Let's Get Back to Work
Helping Families Confidently Access Safe Child Care Solutions
As a parent, you want what’s best for your child’s social, emotional and educational development.
For many children, that means enrolling them in a high-quality early care and learning program where the positive relationships, language and literacy skills they develop at home can be further strengthened during the workday. But before you send your children back to their early care and education programs, you need to know it’s safe.
To help parents and children get back to work, the state of Indiana has provided rigorous health and safety recommendations for early care and education programs in our state. As a consumer of early learning services, you have an important role to play, too. Read below to get informed on these new guidelines and recommendations, serve as an advocate for your child and understand your family’s responsibility in helping to maintain healthy and safe child care environments.
Early Ed Connect
Hoosier families looking to apply for Indiana’s child care assistance (CCDF) and On My Way Pre-K programs now have an easy way to do it: Early Ed Connect.
New Health and Safety Measures
As Indiana’s early care and education centers re-open or continue serving families in a post-COVID-19 world, there are a number of new health and safety recommendations they are encouraged to follow. As a parent, there are a few steps you need to take, too.
Drop-off and Pick-up Procedures
Arrival and pick-up procedures may continue to include strategies for minimizing contact between parents, children, and teachers. These procedures should take into consideration the parents’ rights and desires to visit their child’s learning environment while maintaining safety. Policies may be relaxed if a community is in Blue but may need to be re-evaluated when communities begin to reach Yellow. Should high or very high community spread be occurring and communities have a status of Orange or Red, child cares should reinstate policies that stagger drop off/pick up times or have child care staff meeting families outside to escort children into the building to limit direct contact. Providers have been asked to refrain from limiting visitation by mothers who are breast feeding or Direct Service Providers working with children with special needs.
Sanitizing and Cleaning
Providers are intensifying their disinfecting and cleaning practices by doing one hour of deep cleaning each day. Toys and materials that cannot be cleaned should not be used. Providers will have a process for setting aside used toys and materials for cleaning before they can be used by other children. Many providers are purchasing additional materials for children to use.
Social distancing, also referred to as physical distancing, is important to limiting the spread of COVID-19. Within classrooms, the same children will be together each day, with the same teacher. Many will have reduced classroom sizes to allow for social distancing. During nap times, meal times and learning at desks and tables, children will be kept six feet apart.
Upon arrival, your provider will check your child’s temperature and conduct a verbal health screening to check for any symptoms of illness.
Learning About Health & Safety
Providers should ensure that employees, children and families have ready access to hand sanitizer, handwashing stations or other hand hygiene products. Many providers are using this as an opportunity to help teach children about good hygiene, handwashing and health. Expect to see child-friendly signage and educational materials.
Personal Protective Equipment
Except when on busses or on other childcare modes of transportation, children who are over the age of 2 and under the age of eight are not required to wear face coverings. Child care programs are expected to follow local ordinances regarding face coverings if they are more restrictive than Executive Order 20-48 and require face coverings for children under the age of 8. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. Face shields are not a substitute for face coverings.
Enforcement of Fever-and Symptom-free Policies
COVID Specific Policy – In order for children to attend their early care and education programs, there are more rigorous health policies that you as a parent must comply with. Your child must be:
- fever free for at least 24 hours (1 day) without being given fever-reducing medications;
- have improvement in their symptoms; and
- be 10 days out from when their symptoms first appeared.
Do you need help finding child care?
Child Care Finder
Do you need help finding a high-quality early care and education program for your child? Visit Child Care Finder online or call Brighter Futures Indiana at (800) 299-1627.
Find Local Help
Looking for specific information about child care? Families can find information about the different types of child care available locally through their Child Care Resource and Referral agency. Your local agency will focus on meeting your specific needs. Additionally, they can share characteristics of a quality child care program and connect families to community resources.
How children benefit from early learning programs:
While you may be struggling with the decision to put your child back into an early care and education program, and that’s completely understandable, getting back to learning comes with some great benefits for your child.
High-quality early care and education settings help children form caring, interactive relationships and develop their core social-emotional skills.
Brain Development + Learning
Early care and education programs help form the building blocks for a child’s language development, literacy and learning. Children who attend high-quality early care and education programs develop skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
While you’re at work, you can have peace of mind knowing your child’s day is maximized with age-appropriate instruction, settings and activities that help them get ready for kindergarten and beyond.
Additional Resources for Families
Here are additional resources to help your family transition back to early care and learning, including articles on staying healthy, coping with separation anxiety and activities to do at home this summer to help combat learning loss.
- Child Care Resource and Referral Services
- Returning to Care
- Health and Safety
- Social and Emotional Support
- Easing Separation Anxiety
- Summer Activities to Combat Learning Loss
- Summer Activity Guide – Indiana Afterschool Network
- A to Z Activities to Prevent “Summer Slide” – First 5 LA
- Using Weather to Teach Early Science Lessons – PBS
- 30 Fun Things to Do at Home – Lifehack
- 14 Easy Recipes For Cooking With Kids – Delish
- 21 Fun And Delicious Recipes You Can Make With Your Kids – Tasty
- These 50 Fun Activities for Kids Will Keep Them Entertained for Hours – Good Housekeeping
- Indiana Department of Education Resources
- Resources in Spanish