Child Care

The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) and the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) is providing guidance to the regulated child care facilities throughout the state on proactive measures, including new screening recommendations for staff and visitors. Taking these proactive measures will help limit the spread of COVID-19 and safeguard children and their families.

Things You Can Do to Prepare

  • It is recommended that facilities should prohibit persons from the facility with the exception of:
    • Facility staff;
    • Persons with a legal authority to enter, including law enforcement officers, child care licensing staff and DHS Child Protective Services staff;
    • Professionals providing services to children;
    • Children enrolled at the facility; and
    • Parents or legal guardians who have children enrolled and present at the facility.
  • Pickup and drop-off should be held outside of the facility, unless it is determined that there is a legitimate need for the parent to enter the facility.

  • All efforts should be made to limit congregation of children and class sizes to 10 or less.

  • Staff should wear cloth face masks to diminish potential spread from people who might be asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic for COVID-19. For safety reasons, under no circumstances should a mask be placed on a child under the age of 2. Even children age 2 and up will have much difficulty consistently wearing a mask. Due to this, it is not practical for them to do so.

  • Do not allow sick children to be cared for in the facility. If a child becomes sick while at the facility, contact the parent or guardian immediately and separate the child from other children at the facility.

  • Ensure that each child is provided individual meals and snacks. Do not serve family-style meals.

Screening Criteria

  • Before allowing entry into the facility, screen all individuals listed above, including taking the temperature of each person upon arrival at the facility each day. For employees, screening should be done prior to every shift. Deny entry to any person who meets any of the following criteria:

    • A temperature of 100.4°F or above;

    • Signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as a cough, shortness of breath, sore throat and low-grade fever; or someone who is currently being tested for COVID-19;

    • In the previous 14 days has had contact with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19;

    • In the previous 14 days has traveled outside of the United States or to areas in the U.S. with widespread transmission such as New York State, New Jersey, Connecticut and New Orleans.

ADH and DHS will continue to closely monitor the evolving novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. As the situation is rapidly changing, child care providers are encouraged to call the ADH COVID-19 School and Child Care Hotline at 833-504-0155 for questions or additional guidance. Please contact the Department of Human Services Division of Child Care & Early Childhood Education, Child Care Licensing at 501-682-8590 for licensing or regulatory questions.