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Florida Department of Health Guidance for Child Care Providers

December 30, 2020

Reducing the Spread

Effective strategies for preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the facility include:

  • Keep people more than 6 feet apart.
  • Intensify cleaning and disinfection efforts, including devising a schedule, and focusing on toys, games, and other objects and surfaces that are frequently used.
  • Modify drop-off and pick-up procedures to include thorough screening.
  • Maintain an adequate ratio of staff to children to ensure safety.
  • Children and childcare providers shall not change from one group to another.
  • If more than one group of children is cared for at one facility, each group shall be in a separate room and not mix or interact with each other.
  • Immediate exclusion of anyone who is symptomatic(1), who has tested positive for COVID-19, or who is a close contact to a case of COVID-19.

Cases of COVID-19

Once a case of COVID-19 is identified among the child care program attendees or staff, providers should identify all close contacts associated with the facility who had exposure to the case during the infectious period. A case is typically considered to be infectious from 48 hours before symptoms first appeared (or date of first positive laboratory test for people without symptoms) and up to 10 days later.

A close contact is any individual who was within 6 feet of the case for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more during a 24-hour period or had contact with the case’s body fluids and/or secretions (for example, being coughed or sneezed on, sharing of a drink or food utensils).

Childcare providers should notify parents/guardians and other relevant contacts of the exposure. In addition, the facility should temporarily close the areas where the COVID-19 case was and disinfect. Additionally, providers should work closely with the local county health department staff to facilitate contact tracing by providing a line list of known contacts and their phone numbers.

Return to Child Care

  • Cases of COVID-19 should be allowed to return to the facility after meeting the following criteria:
  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared and
  • At least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
  • Symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) have improved.

For cases of COVID-19 who were never symptomatic, they should be allowed to return after at least 10 days have passed since the date of their positive lab test.

Please note that based on the recommendation from a healthcare professional, persons with severe illness or patients who are severely immunocompromised may need to be isolated for 20 days.

Close contacts to cases of COVID-19 should be allowed to return after their quarantine period. The recommended quarantine for COVID-19 is 14 days from their last date of exposure to the case. There are additional options that reduce the quarantine period for asymptomatic close contacts. An alternative quarantine option that asymptomatic close contacts may follow includes being tested by PCR on Day 6 or later. If negative, they may leave quarantine after Day 7. Without testing, quarantine can end after Day 10, if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring. In both of these scenarios, individuals should continue to monitor for symptoms and practice social distancing, good hand hygiene, correct and consistent mask use, etc. through Day 14. Close contacts who develop symptoms within the 14 days should seek medical care and testing. Once the contact’s symptoms resolve, if they test PCR-negative for COVID-19 on Day 6 or later after exposure, the contact may return to the facility and activities after the 7-day quarantine period ends. If the symptomatic contact tests positive or does not seek testing at all, then the individual is considered a case and should follow the release from isolation guidance for cases of COVID-19 as stated above.


Please contact your county health department with questions and for assistance in contact tracing.

Hand Washing VideoFlyer 1 (Spanish version) and Flyer 2

CDC Child Care Guidance

DCF FAQ for Child Care Providers

(1) If the sick child or adult is evaluated by a medical provider, tests negative by PCR for SARS-CoV-2 and is not a known close contact to a case of COVID-19, then they can return 24 hours after resolution of fever and other symptoms.

Click here to download the informational flyer for the Florida Department of Health.