COVID-19 Update:
Child Care Providers Operating in Red and Yellow Counties in the Governor’s Phased-in Approach to Reopen Business

Dear early care and education supporters,

Below is information provided by the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) including a resource for cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment. In addition, as more Pennsylvania counties move to "yellow" in the phased reopening, we wanted to again provide guidance offered by OCDEL, along with reminders for those in "red" counties. Please use this information even if your county is not yet moving to yellow to begin planning your next steps in preparation to reopen. We've also provided a list of counties that have already moved to yellow and those that Gov. Wolf announced will move to yellow on May 22. 

Be healthy and safe,

The PennAEYC Team


Cleaning Supplies and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

In a previous OCDEL update, two recommendations were made for providers having issues accessing cleaning supplies and items such as masks, thermometers, and gloves that are  no longer  accepting requests. Local emergency management agencies are no longer able to coordinate with child care on supplies requests. Similarly, the resources identified for Big House Productions (masks and cleaner) are no longer available.

The Department of Community and Economic Development has created a website to connect Pennsylvania business with those businesses able to meet supply requests. If you do not have an identified source of cleaning supplies or PPE, visit  here  or copy and paste this link:  https://dced.pa.gov/pennsylvania-covid-19-ppe-supplies-business-2-business-b2b-interchange-directory/  into your internet browser.


Reopen Guidance for Child Care Providers During COVID-19

Child care centers and group child care homes operating in non-residential buildings located in counties identified as  “Red” in the Governor’s Phased-In Approach to Reopen Business  may reopen under a waiver if they are providing services for families who work in life sustaining businesses. Child care programs seeking a waiver should complete the Exemption of  Directive to Temporary Close  form which is available by clicking  here . This is a quick and easy process.

Completed waiver forms should be emailed to OCDEL at  RA-PWDRACERT@PA.GOV . Child care certification staff will respond to requests as quickly as possible. Email subject line should read, “Waiver Request – (Insert County Name).

As counties are designated  “Yellow” in the Governor’s Phased-In Approach to Reopen Business,  they may choose to reopen without a waiver. OCDEL has prepared a webinar to review considerations and guidance on reopening. Child care providers preparing to open should continue to consult guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for child care that remains open. This guidance speaks to steps providers should take to keep child care spaces safe and properly monitor staff and children for potential exposure to and symptoms of COVID-19.

Currently, many stakeholders are looking for the Department of Health or Department of Human Services to issue guidance specific to Pennsylvania Child Care. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the most current and update information relating to COVID-19. As the CDC learns more about the virus, this guidance is routinely updated. As we continue to operate under the Red and Yellow Phases of reopening, this is the trusted source of information we are directing all providers to review.

Phased Reopening Information
Allegheny, Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Indiana, Somerset, Washington, and Westmoreland counties all moved into the yellow phase yesterday, while Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Union, Venango, and Warren counties have now been there for a week.
In addition, Gov. Wolf announced yesterday that the following counties will move to yellow on May 22: Adams, Beaver, Carbon, Columbia, Cumberland, Juniata, Mifflin, Perry, Susquehanna, Wyoming, Wayne, and York. 

Next Steps

Familiarize yourself with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  Guidance for Child Care Programs that Remain Open . This is the most current guidance as of May 7, 2020.

Watch  Child Care During COVID-19 and Reopening Child Care  with OCDEL Deputy Secretary, Tracey Campanini and Bureau of Certification Director, Tanya Vasquez

Watch the Pennsylvania Key developed webcasts to support your understanding of the CDC guidance
  • Group Child Care Centers That Remain Open from PA’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL)
b.   Slide Deck   (PDF)
  • Family Child Care Centers That Remain Open from PA’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL)
b.  Slide Deck   (PDF)

Conduct a self-assessment to ascertain your comfort and preparedness to open while remaining compliant with PA Child Care Certification Regulations and follow CDC guidance.

Communicate with families to ascertain both their need for child care and their understanding of any new operating procedures you will be adopting.

Discuss any concerns with your Certification Representative.

Notify Certification if you decide to remain closed either temporarily or permanently.

On-going Considerations
What we know about COVID-19 is developing rapidly and the CDC guidance is updated accordingly. OCDEL will continue to evaluate the guidance, as well as feedback from programs who continue to operate, and will update policies as needed to be as responsive as possible. All programs should:
  1. Continue to monitor the Certification listserv for additional information from OCDEL
  2. Continue to monitor the Pennsylvania Key Coronavirus page for additional webinars
  3. Continue to submit your health-related questions to hssco@pakeys.org
  4. Continue to communicate with your Certification Representative


PennAEYC COVID-19 Webpage
PennAEYC continues to update the COVID-19 page on our website with links to our previous e-messages and to OCDEL announcements and guidance. There are also links to NAEYC and other online resources.

Key Resources
We encourage you to continue to consult these resources for updates on COVID-19, information on staying healthy, and updates on the situation in Pennsylvania.

We also encourage you to visit  www.sharedsourcepa.org  for helpful resources that you can use with families and staff to reduce the level of anxiety, communicate what is known to be most appropriate health, hygiene and safety practices, as well as interim guidance for child care businesses.