Recent federal legislation, the CARES Act, provides several forms of economic relief for small businesses, including child care.
Updated: May 13, 2021
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While the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) supports continued child care operations, the Department recognizes that some licensees may make the difficult decision to temporarily close. Factors to consider include:
KDHE requests that licensees notify their local licensing surveyor when temporarily closing their facility and to let the surveyor know when the facility re-opens.
Updated: April 3, 2020
No. In the absence of more restrictive guidance from the state or local public health officer to prevent the spread of COVID-19, you are not required to close. However, you may choose to close based on your specific situation as stated above. Licensees are encouraged to remain in close communication with their local public health department as situations regarding COVID-19 are changing frequently. For additional information, refer to the Interim Guidance for Child Care Facilities licensed by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
Yes. Strong practices for screening for signs and symptoms of illness, exclusion policies, and increased sanitation are essential. These provisions are in place in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. When enrolling new children and hiring new staff, screen by asking appropriate questions. At a minimum, consider the following:
Is anyone showing signs of illness and symptoms?
Yes. To reduce the number of individuals touching serving dishes and utensils it is permissible to temporarily discontinue the practice of children passing and serving themselves. Staff should continue to sit with children during meals and encourage socialization.
Yes, please complete the short survey available on the KDHE Child Care Licensing homepage to notify KDHE of the temporary closure and provide this update to your local licensing surveyor. Be sure to complete the reopen survey, also available on the KDHE Child Care Licensing homepage, and notify your local licensing surveyor when you reopen.
Yes, you may renew your license. We strongly recommend renewing at this time to prevent future delays. KDHE staff are available to process applications and to issue renewal licenses.
Added: April 13, 2020
KDHE license renewals are no longer waived. Outstanding child care renewal applications were due by June 16, 2021.
Updated: June 24, 2021
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) continues to request initial surveys and issue licenses. KDHE has the authority to issue a second temporary permit when deemed necessary. If more time is needed to complete the initial survey, a second temporary permit will be issued. Pursuant to EO 20-19 the second temporary permit will remain effective until an initial survey is completed and a license is issued or for 90 days following termination of the emergency declaration (date not yet determined), whichever comes first.
If a licensed facility is located in a school building that is currently closed, you will need approval from the school district and the local public health officer in order to continue operating at that location. Programs are only authorized to operate at the location printed on the license.
We recognize that in some areas access to certain foods and supplies continues to be an issue. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has been working with our statewide partners to identify needs and troubleshoot solutions. Many communities are already addressing the problem locally through partnerships with local public health and emergency managers. Start by contacting your local licensing surveyor and resource and referral agency to see if they can assist you in connecting with local resources. Your local school district may also be able to connect you. The response to these needs may vary by community.
There are no waivers or exceptions to processes or regulations in place related to the COVID-19 response. This includes issuing temporary licenses for an existing facility to operate in an alternate location.
KDHE has not set enrollment criteria beyond what is permitted by regulation and under the terms of your license. It is important to keep in mind that local health officials have the authority to apply more restrictions to child care operations (e.g., who can be served, group size, etc.) than the state/KDHE when not otherwise stated in an Executive Order.
The total capacity, as stated on the license, is the maximum number of children that may be present at the facility at one time. Licensees may further limit the number of children based on their own unique situation and ability to meet the health and safety needs of the children in care.
In the absence of more restrictive guidance from state or local health officials, new enrollment is permitted in accordance to the terms of the current license (ages of children, group sizes, total capacity, etc.).
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is not putting limits on group size for child care because the Governor’s Executive Orders have exempted child care from these requirements. In the absence of more restrictive guidance from state or county public health officials, facilities may continue to operate within the terms of the current license. Local health officials may enforce more restrictive requirements to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
As a public health matter and in order to meet goals to reduce the spread of infection, following foundational health and safety requirements are protective measures for all--child care providers/staff, the children in care, and families (caregiver’s and children’s). For this reason, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) will not be granting exceptions to exceed license capacity or eliminate other health and safety requirements related to COVID-19 response.
In the absence of more restrictive guidance from state or local health officials, the provisions of the existing regulation (K.A.R. 28-4-114(j)(2)) apply. In addition to the number of children permitted under the terms of the license, K.A.R. 28-4-114(j) authorizes two additional school age children to be present full days during scheduled or emergency school closures. As authorized by the regulation, two additional school age children may be present in the licensed day care home/group day care home if a school district adopts a hybrid attendance model (part time in the classroom/part time remote learning) or a fully remote learning environment model during the 2020-2021 school year.
