Child Care During COVID-19: Guidance for Families

Attending child care during COVID-19

How can I help get my children ready for child care?

Starting a new child care program can be exciting and stressful for parents and children, especially during COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has guidance for parents (and teachers) about how to help children transition back to school. Learn more from the CDC.

If my child’s program or classroom has to close temporarily during COVID-19, will I still be charged tuition or fees?

Child care programs usually have a policy about what happens if they need to temporarily close the program or a classroom. You can check your records or get in touch with your program to find out their current policy.

Keeping children healthy and safe

What health and safety requirements are currently in place in programs?

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, OEC required child care and youth camps to meet certain licensing requirements, including regular cleaning and other health and safety procedures.

All programs are also required to report COVID-19 cases to the Department of Public Health and the local health department.

If we travel, can I still send my child to child care or camp afterwards?

Child care programs and camps set their own rules about travel — so make sure to talk to them before you leave. Ask if they have a written policy.

Are teachers required to get the COVID-19 vaccine? 

No. The state requirement that staff get vaccines ended on February 15, 2022. However, programs may set their own policies related to staff and vaccines.

Does my child need to get the COVID-19 vaccine in order to attend child care or a camp?

Connecticut doesn’t require the vaccine for children to attend a child care program or youth camp. However, programs may set their own requirements for vaccines.

Wearing masks

Do my children have to wear masks during child care or camp?

No, Connecticut doesn’t require them anymore. However, individual programs set their own policies about masks. And OEC still recommends wearing masks to protect children and staff.

Why is wearing a mask important in child care?

Children in child care often come in close contact with each other and staff throughout the day. It’s easy for germs to spread. Having your child wear a mask can help protect them, other students, and staff from COVID-19. Wearing masks can also help prevent programs and classrooms from having to close because someone in the program gets sick.

But I’ve heard that masks don’t work or might not be good for young children.

There’s been a lot of misinformation online during COVID-19. It’s important to listen to the experts — people have dedicated their lives to studying diseases like COVID-19 and keeping children safe. To learn more, check out:

What kind of mask works well for children?

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that cloth face coverings with more than one layer of washable, breathable fabric or disposable surgical-style masks are good choices. Pleated face coverings with elastic may work best for kids. Getting a snug fit and covering both the nose and mouth is important. Learn more from the AAP.

What if my child doesn’t like wearing a mask or keeps taking it off?

Some children may react that way, especially at first — it’s normal. But right now, wearing a mask is a healthy habit you’re helping them learn, like washing their hands.

If you decide that you want your child to make a mask in child care, model a positive attitude and practice at home. Also, make sure to talk to the program. Let staff know that mask wearing is important to your family. You may want to develop a plan for how you’ll work together to encourage your child to wear their mask.

When your child is sick

What should I do if my child has COVID-19 — or has been around someone who has it?

If your child tests positive for COVID-19, keep them home and follow their doctor’s advice. You also need to call your child care program or camp, so staff can take steps to protect other children and staff.

If my child has COVID-19, when can they go back to child care?

Ask your child’s doctor for guidance. The answer depends on several things including:

  • Their age
  • Whether your child can wear a mask correctly and regularly
  • Whether they got the COVID-19 shot
  • Whether they have COVID-19 symptoms

My child has a health issue — is child care safe for them?

Talk to your child’s doctor. Together, you can make a decision about whether child care is okay for your child. Then, you can talk to staff at your child’s child care program or camp and get their support.

Finding child care

How can I find child care during COVID-19?

2-1-1 Child Care makes it easy to find spots in child care programs in your area. Dial 2-1-1 or 800-505-1000. You can also use the Child Care Finder on their website

Have more questions?

Get more details in our in-depth Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19.

OEC has lots of other information that can help too. Learn how families can access financial resources and get parenting support.

Last updated August 10, 2022