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What are the safety guidelines for child care centers? Is there financial support for child care costs?

Last Updated: 03/07/2022

Child care centers are open for all clients.

If you need help finding child care, contact your local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) Agency.

Masks

On March 7th, 2022, the indoor mask requirement for child care centers was lifted. Child care centers can independently choose to implement their own universal masking policies.

In general, people do not need to wear masks when outdoors. However, centers may encourage the use of masks during outdoor activities that involve sustained close contact with other individuals or during periods of high community transmission

Vaccination/Testing Requirement for Personnel

All part-time and full-time staff at child care centers are required to be fully vaccinated or submit to ongoing weekly testing by November 1st, 2021, pursuant to Executive Order No. 264. Impacted child care personnel include:

  • Administrators,
  • Teachers,
  • Individuals providing food, custodial, and administrative support services, and
  • Contractors, providers, and any other individuals performing work in child care centers whose job duties require them to make regular visits, including volunteers.

Additional Safety Guidelines

Child care centers must follow all safety guidelines detailed by the Department of Children and Families and the Department of Health, including:

  • Childcare centers are required to follow screening and admittance requirements for each visitor, staff member, and child prior to entering or being admitted to the center each day.
  • Anyone who has a fever or other signs of COVID-19 illness as outlined in the Daily Screening Log should be promptly isolated and excluded from the facility.
  • Children and staff who are COVID-19 positive must not return until they have met the criteria for discontinuing home isolation.
  • Ill individuals with COVID-19 compatible symptoms who have not been tested and do not have an alternative diagnosis from their healthcare provider or individuals who tested positive for COVID19 should stay home for at least 10 days since symptom onset AND at least 24 hours have passed after resolution of fever without fever reducing medications AND symptoms have improved.
  • For full details on COVID-19 exposure and exclusion protocols, refer to the NJ Department of Health's Guidance for Childcare Programs.
  • Maintaining physical distance is often not feasible in childcare programs and among younger children in general. When it is not possible to maintain physical distance in this setting, it is especially important to layer multiple prevention strategies (i.e., cohorting, masking indoors, handwashing).
  • Cohorting can be used to limit the number of children and staff who come in contact with each other, especially when it's challenging to maintain physical distancing, such as among young children.

For further details, see the NJ Department of Health's Public Health Recommendations for Childcare programs and the Department of Children and Families' COVID-19 resources for licensed childcare.

Support for Child Care Costs

New Jersey's Child Care Subsidy Program can help lower-income families who are working, in training, in school, or a combination of these activities to pay a portion of their child care.

For more information and how to apply, visit childcarenj.gov.

Support for Child Care Centers

Grants are available to child centers to manage added operational costs due to new COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. Eligible child care centers can apply for grants through the New Jersey Child Care Information System.

Sources: https://www.childcarenj.gov/Resources/Coronavirus, https://www.nj.gov/dcf/coronavirus_licensedchildcare.html, Guidance for New Jersey Child Care Facilities on COVID-19 Related Health and Safety Requirements;