INDUSTRY-SPECIFIC GUIDANCE OF THE HEALTH OFFICER OF
THE COUNTY OF MARIN REGARDING REQUIRED BEST PRACTICES FOR CHILDCARE AND YOUTH PROGRAMS
This industry-specific guidance is being issued pursuant to the May 15, 2020 Order of the Health Officer of the County of Marin Directing All Individuals in the County to Continue Sheltering in their Place of Residence (the “Shelter in Place Order”) and unless otherwise defined below, initially capitalized terms used in this guidance have the same meaning given them in that order. This guidance goes in effect on August 17, 2020.
This guidance remains in effect until suspended, superseded, or amended by the Health Officer, is supported by the justifications set forth in the Shelter in Place Order, and automatically incorporates any revisions to that order or other future orders issued by the Health Officer that supersede that order or reference this guidance. All businesses addressed herein and allowed to operate under the Shelter in Place Order are required to follow this industry-specific guidance and implement all Best Practices detailed below.
This guidance and its enumerated Best Practices may be revised by the Health Officer, through revision of this guidance or another future order, as conditions relating to COVID-19 require, at the discretion of the Health Officer. Each business identified herein must stay updated regarding any changes to the Shelter in Place Order, this guidance, and the Best Practices specifically applicable to it by checking the Marin Recovers website regularly.
UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF CALIFORNIA HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE SECTIONS 101040, 101085, AND 120175, THE HEALTH OFFICER DIRECTS AS FOLLOWS:
- This guidance applies to all owners, operators, managers, or supervisors of any business that the Shelter in Place Order permits to be open to the public in the County of Marin (the “County”), whether or not such a business could also be defined as an Outdoor Business under the Shelter in Place Order, that consist of any of the following:
- Childcare establishments that are licensed by the state (a “Childcare Establishment”); or
- Youth programs providing care, supervision and programming for children of all ages including after school programs, recreation programs, athletic programs, youth sports, enrichment programs (a “Youth Program”).
- All Childcare Establishments and Youth Programs described herein may begin operations pursuant to these Guidelines on August 17, 2020.
- Each Childcare Establishment and Youth Program must create, adopt, and implement a written COVID-19 Site-Specific Protection Plan (a Site-Specific Protection Plan template is available online at marinrecovers.com) that incorporates and addresses all applicable Best Practices included in this guidance.
- Depending on the nature of the business covered by this guidance, there may be certain people associated with the business that are subject to this guidance. Collectively those people are referred to by this guidance and the Best Practices as “Personnel”, and those people include all of the following who provide goods or services associated with the business in the County: employees; contractors and sub-contractors (such as those who sell goods or perform services onsite or who deliver goods for the business); independent contractors (such as “gig workers” who perform work via the business’ app or other online interface); vendors who are permitted to sell goods onsite (such as farmers or others who sell at stalls in farmers’ markets); volunteers; and other individuals who regularly provide services onsite at the request of the business. This guidance requires the business to ensure that Personnel who perform work associated with the business are addressed by the COVID-19 Site-Specific Protection Plan and comply with those requirements.
- Implementation of this guidance augments—but does not limit—the obligations of each Childcare Establishment and Youth Program under all other existing Health Officer Orders, including, but not limited to, all requirements of the Facial Coverings Order and the obligation to prepare, post, and implement a Social Distancing Protocol as required by the Shelter in Place Order.
- Best Practices for Childcare Establishments and Youth Programs:
- Facilities and Personnel must follow all existing guidelines to prevent the spread of infection, such as social distancing when it is feasible in a childcare setting and more intensive infection control measures such as health screenings, more frequent handwashing, and surface cleaning. These shall specifically include:
- Parents and caregivers must monitor their children for signs of infectious illness every day at home. Students who are sick should not attend childcare and youth programs in-person.
- Upon entering any room, require children and adults to wash hands. Repeat throughout the day as necessary. Wash hands for 20 seconds and use paper towels (or single use cloth towels) to dry hands thoroughly.
- Teach and reinforce washing hands and covering coughs and sneezes among children and staff.
- Personnel should be frequently reminded not to touch their face coverings and to wash their hands frequently. Information should be provided to all staff on proper use, removal, and washing of cloth face coverings.
- Ensure safe and correct application of disinfectants and keep products away from children.
- Ensure ventilation systems operate properly and increase circulation of outdoor air as much as possible by opening windows and doors, using fans, or other methods. Do not open windows and doors if they pose a safety or health risk (e.g., allowing pollens in or exacerbating asthma symptoms) risk to children using the facility.
- Take steps to ensure that all water systems and features (for example, drinking fountains, decorative fountains) are safe to use after a prolonged facility shutdown to minimize the risk of Legionnaires’ disease and other diseases associated with water.
- Sanitize the sink and toilet handles frequently. Teach children proper hand hygiene after toilet use.
