A goal of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) is to ensure that children and teachers remain safe and healthy in the state's early care and learning programs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Working families need to feel confident that their children are receiving quality early care and learning and they need consistent access to these resources throughout the ups and downs of the COVID-19 pandemic.
NC DHHS has revised its COVID-19 policies and guidelines to more align with North Carolina’s K-12 guidelines while keeping the youngest children safe.
The January 2022 edition of the ChildCareStrongNC Public Health Toolkit includes the following updates:
- Replaced term “face covering” with term “mask” throughout the document.
- Included language throughout to address COVID-19 vaccine, including availability to children ages 5 and older and booster/additional doses.
- Page 6: Added requirement that parent/legal guardian (including parents who are breastfeeding) and regulatory agencies be allowed access to facility.
- Page 8: Added new testing recommendations for various scenarios.
- Page 8: Added definition of diagnosis with COVID-19 through diagnostic testing or by a health care professional.
- Page 10: Added new timeframes for returning to child care following exclusion
- Note that for any scenario where mask wearing is required for early return, the mask must be both close fitting AND worn covering the nose and mouth at all times except when sleeping or actively eating or drinking.
- Page 10-11: Revised requirements for exemption to exclusion after exposure to include:
- Vaccinated individuals must be up-to-date on vaccinations, which includes the primary series of vaccinations and any additional doses / boosters for which they are eligible.
- Revised requirements for exemption to exclusion after exposure to include vaccinated individuals must be up-to-date on vaccinations, which includes the primary series of vaccinations and any additional doses / boosters for which they are eligible.
- Page 12: Revised Summary Table for Returning to Child Care to include new exclusion, isolation, and quarantine guidance and exemptions from exclusion based on updated CDC guidance.
- Page 13: Removed scenarios related to exclusion for household members of individuals who have not yet been diagnosed with COVID-19 by a health care professional.
If you have questions about these updates, please contact your child care health consultant.