News

CDC has expanded recommendations for booster shots to now include all adults ages 18 years and older who received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna (mRNA) COVID-19 vaccine as part of their primary series. Get more information and read CDC’s media statement.

(CDC) Considerations for use of a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose (November 19, 2021) https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/clinical-considerations/covid-19-vaccines-us.html#considerations-covid19-vax-booster

Recommendations (Use link to see full recommendations.) for use of a single COVID-19 booster dose after completion of a primary series can be found in the Overview of COVID-19 vaccine recommendations and are summarized as follows:

  • Recipients of an mRNA primary series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna):
    • People aged ≥50 years and residents aged ≥18 years in long-term care settings should receive a single COVID-19 vaccine booster dose (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Janssen) ≥6 months after completion of their primary mRNA vaccine series
    • All other persons aged ≥18 years may receive a single COVID-19 vaccine booster dose (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Janssen) ≥6 months after completion of their primary mRNA vaccine series based on their individual benefits and risks.
  • People aged ≥18 years who received a Janssen primary series should receive a single COVID-19 vaccine booster dose (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Janssen) ≥2 months after their Janssen primary dose.
  • Currently, a booster dose is not recommended in people aged <18 years.

-          Pregnant people can receive any of the currently FDA-approved or FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines as a booster dose.

-          These booster dose recommendations also apply to people who received two doses of different mRNA COVID-19 vaccine products for their primary series.

-          The sections on People who received COVID-19 vaccine outside the United States and People who received COVID-19 vaccine as part of a clinical trial should be consulted for booster dose recommendations in these groups.

Individual benefit-risk assessment considerations for receiving a booster dose

For people aged ≥18 years whom ACIP and CDC recommend may receive a COVID-19 booster dose, the following individual benefits and risks can be considered.

The benefits of a COVID-19 booster dose may include a reduced risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and a reduced risk for severe COVID-19. Receiving a booster dose may prevent morbidity (including post-COVID symptoms) and may reduce transmission of the virus to other people. People in this risk category should consider the following risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection and the potential impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection:

  • Risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2Factors that would be expected to affect the risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 include work or residence in certain settingslevel of community transmissionrates of COVID-19 vaccination in their community; the likelihood of frequent interactions with possibly unvaccinated people from outside an individual’s household; and adherence to current prevention measures.
  • Risk for developing SARS-CoV-2 infection: A person’s risk for developing SARS-CoV-2 infection may vary based on time from completing a primary COVID-19 vaccine series and time from prior SARS-CoV-2 infection due to waning immunity. Serologic testing or cellular immune testing is not recommended as part of the individual risk benefit assessment.
  • Risk for severe infection related to underlying conditions: A person’s risk of developing severe COVID-19 may vary by the type, number, and level of control of specific medical conditions as well as other yet to be defined variables. Pregnant people may receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster. Separately, also see section on Considerations for COVID-19 vaccination in moderately or severely immunocompromised people.
  • Potential impact of SARS-CoV-2 infectionSARS-CoV-2 infections that are not severe may still lead to morbidity (e.g., post-COVID-19 symptoms). A person’s individual circumstances should also be considered; these may include living with/caring for a person who is medically frail or immunocompromised or a child who is not eligible for COVID-19 vaccine or the inability to work or meet other personal obligations when infected, even if not severely ill with COVID-19.

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

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-21-08: COVID-19 Policy Updates - Subject: Compliance with Acting Secretary of Health’s Face Covering Order.

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

Nebulizers, Asthma and COVID-19

Do you have children in your care with asthma? Parents/caregivers of children with asthma who use nebulizers should contact their child’s health care provider about using a metered dose inhaler (MDI) instead of a nebulizer. Use of inhalers with spacers instead of nebulizers involves decreased close exposure time during the medication administration. According to The Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC), people with asthma should use inhalers with spacers (with or without a face mask, according to each student’s personal treatment plan) instead of nebulizer treatments whenever possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. Children’s medical records/care plans should be reviewed to see who may require nebulizer treatments. Care plans should be updated as per the health care provider’s recommendations. K-12 Schools and Child Care Programs FAQs for Administrators, Teachers, and Parents offers important guidance to consider and precautions to take.

Increased cleaning and disinfecting is necessary because of the pandemic. Disinfecting products maybe a trigger for some children so care should be taken to prevent exposure to them:

If you have asthma:
    •  Ask an adult without asthma to clean and disinfect surfaces and objects for you.
    •  Stay in another room when cleaners or disinfectants are being used and right after their use.
    •  Use only cleaning products you must use. Some surfaces and objects that are seldom touched may need to be cleaned only with soap and water.
    •  Make a list of the urgent care or health facilities near you that provide nebulizer/asthma treatments. Keep it close to your phone.
    •  If you have an asthma attack, move away from the trigger such as the disinfectant or the area that was disinfected. Follow your Asthma Action Plan. Call 911 for medical emergencies. 7/8/21

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.