounds and lunchrooms, until they can be sanitized.
Health leaders say these practices will help keep child care centers safe as Ohioans continue to combat coronavirus.
What parents should consider
If you are considering returning your child to a day care center, here are some things state leaders what you to keep in mind:
- Childcare providers must operate under very strict cleaning and handwashing protocols. These protocols will help make child care safe for your child.
- Child care providers are limited in the number of children they can serve. If you can stay home with your child, please do so. This will help keep limited child care spots available for families that have no other child care options.
- Children run fevers for many reasons, such as teething or colds. If your child is running a fever of 100 degrees or more, do not take them to child care. Your child should stay home for at least 24 hours after their fever subsides.
- Watch for symptoms of COVID-19, such as sore throat, cough, fever, headache, runny nose, and difficulty breathing. If your child is exhibiting any of these symptoms, contact your pediatrician and keep your child home from child care. For more information, visit: coronavirus.ohio.gov
- If your child has been in contact with someone who is suspected of having COVID-19 or has tested positive for COVID-19, you should quarantine for 14 days.
- If your child has tested positive for COVID-19, they should not return to child care for at least seven days since the onset of symptoms and at least three days without a fever, without the help of fever-reducing medicines, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
Your child may notice changes to their normal routine. Experts say it is important to talk to your child about how they are feeling. For tips on how to talk to your child about COVID-19, click here.
For additional information, on coronavirus in Ohio, click here.
For answers to your COVID-19 questions, call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).
If you or someone you know is experiencing anxiety related to the coronavirus pandemic, help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call the COVID-19 CareLine at 1-800-720-9616.