PHLpreK COVID-19 FAQ
All PHLpreK locations will follow childcare reopening guidance based on recommendations from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, the state’s Office of Childhood Development and Early Learning, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Q. Does my PHLpreK provider have a COVID-19 plan?
A. Yes. All PHLpreK providers must submit a COVID-19 health and safety plan to PHLpreK in order to participate in the program this year. Ask your provider if you have any questions about their plan.
Q. Will my child be required to wear a mask?
A.The state requires that children over the age of 2 wear face masks as much as possible, especially when they can’t maintain 6 feet of distance. All staff will wear masks as well. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health has published advice for helping children adjust to wearing a mask.
Note: Masks should not be placed on:
- Babies and children younger than 2 years old.
- Anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious.
- Anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- Children during naptime
Q. How much contact will my child have with other students and staff?
A. It is not possible to prevent young children from coming into close contact with one another and their teachers. To reduce the risk of exposure, pre-K programs will limit classroom sizes to 22 people (students and staff), and will arrange for classes to include the same group of children each day (creating a “cohort”). As much as possible, staff will only interact with the same cohort of children each day. Students will not interact with children in other classes.
Q. What happens at drop-off and pick-up?
A. When you arrive at your pre-K program, be sure to maintain a 6-foot distance from others and follow any signs or directions from program staff. Your child may go through an on-site symptom screening, or you may be asked to provide your own screening information. Wear a mask when you drop off and pick up your child.
You will likely interact with staff less than usual at pick-up and drop-off, in order to limit extended contact between adults. Expect to communicate electronically or by phone instead.
Q. Is frequent hand-washing part of the plan?
A. Yes. Children and staff will have to wash their hands:
- when they arrive
- before and after mealtimes
- after using the bathroom
- after coughing, sneezing, or blowing their nose
- after playing outdoors
- after coming into contact with bodily fluid
- For a full list of staff hand-washing requirements, read the City’s Guidelines for Early Childhood Education Centers.
Q. Will there be field trips?
A. No. Childcare centers and pre-K programs may not go on field trips or visit public playgrounds at this time.
Q. Will centers increase their cleaning and disinfecting?
A. Yes. Centers will intensify their regular cleaning protocols. In particular, centers will:
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at least daily
- Wipe off any playground equipment or indoor play space equipment between usage by different classrooms of children
- Wash all toys at least daily and before and after each use if possible
- Use bedding that can be washed and wash bedding at least weekly or before use by another child
- Keep children’s belongings separated
Q. What happens if a child or staff member is exposed to COVID-19?
A. If a staff member or child has been exposed to anyone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days, they should return or remain home.
Q. Are centers regularly inspected?
A. Yes. All PHLpreK centers are licensed by the state, and go through routine monitoring and site visits to ensure safety and quality.
Q. I think my child might be sick or exposed to COVID-19. What should I do?
A. If your child has symptoms of COVID-like illness*, do not send them to the center. Call their healthcare provider to arrange for COVID-19 testing. If someone in the child’s home has symptoms of COVID, that person should get tested. If a child was exposed to someone with COVID-19, they must stay home for 14 days.
*COVID-like illness is defined as cough, shortness of breath, or any 2 of the following symptoms: fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell.
Q. What can families do to help?
A. We can all do our part to help children and staff stay healthy and safe.
- Drop off and pick up your child at the scheduled time.
- Avoid gathering with people outside of your household.
- Regularly clean any bedding, clothing, or other items that your child uses at their pre-K center.
- Talk with your children about how they’re feeling, and encourage them to wear their masks and wash their hands frequently.