News

(CDC) Schools, Child Care, and Colleges: Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention; Strategies to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and maintain safe operations in schools, child care programs, and institutions of higher education. Updated 12/17/2021

 

Know What to Expect at Your Child’s K- 12 School or Early Care and Education Program, 11/10/21 - COVID-19 outbreaks can happen in schools and early care and education (ECE) programs, but CDC understands the importance of in-person learning. Based on studies from the previous school year, we know that using multiple prevention strategies can keep children, teachers, and staff safe and keep schools and ECE programs open.

Schools need to take a multipronged, layered approach to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission among students, teachers and staff so that in-person learning is safe and possible. As part of that approach, universal masking and immunizations are the most important risk mitigation strategies. These recommendations are included in the AAP’s updated COVID-19 Guidance for Safe Schools and Promotion of In-Person Learning 11-2-21.

Schools need to take a multipronged, layered approach to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission among students, teachers and staff so that in-person learning is safe and possible. As part of that approach, universal masking and immunizations are the most important risk mitigation strategies. These recommendations are included in the AAP’s updated COVID-19 Guidance for Safe Schools and Promotion of In-Person Learning 11-2-21.

Review the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL)'s suggestions COVID-19 Best Practices for Early Childhood Education (ECE) 9-6-21.

To view OCDEL's policy update posted previously 8-31-21, click Announcement C-21-07: COVID-19 Policy Updates or visit the Pennsylvania Department of Education's website

Dec. 14, 2021. The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL), Bureau of Early Learning Policy and Professional Development and Bureau of Certification have released the Announcement C-21-10 Obsolete Certification Announcements for Certified Child Care Providers- Order of the Acting Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health Directing Face Coverings in School Entities. This Announcement provides updated information to certified child care providers who are impacted by announcements issued as a result of Order of the Acting Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health Directing Face Coverings in School Entities (Order). Read more.

The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) will be releasing several policy announcements that pertain to the child care regulations for certified child care facilities so child care providers understand what is required to be in compliance with the established CCDF regulations and the Pennsylvania Child Care Regulations. Read more.

Dec. 10, 2021. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has issued a ruling that ends the Secretary of Health’s order that masks must be worn by children over two and educators and staff at child care settings. This decision does not impact the Federal directive requiring all Head Start and Early Head Start programs or passengers and drivers to wear a mask on school buses, including on buses operated by public and private school systems; these requirements remain in effect. Read more.

The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL), Bureau of Early Learning Policy and Professional Development and Bureau of Certification have released the Announcement C-21-11, Addition of COVID-19 to List of Reportable Communicable Diseases. This Announcement notifies child care facilities that the Pennsylvania (PA) Department of Health (DOH) has added COVID-19 to the list of reportable communicable diseases. To provide guidance on the requirements of child care providers for child or facility person return to the child care facility after having a communicable disease, specifically COVID-19. For full details, see Announcement C-21-11, Addition of COVID-19 to List of Reportable Communicable Diseases. 

The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL), released the Special Announcement - 10/18/21 Update- Subject: Extended Suspension of Regulatory Provisions, STARS Designation Extensions, and Delay of  New Streamlined Keystone STARS Designation System

•  Suspended Regulations Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Pursuant to Act 73 of 2021, the suspension of various regulatory provisions under the state disaster emergency declaration that are currently in effect and which were set to expire on September 30, 2021, are now extended until further notice. A list of the regulations that were suspended in whole or in part and their current status is available here. Some regulations were reinstated prior to September 30, 2021 and are not subject to Act 73 of 2021. Act 73 of 2021 only affects state regulations that were suspended under the state disaster emergency declaration and were to be reinstated on 9/30/2021.
     o  Effective October, 18, 2021, the following regulatory statutes and regulations are reinstated62 P.S. § 911(a)(2) - Visitation and Inspection; 62 P.S. § 1016 - Right to Enter and Inspect; 55 Pa. Code § 20.31 - Annual Inspection. This means that licensed child care center, group child care, and family child care homes should expect onsite inspections, renewals and complaint investigations to continue.
ELRC Policy Announcement 21 #08 Keystone STARS Designation Extensions: The Announcement provides information regarding granting one-year extensions to all Keystone STARS Designations effective Oct. 1, 2021 through Sept. 30, 2022, as providers navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant early childhood education (ECE) staffing crisis.
• Delayed New Streamlined Keystone STARS Designation System Rollout Message: In response to the increasing demands on early learning programs across PA due to the rise in COVID-19 cases and pandemic conditions, OCDEL is delaying Keystone STARS designations for one year and the go-live date for the new streamlined Keystone STARS Designation System in the PD Registry.

Posted 10-8-21 updated 11-2-21

The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL), Bureau of Early Learning Policy and Professional Development and Bureau of Certification has released the Announcement C-21-07: COVID-19 Policy Updates. The purpose of this Announcement is to communicate the release of an Order of the Acting Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health Directing Face Coverings in School Entities (Order) and expectations for compliance by certified child care facilities as well as provide clarification of ongoing reporting requirements related to COVID-19. The Order applies to all child care providers licensed by the Department of Human Services.

This announcement replaces announcement C-21-04 Best Practices for Child Care Facilities Operating During the Novel Coronavirus in its entirety.

The Acting Secretary of Health’s Order will be effective Sept. 7, 2021. School entities should comply with the Order on or before that date. Effective Sept. 7, 2021, child care certification representatives (reps) conducting inspections or complaint investigations will cite child care facilities operating out of compliance with the Order. The citations for non-compliance with the Order will be issued under 55 Pa. Code §3270.14, 3270.21, §3280.14, 3280.20, and §3290.18, all pertaining to compliance with “pertinent laws and regulations” and “general health and safety.” 

For additional details, please see the Announcement C-21-07: COVID-19 Policy Updates or visit the Pennsylvania Department of Education's website

The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL), Bureau of Certification publishes printable newsletters. Child care directors are encouraged to discuss any questions with their certification representative and then share the information with their staff and families. Access archived Bureau of Certification E-News and Newsletters and don’t miss important information; Sign up for the Certification eNews 10-8-21

The Pennsylvania Department of Health recently issued 3 PAHAN recommendations addressing immunization of 5-12 years old, quarantine clarifications, and COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Dose. See links below for full text. Contact your own healthcare provider form more guidance. If you have other questions, call your local healht department or 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258).

  • 2021-PAHAN-608-11-05-ADV – Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for 5 to <12 years old children 11-5-21 
    CDC guidance [COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Teens] released on Nov. 2, 2021, recommends all children aged 5 to <12 years old get pediatric formulation of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to help protect against COVID-19.  
  • 2021 – PAHAN – 607 – 10-25-UPD – UPDATE: Public Health Recommendations Given New Evidence on the SARSCoV-2 Delta Variant (Replaces PA-HAN-583 and provides clarification on quarantine recommendations for individuals exposed to SARS-CoV-2)
  •  2021 – PAHAN – 606 – 10-25-ADV – Recommendations Regarding COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Dose

 The Pennsylvania Key Infant Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC) Program Consultants worked collaboratively to create the social story and tips and resources to support re-entering into Early Education Centers after COVID-19. The social story, We are back in school!, can be used by early childhood education staff as a resource for support social and emotional as children and staff start the process of re-entering the child care setting. Each page in this social story contains Teacher Tips, Prompts, Resources and Activities which can help with discussions with children in child care. There are clickable links and even spots where staff can jot down their own notes! The Tip and Resource Guide provides additional information. 7/8/21