Updated COVID-19 Health Guidance for Child Care and Out-of-School-Time Care
The Vermont Department of Health has revised the COVID-19 health guidance for child care programs and out-of-school-time care programs, and many of the changes are effective May 1st or as reflected in the Vermont Forward guidelines. You can access the guidance here: https://www.healthvermont.gov/covid-19/your-community/child-care-programs
Since this guidance was last published, our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 has significantly evolved. Programs have operated under extraordinary conditions, gaining real-world, on the ground experience in preventing and responding to cases of COVID-19. With that in mind, the role of this document and the importance of some of the requirements and recommendations have changed. Additionally, we are well into the nation’s vaccine campaign and expect the majority of individuals 16 and older to be vaccinated by early summer. Lastly, the Governor has announced his Vermont Forward Plan which establishes the roadmap to Vermont’s full reopening.
Prequalified Prekindergarten Programs must follow the Vermont Agency of Education and Vermont Forward guidance for the classrooms that receive public education funding. Private programs may adopt their own approach related to this guidance for any classroom that does not receive public education funding.
**NEW - Additional Clarification of Guidance**
In response to a frequently asked question about child care and masking outdoors, the Vermont Department of Health provided the following:
Following the Vermont Forward Plan, the masking policy requires masks outdoors when you are in a crowd or with other households where you can’t maintain a 6-foot distance. Given that children in child care are with other households and generally not able to maintain a 6-foot distance, they should be masked outdoors. This will be revisited as we enter each new step of the Vermont Forward Plan.