The Kansas State of Emergency expired on June 15, 2021. Licensees must submit the necessary request for background checks for individuals working, regularly volunteering, or residing in the facility. Fingerprinting must be completed. All affiliates required to have a comprehensive background check are now required to complete fingerprinting pursuant to K.S.A. 65-516.
New prints are required if staff previously working for school districts are transitioning to work in licensed child care facilities. The reason for this is that background check information cannot be shared between agencies or businesses (in this case, school and child care) and each may have specific prohibitions mandated by law. Keep in mind that individuals transferring from one licensed child care facility to another licensed facility would not need to be fingerprinted if they had previously passed a fingerprint-based background check.
Yes. To accommodate the needs of parents, effective August 10, 2020 licensed school age programs may permit children attending kindergarten this fall to attend their program prior to the official start of the school year. Licensed capacity and staff/child ratios must be maintained at all times. At the start of the 2020-2021 school year, school age programs must revert to the terms of their current license.
Yes. Children may remain in the preschool unit until the start of the school year provided that the unit capacity and staff/child ratios are met. As an alternative, effective August 10, 2020 centers with units for kindergarten enrollees or school age units may transition children scheduled to attend school this fall to the next appropriate unit. Licensed capacity and staff/child ratios must be maintained at all times. At the start of the 2020-2021 school year, child care centers must revert to the terms of their current license.
Many training partners, including Child Care Aware of Kansas and Kansas Child Care Training Opportunities, are offering KDHE-approved initial health and safety training online.
The Kansas State of Emergency expired on June 15, 2021. Beginning August 17, 2021 all requirements related to this training must be completed, current and on file.
Updated: June 24, 2021
Yes. In response to this outbreak, you may adopt social distancing practices intended to limit exposure to COVID-19. This may include asking parents to wait at the door or otherwise limit movement within the licensed premises.
Note: Be sure that all parents are aware of your practice/procedure and that you apply the practice uniformly across all families. For additional information, please see the comprehensive guidance for licensed child care facilities.
Updated: April 14, 2020
Many training partners offer KDHE-approved professional development training online. However, pursuant to EO 20-19 licensees and staff will have 90 days following the termination of the emergency declaration (date to be determined) to complete the annual professional development/in-service training hours required to renew the license.
Note: Be sure to remain current on the KDHE recommendations for screening as well as quarantine and isolation of travelers, continuously updated on the COVID-19 Resource Center. Additional information related to screening for symptoms of illness information is included in the Interim Guidance for Child Care Facilities on the COVID-19 (PDF). Additional information pertaining to isolation, quarantine, and travel is also available via our Isolation & Quarantine FAQs. Information about travel guidelines is also available through our Isolation & Quarantine Toolkit.
Screen children and staff for signs and symptoms as outlined above before daily admittance and monitor health throughout the day. In addition to asking the questions above, observe children and staff for signs of illness and check for fever. For more information, review the guidance for licensed child care facilities available on the COVID-19 Resource Microsite (https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/) under the Child Care and Foster Care tab.
In the absence of more restrictive guidance from state or county public health officials, there is nothing special a facility needs to do if children from other counties with confirmed cases are receiving care in a facility or if children being served are those of health care/emergency workers. The same guidance for screening for signs and symptoms of illness and exclusion apply.
First, review and update your current policies for the exclusion of sick children and staff as necessary. Determine how screenings will be conducted prior to entry and how health will be monitored throughout the day. Make sure that parents of children in care and staff are aware and follow the policies.
a fever greater than 100.4 degrees (F)
shortness of breath
sudden loss of smell or taste
other signs of illness (headache, sore throat, general aches/pains, fatigue/weakness/extreme exhaustion)
Current information about when individuals with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should stay home is available on the COVID-19 Resource Microsite and on the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html.
Updated: April 24, 2020
Immediately notify the local health department and your local licensing surveyor if someone who is infected (child, staff or resident of family child care home) has been in the licensed facility. The local health department will help determine a course of action for the facility.