- Personnel must wear a facial covering over their nose and mouth unless specifically exempted from doing so by the Health Officer’s Order for Face Coverings. Face coverings are strongly encouraged for young children between two years old and second grade, if they can be worn properly. Face coverings are required for children in 3rd grade through high school. Face covering should be removed for meals, snacks, naptime, or outdoor recreation. Children under 12 wearing a cloth face covering shall always be actively monitored by Personnel. Teach and reinforce mandatory use of cloth face coverings among all staff.
- Childcare Establishment and Youth Programs must be carried out in stable groups consisting of 14 or fewer children, which means that the same 14 or fewer children must remain in the same group each day and for at least 3 consecutive weeks. Each Childcare Establishment and Youth Program shall operate for a minimum of at least 3 weeks in order to ensure that children remain in stable groups as required by these Best Practices. Children from the same family or household unit must be included in the same stable group within a facility or program, to the greatest extent possible.
- Children may not move or change from one Childcare Establishment or Youth Program to another more frequently than every 3 weeks.
- Children may not attend more than two Childcare Establishments or Youth Programs simultaneously.
- If more than one group of children is at one facility, each group shall be in separate rooms or spaces that cannot be accessed by children or adults outside the stable group. Facilities with exceptionally large rooms (e.g. indoor gymnasiums or sports fields) may divide those rooms into more than one space for children by erecting temporary walls or dividers that keep stable groups of children entirely separate from other groups located within the same larger space.
- Stable groups shall not mix with other stable groups, and to the greatest extent possible groups shall not change rooms within the facility. If groups do need to change rooms within a facility, Personnel shall sanitize each room being utilized by a new group of children prior to the children moving into that room.
- Shared rooms or spaces within a facility, such as restrooms or outdoor play yards, should be divided up to the greatest extent possible so that different groups of children have access to designated portions of such spaces. To the extent this is not possible, such spaces must be sanitized after use by any one group of children and before another rotates in. No two groups may be in a shared or common space at the same time.
- Personnel should not, to the greatest extent possible, serve more than one stable group of children and shall remain solely with that group of children during the duration of the Childcare Establishment or Youth Programs. Program specific appropriate adult: child ratios should always be maintained.
- All equipment used by participants or Personnel must be sanitized daily at minimum.
- Youth Programs that require access to a pool may contract with private or public pools otherwise closed under the Shelter in Place Order in order to provide such access for Youth Program participants, and pools otherwise closed under the Shelter in Place Order may allow access to Youth Program participants and Personnel exclusively. Only one stable group of 14 children may be in a pool at any given time and, just as with any other room or area into which groups of children are rotating, all equipment and surfaces touched by one group of children must be sanitized before another group may be permitted to enter.
- Do as many activities outdoors as possible; create outdoor activities where you can to provide wider spacing opportunities.
- Stagger arrival and/or dismissal times. These approaches can limit the amount of close contact between students in high-traffic situations and times.
- Encourage participants to avoid carpooling to and from their Childcare Establishment or Youth Program.
- Establish procedures for drop-off and pick-up to maintain physical distancing. Consider moving the sign-in station outside the facility. Provide hand sanitizer or handwashing facilities to use before and after families sign in and out. Do not share pens. Ask parents to bring their own pens when signing children in and out. If check-in is electronic, clean and disinfect the screens or keyboards frequently.
- Meals and snacks:
- Set up the eating spaces to maximize space between children.
- Practice proper handwashing before and after eating.
- Use paper goods and disposable plastic utensils when possible.
- Meals should be pre-portioned or pre-packaged and distributed by a teacher.
- Encourage families to send children with meals from home if possible.
- Create a communications plan for the families you serve. Include information about specific steps being taken by the Childcare Establishment or Youth Program to prepare, and how additional information will be shared. Share resources with the Childcare Establishment and Youth Program community to help families understand how to prevent spread and when to keep children home. General CDC fact sheets to help Personnel and students’ families understand COVID-19 and the steps they can take to protect themselves:
- Children must stay home when they are sick. If a child has a new cough or other illness symptoms, they may not come to the Childcare Establishment or Youth Program even if they have no fever. It is not uncommon for people, including children, with COVID-19 to have cough without fever, especially early in the course of illness. If a child show signs of respiratory illness (a new cough, complaints of sore throat, or shortness of breath), a fever of 100°F or above, they should enter a separate room, or be safely isolated with Personnel, and must be sent home as soon as possible.
- Licensed Childcare Establishments Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing, Title 22 or Title 5 must also follow the guidance provided by the State of California:
- Youth Programs that engage in exercise, dance, sports or physical recreation must also follow the guidance provided by the State of California: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Youth-Sports-FAQ.aspx
- This guidance is issued in furtherance of the purposes of the Shelter in Place Order. Where a conflict exists between this guidance and any state, local, or federal public health order related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including, without limitation, the Site-Specific Protection Plan, the most restrictive provision controls. Failure to carry out this guidance is a violation of the Shelter in Place Order, constitutes an imminent threat and menace to public health, constitutes a public nuisance, and is a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.
August 12, 2020
Matt Willis, MD, MPH
Health Officer of the County of Marin