COVID-19 Information

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As you are aware, the Coronavirus (2019-nCoV, aka COVID-19) has, since first appearing in China in 2019, spread throughout the world, including in every state in the U.S. This virus can lead to fever, cough and trouble breathing as well as possible death. Numerous vaccines designed to inoculate against the virus have been developed and are currently being administered. New York State is actively encouraging residents to vaccinate themselves and family members, take continued precautions, and remain informed on any developing news.

Child Care Providers

Child Care Subsidy Information

Child Care Subsidy Information in Regard to COVID-19

Effective immediately, local social services districts can expand the child care services they provide to families affected by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Districts may select from the following options:

  • extend the eligibility period,
  • expand the definition of a child needing protective services,
  • expand the number of allowable absences,
  • expand the number of program closures,
  • extend eligibility up to 85% of the state median income level,
  • waive family shares, and
  • make other requests related to eligibility and/or administration of the child care subsidy program.

To obtain a current waiver request form, local social services districts should contact the OCFS Subsidy Unit at ocfs.sm.districtsupport.subsidy@ocfs.ny.gov.

Dear Provider Letters

Dear Provider Letters Regarding COVID-19

Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 FAQ for Local Districts

OCFS has been receiving questions from local social services districts regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the administration of the child care subsidy program. This FAQ for Local Districts provides answers to some of the frequently asked questions.

COVID-19 FAQ for Day Care Providers

As part of our commitment to sharing information with child care programs regarding the challenges they are experiencing related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), OCFS has compiled answers to questions we have been receiving from the child care community.

Guidance Documents

Interim Guidance on COVID-19 Test-Out for Public and Non-Public Schools Located in Areas Designated as “Red or Orange Micro-Cluster Zones” Under the New York State Micro-Cluster Action Initiative

Under the authority of Executive Order 202.68, schools in red and orange zones must close in-person instruction for at least two weeks. On October 30, 2020, Governor Cuomo announced strict health guidelines, as detailed herein, for schools to reopen in red and orange cluster zones during this time in order to help keep schools in focus areas safely open to in person instruction. The guidelines require mass testing in schools before they reopen followed by intensive symptom and exposure screening conducted daily, as well as surveillance testing of 25% of the in-person student and faculty/staff weekly. New York State will provide rapid test kits upon request for schools wishing to participate.

Guidance for Child Care Programs Located in Schools That are in COVID Red, Orange or Yellow Zones

In response to concerns about increases in COVID-19 cases appearing in clusters within communities and regions of New York, Executive Order 202.68 mandated the New York State Department of Health (DOH) determine the areas of the State that require enhanced public health restrictions due to a cluster or clusters of COVID-19 cases. Once identified, DOH will classify the area based on the risk for compromising the States containment of the COVID-19 virus. Severe risk is identified as a “red zone”; moderate risk is identified as an “orange zone”; and precautionary risk is identified as a “yellow zone”.

New CDC Supplemental Guidance on Child Care

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has posted a Supplemental Guide for Child Care. Written in collaboration with the Offices of Child Care and Head Start for a variety of child care settings, this resource provides guidance specific to child care on issues such as:

  • Social distancing;
  • Child pick up and drop off procedures;
  • Cleaning and disinfecting of toys and bedding;
  • Safely caring for infants and toddlers; and
  • Food preparation and meal service

In addition, the Guidance document provides numerous links to resources that provide even greater detail, including information regarding children’s risks concerning the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Interim Guidance for Child Care and Day Camp Programs

The DOH interim guidance for child care and day care camp programs during the COVID-19 public health emergency has been updated to read:

  • Responsible Parties must limit groups to 15 or fewer children/campers, excluding employees/staff, in a specific area (e.g. room) at any given time.
  • Responsible Parties must ensure that different stable groups of up to 15 children/campers have no or minimal contact with one another or utilize common spaces at the same time, to the greatest extent possible.

Note: child care programs are still required to follow the staff/child ratios and maximum group sizes as set forth in regulation.

Related Forms

Updated Interim Testing Guidance: Protocol for COVID-19 testing with prioritization by job title/role

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) continues to monitor the situation and work to expand COVID-19 diagnostic and serologic testing for New Yorkers. The attached document broadens the circumstances in which essential workers may request a COVID test by contacting the state’s COVID 19 testing hotline.

Use of Cloth Masks in Public

Dear Provider:

On April 12, 2020, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.16. This order directs the use of face coverings by employees interacting with customers or members of the public. Specifically, for all essential businesses or entities, any employees who are present in the workplace shall be provided and shall wear face coverings when in direct interaction with customers or members of the public. Businesses must provide, at their expense, such face coverings for their employees. Child care programs are an essential business and therefore must comply with this directive.

Per the attached guidance, direct interaction “shall include any employee who is routinely within close contact (i.e. six feet or less) with members of the public, including but not limited to customers or clients”.

Effective at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 17, 2020 any individual who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a face-covering shall be required to cover their nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face-covering when in a public place and unable to maintain, or when not maintaining, social distance.

Interim Guidance on Executive Order 202.17 and 202.18 Requiring Face Coverings in Public During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Please continue to check OCFS website for updates/additional information on COVID response resources.

Legally-Exempt Informal Child Care Guidance

In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency and pursuant to Executive Order 202.5, issued by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on March 18, 2020, the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) has been granted the authority to waive certain background checks. This waiver allows legally exempt informal child care providers to enroll without completing the comprehensive background check process, subject to the certain conditions.

Legally-Exempt Informal Child Care Guidance: May 18 CC Guidance PDF

20-OCFS-INF-09 - COVID-19 Guidance to Child Care Providers

The purpose of this Informational Letter (INF) is to reiterate certain important information for child care providers necessary for them to continue operations during the current public health emergency.

Interim Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection for Congregate Settings for COVID-19

The Interim Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection directions are available as Word document for March 6, 2020 interim guidance and PDF document for March 6, 2020 interim guidance.

Guidance Regarding the Use of Cloth Face Coverings

New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) continues to study and respond to the spread and effects of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the COVID-19 disease.

Memo: Use of N95 Masks

Guidance: Use of N95 and Cloth Masks

20-OCFS-INF-08 - COVID-19 Guidance for Child Care Providers

The purpose of this Informational Letter (INF) is to reiterate certain important information for child care providers necessary for them to continue operations during the current public health emergency.

Download 20-OCFS-INF-08.

Download related forms:

Webinars

New Webinar Video Available

Child Care Providers and Federal Assistance: Small Business Administration Loans and Loan Forgiveness

Tom Copeland’s Small Business Administration Opportunities and Economic Relief for Child Care Providers webinar recorded on April 9, 2020 is available for viewing.

Go to the video of the webinar.

Parents

Parent Need for Care Survey

The parent need for care survey will no longer be active after July 10, 2020.

If you are a parent or caregiver who needs child care, please complete this parent need for child care survey. Based on the information you provide about your job, employer, number of children, and financial need, OCFS may be able to help you find the child program you need. It may be a challenge to find child care due to COVID-19 related program closures, however the staff at OCFS are trying their best to support families to find the high quality child care that they need.

National Diaper Bank for Parents to Access Diapers During this Challenging Time

If you or someone you know needs diapers, there may be assistance in your community.

To find out if an agency in your area provides diaper assistance to families in need, please call 2-1-1 on your phone or search online at 2-1-1.org. Specialist are available 24/7 to help identify local resources that may be able to help provide diapers and other basic necessities.

For more information wisit the National Diaper Bank.

Teachers

Teacher Toolkit Posters

Vaccination Stickers