News

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 Health & Safety FAQs which address various questions relating to the Announcements below:

The FAQ document provides detail relating to professional development, compliance with new certification requirements, cost of trainings, and more. See the FAQs for more information.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) breaks down the basics of Post- and Long-COVID - what to look for and how to manage it - here.

CDC recommends everyone ages 6 months and older get vaccinated against COVID-19. Everyone 5 years and older should also get a COVID-19 booster, if eligible. Use CDC’s COVID-19 booster tool to learn if and when your child or teen can get boosters to stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines

COVID-19 Vaccine Recommendations for Children and Teens (CDC)

What should Parents know about the COVID vaccine for kids under 5? (Healthy Children) 

COVID Vaccines for Kids 6 Months & Older: FAQs for Families (Healthy Children) 

COVID-19 vaccines are now available for children 6 months through 5 years of age. See: PA Department of Health’s COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Teens and COVID-19 Community Levels for information.

updated 7/2022

Important Health Advisory 

  • Harmful algal blooms (HABs) can occur throughout Pennsylvania’s waterbodies, particularly during warmer months.
  • Exposure to HABs can cause sickness in animals and humans.
  • Members of the public should follow waterbody advisories or closures, and stay out of water that is discolored, smells bad, or that has the presence of visible foam, algal mats, or a paint-like appearance.
  • Healthcare providers should assess for potential HAB exposures when caring for patients exhibiting compatible symptoms following recreational water activities.
  • Report potential HAB exposures or illnesses to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • To report a suspected HAB, or for additional inquiries about HABs, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Please see the attached pdf document for the entire health advisory.

The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) has released several policy announcements that pertain to the child care regulations for certified child care facilities. Child care providers can go to the Pennsylvania Key website to understand what is required to be in compliance with the established CCDF regulations and the Pennsylvania Child Care Regulations. Compliance dates for these announcements is April 29, 2022.

OCDEL released the policy announcement C-22-04, Updated Emergency Preparedness and Response Planning Regulations and Requirements for Child Care Facilities

The Pennsylvania Department of Health issues COVID-19 and other health recommendations through the PA Health Alert Network (PA HAN). See link for current 2022 Health Alerts, Advisories and Updates.

The Health Alert Network is part of the Pennsylvania Department of Health's Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Program and was established under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). PA HAN serves as a communication network among state and local public health agencies, health care providers, hospitals and emergency management officials. The information provided on the PA-HAN website is based upon recommendations from the CDC and other health organizations. If you are a public health professional, sign up for the Pennsylvania Health Alert Network (PA HAN). 

Contact your own healthcare provider for more guidance. If you have other questions, call your local health department or 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258).

The American Academy of Pediatrics Parenting website has many COVID-19 resources to support families.  These include: Parenting in a Pandemic; Working and Learning; Getting Outside; Masks for Kids; New Baby Challenges; Disinfectant Safety and Breastfeeding.  

Learn about strategies to manage children with challenging behaviors. Complete ECELS Managing Challenging Behaviors in Young Children Self Learning Module (SLM). This updated online module will help you promote mental health in young children. Explore risk factors for challenging behaviors and use tools to review behaviors related to development. Share resources to help children with challenging behaviors and their families. Identify policies to help prevent suspension and expulsion of children. The per person fee is $15.00 for each module submitted. Addresses Pennsylvania’s Pre-Kindergarten Learning Standards for Early Childhood Standard Areas 16.1-3

Use the following to share facts, credible information and updates from the Pennsylvania Department of Health Website

Human coronaviruses are a family of viruses that commonly cause mild to moderate illness like the common cold.  A new human coronavirus, called the 2019 Novel Coronavirus was discovered in Wuhan City, China in December 2019.  Symptoms of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Use these additional credentialed sources to share information and updates with families and staff:

Stay vigilant about infection control practices in your program to reduce spread of all common illnesses. Implement the daily health check recommended in Caring for Our Children Standard 3.1.1.1.

Children die in hot vehicles every year. Heatstroke begins when the core body temperature reaches about 104 degrees and the ability to maintain or control body temperature is overwhelmed. Vehicles heat up quickly – even with a window rolled down two inches.  If the outside temperature is in the low 80°s Fahrenheit, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels in only 10 minutes! Children’s bodies overheat easily, and infants and children under four years of age are among those at greatest risk for heat-related illness. When left in a hot vehicle, a young child’s body temperature may increase three to five times as fast an adult. High body temperatures can cause permanent injury or even death.