To reduce the spread of illnesses, including COVID-19, it is important to intensify cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces and frequently touched items, including but not limited to doorknobs, light switches, handrails, toys, furnishings, playground structures, and other frequently touched or shared items. In addition to the guidance for licensed child care facilities and the COVID-19 Cleaning & Disinfection Guidance: Non-Healthcare Settings available on the KDHE COVID-19 Resource Microsite, Caring for Our Children, National Health and Safety Performance Standards (https://nrckids.org/CFOC) has nationally recognized standards for cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfection of child care facilities. The CDC has detailed information at Cleaning and Disinfecting and a list of EPA products is available at https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2. When choosing products be sure to read the label and carefully follow directions.
Yes, diluted bleach may be used. However, before purchasing bleach or a bleach product read the label. Some bleaches, for example Splash-less®, are only intended for laundry use, not for sanitizing or disinfecting.
Refer parents to the Child Care Aware website or toll-free number 877-678-2548 for assistance with searching for child care in their area. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has online information system that serves as a tool to support families in making informed child care choices and can be used to review compliance history of a current or potential child care provider. The online tool is an important step to verifying that a facility is licensed and provides compliance history for parents and guardians.
Providers are individual operators/licensees and set their own rates and policies regarding fee payments. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and local public health officials have no authority to set rates or limits on fees.
Please contact your DCF Provider Enrollment staff or call 1-822-765-2003.
The CACFP program utilized by many licensed child care facilities is administered through the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE). Current information about the program, including guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic, is available on the CACFP website.
For more information about local licensing contacts, visit the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) Child Care Licensing website and click on Local County Contacts.
There are no waivers or exceptions to processes or regulations in place related to COVID-19 response. This includes issuing a temporary license. For more information about applying to become licensed, contact your local licensing surveyor to start the process. For more information about local licensing contacts, visit the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) Child Care Licensing website and click on Local County Contacts.
Note: A license is not required for:
Both the CDC and KDHE recommend the use of masks in public and other settings where physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain. KDHE recommends wearing a mask that fits snuggly around the nose, mouth and chin and has multiple layers of fabric. Alternatively, a thinner disposable mask may be worn underneath a cloth face mask to improve the fit. For more information, visit https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/DocumentCenter/View/441/KDHE-MaskGuidance-PDF---3-1-21. Local health officials and employers can apply additional health and safety requirements, including the use of masks in child care settings. When masks are worn, care should be taken to avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth when removing and to wash hands immediately after removing. Masks should be washed frequently. Staff wearing masks should consider the speech and language skills of young children as visual access to caregivers’ mouths is critical to infant/toddler speech development. Additionally, be aware that young children may try to touch or remove the mask from their caregiver which could result in contamination. Licensees should consult with parents before routinely requiring 9 | Page 3/11/2021 10:01 AM children in care to wear a mask. If feasible and necessary, children two years of age and older may safely wear masks once they are able to: put one on and remove it without assistance and are able to avoid touching or sucking on it. Masks should not be placed on anyone—adult or child—who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove their mask without assistance. More information about the use of masks and facial coverings is available on the KDHE COVID-19 Resource Center and CDC website. CDC also has specific Guidance for Child Care Programs that Remain Open. A note about face shields (made of see-through material and covering the entire face): KDHE is not recommending that face shields be routinely used by young children in child care settings, with or without a mask. CDC does not recommend the use of a face shield for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for masks. Additionally, CDC guidance specifically states that plastic face shields for newborns and infants are NOT recommended. It isn’t known if face shields provide any benefit as a control measure to protect others from the spray of respiratory particles. Some adults may choose to use a face shield when sustained close contact with others is expected. If used without a mask, a face shield should wrap around the sides of the individual’s face and extend below the chin. Disposable face shields should only be used one time. Reusable face shields should be cleaned and disinfected after each use.
Notify the local health department and your local licensing surveyor if someone in the facility (child, staff or resident of a family child care home) has been notified that they are a close contact of someone with COVID-19. The local health department will help determine a course of action for the facility.
Child care providers were eligible for vaccination in Phase 2 of the vaccination schedule and as of March 29, Kansas has been in Phase 5, meaning anyone 16+ is now eligible to receive the vaccine. The Kansas COVID-19 Vaccination Plan and weekly updates are available at COVID-19 Vaccine | KDHE COVID-19. Information from the CDC is available at COVID-19 Vaccination | CDC.
Updated May 13, 2021
Yes. If you have been fully vaccinated the CDC recommends that you continue to wear a mask when in an indoor public setting and when gathering with unvaccinated people (including children) from more than one other household. For the most up to date guidance regarding how to protect yourself and others when you have been fully vaccinated go to the KDHE COVID-19 Resource Center and CDC website.