COVID-19 GUIDELINES

COVID-19 GUIDELINES FOR CHILD CARE PROGRAMS

All child care programs in New York City must follow COVID-19 guidelines issued by New York State. The State requires child care programs to notify the NYC Health Department to report an employee or child who has a positive COVID-19 test result. To report a test result, contact your borough office (PDF)


  • Remember the four key actions to prevent COVID-19 transmission: • Stay home if sick: Stay home if you are sick unless you are leaving for essential medical care (including COVID-19 testing) or other essential errands. • Physical distancing: Stay at least 6 feet away from other people. • Wear a face covering: Protect yourself those around you. You can be contagious without symptoms and spread the disease when you cough, sneeze, talk or breathe. Face coverings help reduce the spread of COVID-19. • Practice healthy hand hygiene: Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available; clean frequently touched surfaces regularly; avoid touching your face with unwashed hands; and cover your cough or sneeze with your sleeve, not your hands.


  • What do I have to do to legally reopen my business? Required steps before you reopen • Develop a safety plan and post it at your work site. • Read and affirm compliance. NYS requires that you affirm you have reviewed and understand the State-issued industry guidelines, and that you will implement them. You can fill out the affirmation form at forms.ny.gov/s3/ny-forward-affirmation. • Have a valid child care permit from the NYC Health Department.

PHYSICAL DISTANCING

  • Do children and staff in the same cohort (static group) need to stay 6 feet apart during activities (such as lunch, gym or playtime)?  Staff and children do not need to stay 6 feet apart while in their static group. However, each static group needs to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from other static groups. How many square feet is required per child? 


  • Does this include the 6 feet required for physical distancing? The NYC Health Code requires 30 square feet per child for Article 47 child care programs. The 6 feet required for physical distancing can be part of the NYC Health Code’s 30 square feet requirement. While there is no minimum square feet per child requirement for Article 43 programs, the 6 feet for physical distancing requirement still applies.


  •  Where can child care programs get free signs that describe how to prevent the spread of COVID-19? Where should these signs be posted? The NYC Health Department’s Prevent the Spread sign can be found here. Signs should be posted throughout the facility, including by entrances, in restrooms and break rooms, and by hand washing areas. For additional posters and flyers related to COVID-19, available in several languages, visit here. 


  • During naptime, how should cots and sleeping mats be arranged if 6 feet of distance between children cannot be achieved?  If the recommended 6 feet of distance cannot be achieved, cots and sleeping mats should be placed at least 2 feet apart, with children arranged from head to toe.


  •  To decrease the number of children per classroom, can child care programs carve out some of their space to create new classrooms?  A child care program can create new classroom space as long as the maximum capacity remains consistent with the Certificate of Occupancy and the program has received NYC Health Department approval. Creating additional classroom space must not increase the overall classroom or program capacity. 


  • To get NYC Health Department approval, programs must submit an amendment request through ACCELA or reach out to their borough office representative.


Are parents allowed to be on the child care premises?

  • Are parents allowed to be on the child care premises? Nonessential visitors are prohibited from entering child care programs. Programs must put in place procedures to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between all people (including parents, guardians, staff and children) during child drop-off and pick-up. If a parent needs to enter the program facility, they will be required to undergo a health screening and will not be allowed to enter the program if they have COVID-19 symptoms, have tested positive for COVID-19 or were recently exposed to the virus.