Divisions of Early Care and Learning | Frequently Asked Questions, COVID-19

  • General and Operational Questions

    What are the current group size requirements?  

    On June 3, 2020,  Governor Polis announced that certain child care providers in Colorado may return to regular group sizes and licensed capacity as stated in Colorado child care licensing rules beginning Thursday, June 4. 

    This guidance is applicable to child care centers, family child care homes, and building-based school-age child care programs only. It is not applicable to camps. More information for camps is available below.

    More information about current guidelines in child care facilities can be found on CDPHE's COVID-19 website.

    A guide for child care providers on thinking through class composition and teacher assignments from the OEC can be found here

    What should child care providers do when a child ages out of a classroom since children are required to stay with a consistent group?

    In an effort to support children, families and facilities, the Department is allowing a 6-month extension for children to remain in one classroom to ensure children are staying with a consistent group. A waiver is not needed, but please notify your Licensing Specialist. 

    For example, when a child in the infant room turns 18 months old, they can remain in the infant classroom until they are 24 months old, or when a child in the toddler classroom turns 36 months old, they can remain in the toddler classroom until they turn 3.5 years old. 

    Family Child Care Home with an Infant/Toddler license may care for children until 3 years 6 months under this age extension.

    What about guidance for summer camps?

    All overnight camps, including exempt overnight camps operating for less than 72 hours; and day camps,  including mobile and outdoor camps, and exempt single skill-building camps, must operate with restrictions and strong precautionary measures, as specified in the guidance below.
     

    CDPHE Guidance for Residential Camps.

    CDPHE Guidance for Children's Day Camps and Youth Sports Camps

    Is the guidance in the Safer at Home EO recommended or required? 

    The public health order implements the requirements from Executive Order D 2020 044 Safer at Home, and the guidance materials then provide additional explanation.  Reading the public health order carefully will provide a better understanding of what is required, and unless the terms used are optional, such as may, urged or encouraged, the actions listed in the public health order are required.


    How should child care providers determine if they should close?

    On March 18, 2020, the Governor issued an executive order that required all schools in Colorado to “suspend normal, in-person instruction” from March 23 to April 17. This includes public preschools on public school campuses. 

    The executive order also directed local public health agencies to work with child care providers and preschools not operated by P-12 schools to determine if it is safe to continue operations.

    Note that Amended Executive Order D 2020 035 has changed the minimum time period a child care facility must close if there is a positive or suspected case of COVID-19 in a student, parent of a student, or staff member at the facility from 72 hours to 24 hours. During this closure a facility should conduct a thorough cleaning as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

    According to CDPHE, open child care facilities must ensure the guidelines provided by the CDC and CDPHE are implemented to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Both the CDC and CDPHE continue to update their webpages with guidance on cleaning, preparedness, closure and much more. These public health resources remain the best source of information to ensure the safety of children and staff. 


    What cleaning procedures should child care providers follow to help limit the spread of COVID-19?

    Facilities should follow cleaning procedures as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This resource remains the best source of information to ensure the safety of children and staff. 
     

    Should children and providers wear masks and gloves in child care facilities? 

    Updated information from CDPHE regarding masks in child care facilities can be found on their page related to schools and child care facilities

    Public Health Order 20 26 requires workers in critical businesses (including child care) to wear non-medical face coverings while working, and provides additional guidance on the use of gloves. More information is available here
     

    Where can child care programs get personal protective equipment (PPE)?

    The Department ordered 33,000 masks for child care staff and has partnered with the Early Childhood Councils to distribute these and other supplies to providers. They should be available the first week of May. Child care programs should reach out to their local Early Childhood Council to obtain masks.


    How can providers access needed supplies that may be hard to purchase at this time?

    Essential baby supplies, including formula, diapers and baby wipes, are being distributed to local Family Resource Centers and food banks throughout Colorado. These regional locations will help arrange the distribution of supplies to child care providers and families in need. If you are in need of these items, please click here to find the contact information for the local distribution site closest to you.
     

    Is food assistance available?

    Yes. Providers can access food assistance through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). More information is available here.   

    If you are a Family Child Care Home, please view the CACFP Cost  Help for Family Child Care Homes flyer.

    For a list of CACFP sponsors in your area (you will need to contact a sponsor to apply) click HERE.
     

    Can mothers nurse in child care program buildings?

    Nursing mothers should be accommodated as much as possible.  A quiet space away from other children that also can provide social distancing should be provided. CDC guidance to promote and support breastfeeding is available here.   


    Where can I find updates on COVID-19 and learn more about how to respond to the virus?

    For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Colorado please visit the State’s COVID-19 website, covid19.colorado.gov.

