Child Care Providers

In Safer at Home Phase 2, child care facilities, day camps and overnight camps are open with enhanced cleaning and screening requirements.

Child care centers are considered essential. Child care centers must follow the required NCDHHS procedures, available in the child care centers guidance

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 Workers

Child care teachers and staff that work in programs serving essential workers will see bonuses in their pay in April and May. NCDHHS will pay child care programs staying open to serve essential workers $950 per month for each full-time teacher and $525 per month for each full-time non-teaching staff member, including administrators, janitors and other support staff. Bonus payments will be paid by the child care programs to all eligible staff during their regular pay periods. Part-time workers are also eligible for prorated bonus awards. Additionally, providers will receive an additional 10% on top of the bonus payments to cover costs associated with payroll taxes and other administrative costs.

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 centers do if a child or staff member is sick?

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

Children and staff should remain home if sick.
If a child or staff member develops the following symptoms, send them home as soon as possible:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

While waiting for a sick child to be picked up, caregivers should stay with the child in a room isolated from others. If the child has symptoms of COVID-19, the caregiver should remain as far away as safely possible from the child (preferably 6 feet). If face masks are available, wear a facemask.

It is also recommended that child care facilities have flexible sick leave and absentee policies that do not encourage people to come in while sick.
Review Child Care Guidance for more information.

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

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

Conduct a Daily Health Check and ask children and staff:
  1. If they have had close contact (within 6 feet of someone for 10 minutes or more) with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19.
  2. If anyone in their household has symptoms of respiratory illness.

Consider screening children and employees for fever, cough or shortness of breath upon arrival each day.
People with a temperature greater than 100.4 F should be sent home until they have had no fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications such as Advil or Tylenol.

  • Anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 should remain isolated until at least seven days after symptom onset AND at least72 hours after symptom resolution (absence of fever without the use of fever-reducing medication and improvement in respiratory symptoms) unless otherwise instructed by their local health department.

For infants and young children, temperature can be taken under the arm.

For children over age four, temperature can be taken orally (under the tongue). Individual plastic covers should be used on oral thermometers with each use or thermometers should be cleaned and sanitized after each use according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Another option for children ages six months and older is an ear or forehead thermometer with a disposable cover that is changed after each reading. Temperature should not be taken rectally in a child care setting.

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?

Have parents drop off children outside the classroom. Staff should meet children as they are dropped off. Only staff needed to maintain ratio compliance should be inside classrooms.

Review Child Care Guidance for more information.

What are the recommendations for cleaning a child care facility?

What are the recommendations for cleaning a child care facility?

  • Follow regular cleaning protocols and use an EPA-registered disinfectant that is active against coronaviruses. Clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces throughout the day and at night.
  • Keep a designated bin for separating mouthed toys and maintain awareness of children’s behaviors. When a child is done with a mouthed toy, remove it, place it in a toy bin that is inaccessible to other children, and wash hands. Clean and sanitize toys before returning to children’s area.
  • Clean and sanitize all toys at the end of the day.
  • Consider removing soft toys that cannot be easily cleaned during the COVID-19 outbreak. Soft toys that are machine-washable should be washed often at the warmest temperature recommended on the label and dried thoroughly.

Review Child Care Guidance for more information.