February 1, 2022 | Child Care Update


The Early Learning Division (ELD), in partnership with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), is adjusting guidance for quarantine and isolation periods from 10 days to five days in licensed child care settings only if an entire classroom or group wears masks. The change was made after the Centers for Disease Control announced new guidance for child care on January 28, 2022.

ELD and OHA highly recommends all individuals ages two and older wear masks. All individuals who are kindergarten-age and older are required to wear masks. If an entire classroom or group does not wear masks, quarantine and isolation remains at 10 days.  

“We know the 10-day period has been difficult for families to manage and has affected business operations for providers,” said Oregon Early Learning System Director Alyssa Chatterjee. “This adjustment should give greater flexibility to help respond to COVID-19 cases in care, while still keeping a focus on safety.” 

Other key child care guidance points include the following:  

  • Individuals who are up-to-date with vaccination/booster or have had COVID-19 in the last 90 days do not need to quarantine. They should monitor for symptoms.   
  • In programs where there is not universal masking, and if significant hardship from a program closure would result from staff quarantining or isolating for 10 days, programs should consult with their Local Public Health Authority about crisis staffing strategies.
  • Child care programs may not completely eliminate quarantine with negative tests and universal masks at this time. Increasing access to tests for staff and children remains a goal of OHA. 

UPDATED FEBRUARY 3, 2022 for language clarity

Frequently Asked Questions about isolation and quarantine in child care: 

Q: What are the quarantine and isolation guidelines for child care settings? – Updated September 26, 2022

Due to declining COVID-19 case rates and high levels of immunity, Oregon Health Authority has removed the quarantine requirement for individuals exposed to COVID-19 in child care and K-12 settings. Individuals who test positive must be excluded from child care and isolate at home for 5 days. They may then return when symptoms are resolving and fever-free for 24 hours. When returning to care, that individual should wear a well-fitting mask in child care and public settings for 5 days after their isolation started. Early education and child care programs must notify families of an exposure so they can watch for symptoms, but children/staff exposed do not need to be excluded unless they develop symptoms or test positive. Early education and child care programs may choose to impose stricter isolation, quarantine or masking requirements.

Q: Does a child care program need to close if there’s a positive COVID-19 case? If so, for how long?

ELD does not require closure of programs. However, a program may need to close if there are too many staff excluded for isolation maintain operations and staffing ratios.

Q: What are child care providers required to communicate to families if there is a positive COVID-19 case? – Updated September 26, 2022

Early education and child care programs must notify families of an exposure so they can watch for symptoms, but children/staff exposed do not need to be excluded unless they are symptomatic or positive.

Q: Can a parent ask if a child care staff member is vaccinated?

The Early Learning Division does not have authority to determine if parents are allowed to ask vaccination status. A provider or staff member may choose to answer or not.

Q: Are masks still required indoors? – Updated September 26, 2022

The statewide indoor mask requirement ended on March 11, 2022. A child care program can choose whether to require masks.

The Early Learning Division and the Oregon Health Authority in alignment with the Center for Disease Control, strongly recommend that masks be worn by all individuals age 2 and older indoors when:

  • There are high  levels of COVID-19 transmission in communities
  • There are medium  levels of COVID-19 transmission and individuals are:
    • Unvaccinated
    • Immunocompromised
    • At high risk of COVID-19 hospitalization
    • 65 and older or with underlying health conditions
    • Living with people who have underlying health conditions.

Some programs may choose to continue universal masking at lower COVID-19 community levels because it promotes an inclusive and supportive environment for those children and staff who are at higher risk for severe COVID-

Q: Can a parent ask their child care program to support distance learning?

This is a business decision that should be made by individual programs.

Q: Are testing kits available to child care programs? – Updated September 26, 2022

If you need a COVID-19 test, find resources here and here.

Q: Can a provider accept an at home COVID-19 test?


Q: Can you explain what is a “well-fitting mask” for children?

It’s any mask that fits snuggly and the child will wear reliably.

Q: Where can I find additional resources?

Oregon Health Authority COVID-19 Resources (general): https://govstatus.egov.com/or-oha-covid-resources

Oregon Health Authority COVID-19 Resources: Supporting Families Prenatally to Age 5:

Q: Is daily symptom screening still recommended?

Daily screening is no longer required. However, staff and family should be aware of COVID-19 symptoms, and individuals should be excluded if symptoms develop. If symptomatic, it is recommended they get tested for COVID-19.

