Child Care Providers

North Carolina will remain paused in Phase 3 of lifting COVID-19 restrictions until Nov. 13.

Child care facilities, day camps and overnight camps are open with enhanced cleaning and screening requirements. Child care centers must follow the required NCDHHS procedures, available in the ChildCareStrongNC public health guidance (also in Spanish).

COVID-19 child care guidance is updated regularly at the NCDHHS guidance website.

DCDEE Updates

Get the latest information about changes related to COVID-19 on NCDHHS' Division of Child Development and Early Education's website.

Child Care Subsidy Payments and NC Pre-K Providers

In addition, all child care programs, whether they remain open or have closed, will receive regular child care subsidy payments based on typical attendance for April and May. NCDHHS also will pay all NC Pre-K providers, regardless of site location or if the program is open or closed, in full through the remainder of the program year based on February attendance. NC Pre-K providers are expected to support NC Pre-K children and families remotely during the remainder of the program year.

Child Care centers should also:

  • Follow guidance for child care centers.
  • Cancel or reduce large events and gatherings, such as assemblies and field trips. 
  • Limit inter-school interactions. 
  • Consider distance or e-learning in some settings.
  • Consider dismissals if staff or absenteeism impacts the ability to remain open. Short-term closures may also be necessary to facilitate public health investigation and/or cleaning if a case is diagnosed in a child or staff member.
  • Take precautions to protect students and children, faculty and staff from the spread of respiratory illnesses
  • Review absenteeism policies and procedures to make sure students or children, faculty and staff are not being encouraged to attend or work if they are sick.
  • Establish a relationship with the local health department and communicate with them if you have any questions or concerns about COVID-19.
  • Remind your faculty, staff, students and/or children’s guardians that an annual flu shot is an important way to support overall health. While the flu shot does not protect against COVID-19, it is the best defense against the flu, which is a common respiratory illness.
  • Share the Child Care Hotline flier with parents (English | Spanish).
  • Make sure you are getting reliable information. Be thoughtful about what you read or hear about the virus and make sure you are separating rumor from fact before forwarding information on to your students and children, faculty or staff. All North Carolinians should get up-to-date information about COVID-19 directly from reliable sources like NCDHHS and CDC.

While some may be worried or have concerns about COVID-19, it is important to not let fear and anxiety lead to social stigma toward students and staff.

Mental Health Support 

Child care teachers and staff members and their families who need mental health support can call the Hope4Healers Helpline at (919) 226-2002 throughout the COVID-19 crisis to receive help from a licensed mental health professional. Hope4Healers Helpline is available 24 hours per day, seven days a week. All calls will be confidential. Additional resources to support health and well-being can be found on the Managing Your Health page. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What should child care programs do if a child or staff member is sick?

What should child care programs do if a child or staff member is sick?

Children and staff should remain home if they are sick. If a child or staff member develops the following symptoms, they should be sent home as soon as possible:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • New cough
  • New loss of taste or smell

Review Child Care Guidance for more information. Page 3 (Monitoring for Symptoms) has more information about how child care programs should address children or staff who show COVID-19 symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19.

What's the criteria for screening children or staff for illness?

What's the criteria for screening children or staff for illness?

Review Child Care Guidance for more information. Page 12 contains a Daily Health Screening for COVID-19 for Anyone Entering the Building.
How can I limit chances for exposure to COVID-19 at a child care center?

How can I limit chances for exposure to COVID-19 at a child care center?

There are many steps child care providers can take to limit exposure to COVID-19 at their program. Review Child Care Guidance for more information. Page 6 (Preventing Spread in the Classroom) provides requirements and recommendations to minimize spread of COVID-19.

How should I clean my child care facility?

How should I clean my child care facility?

Child care programs are required to follow regular cleaning protocols and use an EPA-registered disinfectant that is active against coronaviruses.

There are many other recommended actions child care programs can take to ensure a clean and hygiene environment. Review Child Care Guidance for more information (page 8 outlines Cleaning and Hygiene requirements and recommendations).