Guidance for Childcare Centers

At this time (please note this is subject to change) the Joplin Health Department does not recommend child care centers close. Child care centers serve a vitally important function in allowing parents to continue to work, which has significant public health and social benefits. It is encouraged if families have a parent at home not working to keep those children at home to free up potential spots that may be needed for children of healthcare workers and emergency personnel. This guidance would change if there were a case of COVID in the child care facility. 

Facilities should implement the following measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the child care setting:

  • Teach and reinforce healthy hygiene practices.
    • Enforce hand washing strategies including washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.  If soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly dirty, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
    • Ensure adequate supplies (soap, paper towels, hand sanitizer, tissue) to support healthy hygiene practices. 
  • Intensify cleaning and disinfection efforts.
    • Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (doorknobs, light switches, counter tops, tables) with the cleaners typically used.  Use all cleaning products according to the directions on the label.
    • Clean dirty surfaces with soap and water OR bottled ready-to-use cleaner first. 
    • AFTER cleaning, disinfect surfaces to kill the virus and allow to dry completely.  On hard surfaces, use bottled disinfectants like Clorox Cleaner with Bleach, Lysol or mix your own according to sanitation guidelines. 
  • Monitor and plan for absenteeism.
    • Review the usual absenteeism patterns at your school among both children and staff. 
    • Alert local public health department about large increases in children and staff absenteeism. 
  • Require sick students and staff to stay home. 
    • Establish procedures to ensure students and staff who become sick at school or arrive sick are sent home as soon as possible.  Keep sick children and staff separate from well children and staff until they can leave. 
  • Implement social distancing strategies.
    • Cancel activities and events such as field trips, special performances, parent meetings, etc. 
    • Avoid mixing students in common areas.  For example, have children eat breakfast and lunch in their classrooms.
    • Limit other activities where multiple classrooms interact. 
    • Stagger playground use rather than allowing multiple classes to play together. 
    • Limit the presence of volunteers for classroom activities, guest speakers, etc. 

For more information