Childcare Operations in Relation to COVID-19
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) supports continuity of operations for licensed child care facilities at this time (centers, preschools, daycare homes, and school-age programs). Child care facilities may continue to accept new enrollees in accordance with the terms of their license. However, depending on the unique and changing situations of each community, local public health officers may implement more restrictive guidance and provisions for child care facilities, up to and including closure, within their authority and jurisdiction. In addition, child care providers may independently decide to temporarily close based on their own situation.
Child care facilities/providers should direct all questions to their local child care surveyor. Surveyors will coordinate efforts and communication with local public health officials to provide guidance based on the rapidly changing situation at the community level. It is very important that you obtain information and guidance specific to your situation at the local level.
The FAQ related to masks is as follows:
Q. Should staff wear masks when caring for children?
A. Both the CDC and KDHE recommend the use of masks in public and other settings where physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain. KDHE specifically recommends that adults in licensed child care settings wear masks. Local health officials and employers can apply additional health and safety requirements, including the use of masks in child care settings. When masks are worn, care should be taken to avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth when removing and to wash hands immediately after removing. Masks should be washed frequently. Staff wearing masks should consider the speech and language skills of young children as visual access to caregivers’ mouths is critical to infant/toddler speech development. Additionally, be aware that young children may try to touch or remove the mask from their caregiver which could result in contamination. Licensees should consult with parents before routinely requiring children in care to wear a mask. If feasible and necessary, children two years of age and older may safely wear masks once they are able to: put one on and remove it without assistance and are able to avoid touching or sucking on it. Masks should not be placed on anyone—adult or child— who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove their mask without assistance.
A note about face shields(made of see-through material and covering the entire face):KDHE is not recommending that face shields be routinely used by young children in child care settings, with or without a mask. CDC does not recommend the use of a face shield for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for masks. Additionally, CDC guidance specifically states that plastic face shields for newborns and infants are NOT recommended. It isn’t known if face shields provide any benefit as a control measure to protect others from the spray of respiratory particles. Some adults may choose to use a face shield when sustained close contact with others is expected. If used without a mask, a face shield should wrap around the sides of the individual’s face and extend below the chin. Disposable face shields should only be used one time. Reusable face shields should be cleaned and disinfected after each use.