Q: Are child care providers still required to notify Local Public Health if there is a positive COVID-19 case in their facility? – Updated September 26, 2022

Providers are required to notify the Local Public Health Authority immediately of unusually high levels of absenteeism (on any given day) due to respiratory illnesses (symptoms may include new cough, fever, shortness of breath, congestion/runny nose, new loss of taste or smell).

  • In home-based child care programs, providers must report to Local Public Health Authority when there are three or more staff or children absent due to respiratory illness.
  • In center-based, recorded, and school-based child care programs, providers must report to Local Public Health Authority when there are 10 or more staff or children absent due to respiratory illness.
  • Programs do not need to report elevated absenteeism when there is a non-disease related reason (i.e., day before or after a holiday or long weekend, child care children are participating in an out of school activity, etc.).

These can also be found on the “For Providers” webpage. Providers with questions can also contact their licensing specialist or email ProviderContact@ode.oregon.govLearn the symptoms of COVID-19 on the CDC website.


Last week, the Early Learning Council adopted temporary rules to strengthen fire safety in family child care settings, which include Registered Family (RF) and Certified Family (CF). In April 2021, the Department of Consumer & Business Services (DCBS) Building Codes Structures Board passed rules requiring new RF and CF child care facilities to have an automatic residential fire sprinkler system installed, with potential alternate methods offered locally. The Early Learning Division’s (ELD) temporary rules provide changes that are significantly cheaper than installing residential sprinklers in new programs.  

Maintaining life safety in child care is of critical importance. Over the coming months, the ELD will provide technical assistance and coaching to providers to help come into compliance with the temporary rules.  

Some of the rule changes include the following for all RF and CF programs: 

  • Install carbon monoxide detectors on each floor of the home and where children nap. 
  • As an option, install straps to mount fire extinguishers in a visible location and a light to illuminate an exit path for night care. Fire extinguishers should be inspected monthly and documented.  
  • Display a floor plan near the entrance, or in some other area of the home where they may be clearly viewed by parent(s) of children in care identifying the locations of the following: (A) Exits, (B) Primary evacuation routes, (C) Secondary evacuation routes, and (D) Fire extinguishers. 
  • Fire drills shall be practiced monthly at varying times of day, including in the evening and during overnight hours for programs that care for children during those hours. 
  • Maintain a written record of each emergency evacuation drill with documentation details stated in the rule.  

The temporary rules will be in effect until May 26, 2022, at which time permanent rules will need to be adopted. The ELD will seek input from partners, including providers, before permanent rules are developed. Review the complete temporary rules below:

Providers with questions should contact their licensing specialist or email ProviderContact@ode.oregon.gov.  


If you are connected to the KPI program, please consider applying to join the Kindergarten Readiness Partnership & Innovation (KPI) Rulemaking Advisory Committee (RAC).  

A RAC is a group of community members who will help the Early Learning Division shape and implement rule language for KPI programming. The Early Learning Kindergarten Readiness Partnership & Innovation program invests in promising models for connecting early learning and K-3 education across the state, and promotes community and school partnerships that result in measurable increases in children’s readiness for kindergarten.  

Participants will be reimbursed for their time dedicated to this RAC and will positively impact partnerships across Oregon. Applications are due Friday, February 4, 2022.  


Celebrate Black History Month with children, families, and colleagues in your early learning community.

Black history is American history. Support year-long efforts to teach, honor, and celebrate the accomplishments, innovation, experiences, and perspectives of Black people.

This week is Black Lives Matter Week of Action. The goal of this movement is “to challenge structural and systemic racism while centering the lives of black students inside and outside of the classroom.” Read this article by Learning for Justice to find out more and get involved.

In addition, check out the below resources and professional development opportunities:


  • Spanish Language Provider Information Session: February 3
    Join the Early Learning Division (ELD) on February 3 for the latest news and updates on COVID-19, Child Care Stabilization Grant Awards, and early learning programs. Click here to register for the February 3 event (Spanish language). 
  • Take the Supportive Environmental Quality Underlying Adult Learning (SEQUAL) Survey 
    An important study called SEQUAL (conducted by the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) at the University of California, Berkeley) launched on January 19, 2022. Watch for an email from CSCCE and titled “SEQUAL Survey: Oregon Early Educators Share Your Voice.” Please complete the survey by February 25, 2022. This research was made possible by the Early Learning Division. 
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