Warning signs of heatstroke include:

  • Red, hot, and moist or dry skin
  • No sweating, even though the child is warm
  • Strong rapid pulse or slow weak pulse
  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion, or acting strangely

If a child exhibits any of these signs after being in a hot vehicle, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately! Cool the child rapidly. Spray the child with cool water - do NOT place child in an ice bath.

ALWAYS LOOK BEFORE YOU LOCK!

  • Always check the back seat before you lock the vehicle and walk away.
  • Get in the habit of always opening the back door to check the back seat before leaving a vehicle. Put something you will need like your cell phone, handbag, or briefcase, etc., in the back seat to create a reminder to open the back door to retrieve that item every time you park.
  • Keep a large stuffed animal in the child’s car seat. When the child is placed in the car seat, put the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat as a visual reminder that the child is in the back seat.
  • Distractions and/or a change in routine increase the risk of forgetting a child in a back seat. If someone else is driving your child, or your daily routine is altered, always check to make sure your child has arrived safely.
  • Have a strict policy in place with the childcare provider about morning drop-off.
    • If your child will not be attending childcare as scheduled, the parent’s responsibility is to call and inform the childcare provider.
    • If the child does not show up as scheduled, and the child care provider did not receive a call, the childcare provider pledges to contact the parent immediately to ensure the safety of your child.
  • Never leave a child alone in a car.
  • Never let children play in an unattended vehicle. Teach children that a vehicle is not a play area.
  • Never leave a child in a parked vehicle, even if the windows are partially open.
  • Observe and Report: If you see a child alone in a car, call 911, especially on warm days!

Resource: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

It’s unsafe and bad practice to leave a child unattended in a car for any reason, even for a quick stop – e.g. in a parking lot or elsewhere to pick up food from a restaurant. In PA, it is a summary offense as specified in PA Statute Title 75 3701.1 Leaving an unattended child in a motor vehicle.

For heatstroke prevention information cited above, click here. For other traffic injury prevention information, contact the PA Traffic Injury Prevention Project of the PA Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (PA-TIPP) at      1-800-CARBELT, 484-446-3008 or see their website and resource page. Updated 5/31/2022 3:15pm

August is National Immunization Awareness Month! 

Immunization is a key component of early childhood development and health. Remember – early childhood and school readiness begin with good health! It is important for early childhood education staff to make immunization a priority. Foster an environment of health with:

  • Immunization tracking
  • Staff education and adult vaccination as needed
  • Parent education

Early childhood education (ECE) programs are prone to disease outbreaks. 

Did you know…
ECELS has valuable tools to help you meet the new STARS Standard LM 2.5 Program uses Caring for Our Children to establish policies and practices regarding care plans for children with special medical needs as well as medication administration.

1. Use Model Child Care Health Policies, 5th Ed. form-field version to adapt a policy for your program. See Section 10-Health Plan, items E, F, and Appendix X - Medication Administration Packet. Model Child Care Health Policies, 5th Ed. is consistent with Caring for Our Children, 3rd Ed. online (CFOC3).
2. Use the ECELS Care Plan for Children with Special Needs and Process to Enroll documents.  
3. Unavailble- The online self-learning module is temporarily unavailable while ECELS updates the format. The ECELS Self-Learning Module, Children with Medical and Developmental Special Needs, Inclusive Practices educates staff about caring for children with special needs as well as medication administration. (2 hours credit)

If you have questions about these tools, please send an email with your contact information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Updated 6/22/2021

The 2022 Keystone STARS Standards take effect on July 1, 2022. See the Keystone STARS Manual and 2022 Keystone STARS Performance Standards for more information. Other resource documents such as:

can be found here. A recorded webinar is also available that provides information on the updates and edits made to the 2022 Keystone STARS Performance Standards. 7/2022

AAP Periodicity Schedule Recommends Depression Screening at Well-Child Visits

The American Academy of Pediatrics released its 2022 Bright Futures/AAP recommendations for preventive pediatric health care. It is also known as the Periodicity Schedule - the schedule of screenings and assessments recommended at each well-child visit from infancy through adolescence. The schedule now includes recommendations to screen for depression and suicide risk, aligning with other existing guidance from AAP. The schedule also contains other updates related to Hepatitis B, sudden cardiac arrest and sudden cardiac death, and behavioral and social-emotional problems risk assessments. Updated footnotes for fluoride varnish and supplementation are also included.

7/2022