Childcare During Covid-19

Childcare Restrictions and Health and Safety Rules
Who can currently be served in child care?Although some non-essential businesses are reopening, child care programs are currently only permitted to provide care to children of essential workers and children receiving protective daycare services authorized by the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). 

At least one parent for each child in care needs to complete Form 7265 to indicate which approved essential service they are providing as specified by the US Department of Homeland Security or the Texas Division of Emergency Management or complete Form 7264 to indicate they have been authorized by DFPS to receive protective day care services.
Are childcare centres allowed to care for children of non-essential workers?No, Public health needs indicate that child care operations may remain open only to serve children whose parent is considered an “essential” worker under the Governor’s executive order.  The Governor’s announcement on April 27th pertaining to newly re-opened businesses on May 1 does not change the requirement that a parent must certify that they work for an “essential” industry in order to be eligible to access child care.  Just because a business is now open does not necessarily mean that it is considered “essential.”  For more guidance on who is an “essential” worker, see the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in its Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce.
Health and safety social distancing requirements we must follow Currently, many of the public health restrictions in place for child care centers and homes in Travis County are still in place. Per the City/County control orders in place, child care programs in Austin and Travis County must continue, to the extent possible, to follow these requirements:Childcare must be carried out in stable groups of no more than 10 people (“stable” means that the same 10 or fewer children and caregivers are in the same group each day).Children 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. Groups shall not mix with each other.Childcare providers shall remain solely with one group of children.Morning and afternoon shifts are allowed for staff but no lunch cover or “floating staff”.  
Face coverings in child careThe City of Austin highly recommends the use of fabric face coverings or masks in the child care setting. It is recommended that teachers, staff, children over the age of 10, and parents dropping off and picking up children from care wear face coverings. Child care programs, if they choose, can implement their own policies to require these persons to use face coverings for the health and safety of staff and the families they serve. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. CDC guidance on safely using and making cloth face coverings can be found here. Some children find masks and face coverings scary. These tips can help children become more comfortable with masks.
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