    Any questions or concerns surrounding COVID-19 should be directed to CDPHE's Colorado Health Emergency Line for the Public (CO HELP)  at 303.389.1687 or 1.877.462.2911, for answers in many languages, or COHELP@RMPDC.org for answers in English.
  • Questions Related to Child Care

    What do I do if my CPR/First Aid training or certifications is due to expire? 

    CPR/First Aid classes have now resumed with small in person training.  Here is a link to the approved CPR/First Aid vendor list, on our website to assist with finding a trainer. Find a trainer.

    Can my Child Care Health Consultant visit my program remotely during the Safer at Home period? 

    Yes, this is strongly recommended. Child Care Health Consultants are encouraged to visit programs remotely using TeleHealth or other video-based consulting services. 


    Is the Office of Early Childhood still conducting fingerprinting and background checks? 

    Fingerprinting with Colorado Fingerprinting and IDEMIA is still continuing at this time. They are monitoring staffing needs daily and are adjusting as necessary. Due to the temporary suspension of fingerprinting at some locations, at this time it is best for individuals needing fingerprinting to reach out directly to the specific fingerprinting agency for the most up to date information. 

    Colorado Fingerprinting (833) 224-2227 OR (720) 292-2722 or IDEMIA (855) 845-7434 
  • Questions Related to the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP)

    What are individual county policies regarding CCCAP?

    View a link here to learn more about policies in each county. 
     

    What is happening with CCCAP funding? Will counties be able to continue to pay providers who decided to close? 

    The Governor has issued an executive order that directs CDHS to access additional federal Child Care Development Funds to reimburse counties that pay providers through the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) for absences or closures as a result of COVID-19. The Governor has also encouraged counties to continue to fund CCCAP child care centers who are experiencing low attendance or temporary closures to ensure consistency for child care providers and to protect the vital role they play for children and families. The Department has identified funding for these provisions through June 2020, with the possibility of extension if the outbreak continues. 


    If a county wants to temporarily change its policy to accommodate the needs of providers and families in their community, what should they do? 

    Counties can submit a new County Rate Plan in CHATS or send an email to Tamara Schmidt, CCCAP Director at Tamara.Schmidt@state.co.us that provides a detailed explanation of what will be implemented and the effective dates.

    Are counties able to provide incentives to providers using CCQI money? If so, how would they access those funds?

    Incentive payments for providers are not allowed but a county can choose to transfer county TANF reserves to child care quality to provide support to providers for supplies or other necessary needs. This would be done through a quality transfer request
  • Questions Related to the Early Childhood Councils

    How will the state and OEC ensure they communicate Colorado Shines updates to councils that support local programs?

    The Office of Early Childhood will continue to send regular communications and updates via the Weekly ECC and CCR&R newsletter and additional notices as needed. In addition, the QRIS team will be implementing regular check-in calls with councils. Please reach out to your QRIS Coordinator for more information.  


    If a provider chooses to stay open and children and/or families become ill are they legally liable? 

    Because child care programs have different liability coverage, providers are encouraged to talk with their insurance carriers to determine what their specific policy covers.   


    Where should I direct families who are in need of child care? 

    Early Childhood Councils should encourage families that have child care needs to contact Colorado Shines Child Care Referral using any of the following methods: 

    How can providers access needed supplies that may be hard to purchase at this time?

    Essential baby supplies, including formula, diapers and baby wipes, are being distributed to local Family Resource Centers and food banks throughout Colorado. These regional locations will help arrange the distribution of supplies to child care providers and families in need. If you are in need of these items, please click here to find the contact information for the local distribution site closest to you.


    Will changes be made to CCCAP reimbursements for providers to support providers if children aren’t attending?  

    The decision to reimburse CCCAP child care providers for additional absences is determined by County Human Services Departments. The Colorado Department of Human Services and the Office of Early Childhood are encouraging counties to maintain expanded absence payments through the month of June for all licensed providers, this would include providers that are open to care for children or providers that have had to close temporarily.

    We also want to encourage county offices to gather information from child care providers that have not yet reopened regarding if they intend to reopen in the coming weeks.  The Department recommends that as of July 1, 2020 expanded absences only be paid to providers that have reopened to provide child care services to CCCAP families unless the county has identified that a child care provider has extenuating circumstances hindering their ability to reopen in July.   
     

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, we are asking that all licensed child care providers register their current operating status with the Department as soon as possible. This includes whether you are open or temporarily closed, as well as other information about open operating capacity such as classroom and available staff. You can register your current status on the Colorado Shines website here.

Click here to find a link to the OEC's webinar on business support for child care providers, along with additional resources

Update | July 15, 2020

What do I do if my CPR/First Aid training or certifications is due to expire? 

CPR/First Aid classes have now resumed with small in person training.  Here is a link to the approved CPR/First Aid vendor list, on our website to assist with finding a trainer. Find a trainer