News

(CDC) Operational Guidance for K-12 Schools and Early Care and Education Programs to Support Safe In-Person Learning updated 8-11-22:

  • Removed the recommendation to cohort
  • Changed recommendation to conduct screening testing to focus on high-risk activities during high COVID-19 Community Level or in response to an outbreak
  • Removed the recommendation to quarantine, except in high-risk congregate settings
  • Removed information about Test to Stay
  • Added detailed information on when to wear a mask, managing cases and exposures, and responding to outbreaks
  • Click here to read guidance

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

This page will help keep early childhood education (ECE) professionals informed on best practices for keeping children, staff and families safe and healthy as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. 8-2022 update

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.

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.  

Every 3 Minutes a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room and over 60 percent of food allergy reactions at school take place in preschools and child care facilities, notes the Food Allergy Research & Education’s (FARE) website. Keeping children with food allergies safe and healthy can present a special challenge in early care and education programs if you are not prepared.

  • Learn to modify early learning and school-age programs for a child with a food allergy. Plan for handling a food allergy response by reviewing the training presentations from Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) such as Save a Life: Recognizing and Responding to Anaphylaxis”, “Keeping Students Safe and Included”, and “Navigating Early Childhood and Food Allergies”.
  • Use FARE’s Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan, formerly the Food Allergy Action Plan, that outlines recommended treatment in case of an allergic reaction, is signed by a physician and includes emergency contact information. PA Keystone STARS Performance Standards LM.2.5 specifies policies relating to care plans for children with special needs including food allergies. Resources available include – “Tips for Managing Students with Food Allergies During a Shelter-in-Place Emergency”, “Tips for Field Trips”, “Tips for Cleaning”, “Tips for Non-Food Treats and Rewards”.
  • See the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools and Early Care and Education Programs for additional recommended plans, practices, and procedures. 5-2021

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.

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for children. The latest research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that 46% of car seats are misused. The best way to reduce crash fatalities among children is to always select a car seat, belt-positioning booster seat, or lap and shoulder seat belt based on the child’s age and size. Correctly installing a car seat and proper adjustment and fit of the harness or seat belt will improve a child’s safety when traveling. Data from crashes that occurred in 2020 found that more than a third of the children ages 12 and younger who died in cars, pickup trucks, vans, and SUVs were unbuckled. Never let children ride unbuckled—the consequences could be devastating. For information on achieving correct car seat use, attend a car seat check event, follow these and the manufacturer's instructions.

The single most effective way to protect children, and all vehicle occupants, is to correctly buckle them in a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt that is appropriate for their age and size. Car seat check events provide hands-on guidance on the correct selection, installation and use of the appropriate car seat, booster seat, or seat belt based on a child’s age, weight, height, and developmental needs. To locate a car seat check/fitting station click here. Car seat check events are also listed at www.pakidstravelsafe.org under Events. If caregivers click ‘Fitting stations’ they can search by county for a car seat technician near them.

Best practice is for all vehicle passengers to be secured in a car seat, belt-positioning booster seat, or seat belt that is appropriate for their size. Parents and caregivers are role models for children and by wearing a seat belt, children learn the importance of buckling up. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found when a driver is buckled, children are restrained 92% of the time and conversely when the driver is unbuckled, children are restrained about 68% of the time.

From PA Traffic Injury Prevention Project, PA Chapter - American Academy of Pediatrics 9-2022

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