February 24, 2022 | Child Care Update



With falling hospitalization rates, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced it is lifting the statewide indoor mask requirement on March 11, 2022*. This change will apply to child care and the Early Learning Division (ELD) will update its “Child Care Provider COVID-19 Requirements and Recommendations” guidance.  

Child care programs can still choose to continue masking. The ELD, in partnership with the OHA, still highly recommends that child care programs continue to have all individuals ages two and older wear masks. If an entire classroom or group does not wear masks, quarantine and isolation currently remains at 10 days. Masking helps to decrease the risk of COVID-19 spread and allows for a shorter return after illness or exposure in child care settings with low rates of vaccination overall.  

Some things a program can consider:  

  • Encourage eligible staff and children ages 5 and up to get vaccinated and boosted if they have not done so. Learn more at Get Vaccinated Oregon.  
  • It’s recommended people at risk for severe COVID-19 continue masking and include people who are unvaccinated; immunocompromised; at high risk of COVID-19 hospitalization; 65 and older or with underlying health conditions; and those living with people who have underlying health conditions. 
  • Those who are up to date on their vaccinations do not need to quarantine when exposed to COVID-19. Vaccination ensures continued access to in-person care.  

Effective February 25, 2022, CDC does not require wearing of masks on buses or vans operated by public or private school systems, including early care and education/child care programs**. However, masks are currently still required in Head Start, Early Head Start, and Oregon Pre-kindergarten programs until lifted by the federal government. 

While there have been many changes to child care guidance over the past two years, this represents a turning point in the pandemic for Oregon. Thanks to masks and booster shots, Oregon has had some of the lowest case rates (3rd lowest) and lowest death rates (7th lowest) in the country. At the state level, ELD and OHA will continue to monitor the path of the pandemic in Oregon and adjust our guidance to prioritize safety in child care settings for both children and providers.   

“We know that the pandemic has been particularly challenging for those providing child care, and for the families who have been impacted by program closures,” said Alyssa Chatterjee, Oregon Early Learning System Director. “I am hopeful this is the first change of many that will start to resemble a return to ‘normal.’ However, we also must remember that COVID-19 is still present in Oregon – masking and vaccines continue to be the strongest tools to fight the virus. I want to thank you for your continued dedication to the children and families you work with every day.”  

* The original version of this article stated the indoor mask requirement ended on March 19, 2022. The text has been updated to reflect Governor Brown’s announcement this morning (February 28) that moved the date up to March 11, 2022.
** On February 24, this article stated that masks were still required for everyone two years and older on public transportation, which included school buses, until lifted by the federal government and could not be waived by state or local authorities. This mandate was lifted on February 25.

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-19.

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.).


Join us for the March Provider Information Sessions: 

  • Learn about the Early Learning Division’s rulemaking process  
  • Review and provide feedback on draft rules  
  • Check in on COVID-19

Note: These meetings are planned for an extra half hour to provide adequate time for the topics.   

Tuesday, March 1 | 6 – 7:30 p.m.
All provider types. Interpretation available. Note: Attendees using interpretation services in Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, Chinese, and ASL should join this session via Zoom, not Facebook.
Zoom Registration 

Wednesday, March 2 | 6 – 7:30 p.m.
All provider types. Presented in Spanish.
Zoom Registration

This is a virtual event. Registration is required to attend via Zoom. You may submit questions in advance on the registration form. You may also participate on ELD’s Facebook page live stream at the same time. ELD staff will monitor the Facebook comment section for questions.


Fire Safety Child Care Rulemaking Advisory Committee (RAC)

We are interested in engaging family child care programs and parents/caregivers with children in family child care programs to join this committee. The Early Learning Division recently passed temporary fire safety rules to serve as an alternative to the Department of Consumer Business Services sprinkler requirement.

A RAC is a group of community members who help agency staff shape and implement rule language for child care programs. This committee will provide input for permanent fire safety rules that will apply to all Registered Family (RF) and Certified Family (CF) programs.

Participants will be reimbursed for their time dedicated to this RAC and will positively impact child care across Oregon. Applications are due Friday, March 11, 2022. 

Click here for more information on how to apply.


School-Age Child Care Rulemaking Advisory Committee (RAC)

If you are connected to school-age child care programs or interested in providing this type of care, please consider applying to join this committee. This type of care is also known as out-of-school-time (OST) care and before- and afterschool care programs. A RAC is a group of community members who help agency staff shape and implement rule language for school-age child care programs.

Participants will be reimbursed for their time dedicated to this RAC and will positively impact child care across Oregon. Applications are due Friday, March 11, 2022.  

Click here for more information on how to apply.

Baby girl gets help from mother at a slide on playground in summer


During the February 1, 2022 Provider Information Session, we shared data to show the percentages of providers by type receiving Stabilization grants. It came to our attention there was an error in how that data was gathered. We regret any confusion this may have caused and have posted the correct percentages to the Early Learning Division website. Click below for more information.  

  • Correction to data reported on Stabilization grant saturation rateiconEnglish


Supporting Kindergarten Transitions

Two upcoming FREE, virtual training sessions are being offered by the ABI Community to provide information and resources to help support children ages three to seven with an Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) in the transition to kindergarten. This session is hosted by NW Disability Support in partnership with Multnomah Early Childhood Program. Sessions will be offered in English with Spanish interpretation available. If you need interpretation, please register and request interpretation.  

Portfolios: How to Truly Partner with your School Team for Success with Dr. Cindy Ryan
March 10, 2022 | Click here for more information and to register.
Visual Supports and Communication that Supports Success in Inclusive Settings
April 14, 2022 | Click here for more information and to register.  

About ABI Community:
ABI Community empowers and supports families and individuals whose lives have been touched by developmental disability. ABI works to increase education, promote public understanding and acceptance, advocate for full inclusion, and defend the civil rights of individuals with disabilities. ABI & Northwest Down Syndrome Association (NWDSA) are programs of NW Disability Support, a 501c3 non-profit organization. 


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