By Anita Byer, Setnor Byer Insurance & Risk
The Florida Department of Health made significant changes to its COVID-19 guidance for child care facilities. On February 24, 2022, Florida’s Governor and State Surgeon General jointly announced the new guidance as part of their “Buck the CDC” initiative. Perhaps the most notable change to Florida’s COVID-19 guidance involves the wearing of face masks.
Unlike guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Florida is no longer relying on the wearing of facial coverings in community settings, including child care facilities. According to Florida’s Department of Health, “there is not strong evidence that facial coverings reduce the transmission of respiratory viruses.” As a result, the new guidance states that the decision to wear masks inside a child care facility should be left to each child’s parent or legal guardian.
The updated guidance also includes the following COVID-19 isolation recommendations.
1) If a staff member or a child at your child care facility tests positive for COVID-19 and is symptomatic:
- The staff member or child should stay at home and away from others for five days from the date the symptoms began (if the staff member or child is experiencing symptoms).
- The staff member or child can return to the child care facility on day six if they have been fever-free for 24 hours and symptoms, if any, are improving.
2) If a staff member or a child at your child care facility tests positive for COVID-19 and is asymptomatic:
- The staff member or child should stay at home and away from others for five days from the date of the COVID-19 positive test.
- The asymptomatic staff member or child can return to the child care facility on day six.
3) If a staff member or a child at your child care facility is exposed (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes within 24 hours) to someone with COVID-19:
- If symptoms of COVID-19 develop, stay home.
- If asymptomatic, the staff member or child does not need to quarantine, however, continue to monitor for symptoms for 10 days after exposure.
- Follow the guidance in section 1 if the staff member or child tests positive for or has symptoms of the virus that causes COVID-19.
Early Learning Centers and other child care facilities should review the updated guidance carefully to determine whether or to what extent Florida’s new guidelines may affect their current COVID-19 safety protocols. Please contact us for additional information about protecting your Early Learning Center during the COVID-19 pandemic.