PHLpreK COVID-19 Safety Update

PHLpreK COVID-19 Safety Update

PHLpreK will fund free, quality pre-K for up to 3,300 students in the 2020-2021 school year. Classes will begin in late August or early September 2020, depending on individual providers’ schedules.

In order to decrease the risk of COVID-19 for students, staff, and families, all PHLpreK centers will follow childcare center reopening guidance from the City of Philadelphia. This guidance includes:

  • Mask requirements
  • Social distancing, cohorts, and other strategies to reduce contact
  • New cleaning protocols

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

Check out a summary of the guidance on the City’s website, or watch the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s video to see what this guidance looks like in practice. This guidance is required for all childcare and early childhood education facilities in Philadelphia. 

In addition, PHLpreK centers must go through a screening process before the school year begins, to ensure that they are prepared to follow best practices for health and safety. The screening criteria are based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

The PHLpreK screening requirements include: 

  • A plan to communicate with families and children about health and safety procedures
  • Necessary supplies for health and safety practices (PPE, thermometers, disinfectants, soap, etc.)
  • A policy and plan in the case of a confirmed COVID-19 exposure
  • A deep-clean and disinfecting process at the facility prior to reopening
  • A social distancing policy for classrooms and the facility
  • Daily health checks policy for staff and children
  • Handwashing, sanitizing, and disinfecting policies and schedules
  • A policy for supporting children with underlying medical and behavioral conditions

All PHLpreK providers will have access to ongoing resources and supports, and will receive the appropriate referral from PHLpreK staff based on the outcome of their screenings. 

Finally, all PHLpreK locations must submit a health and safety plan.  All safety plans must be approved prior to the program opening.  Safety plans must include cleaning protocols and a commitment to the purchase and use of masks by all program staff.  

We encourage families to ask their PHLpreK provider for details about their COVID-19 health and safety plans. All PHLpreK providers are listed here: 

To learn more about enrolling in PHLpreK, call 844-PHL-PREK.

For questions regarding our screening process or other concerns, please contact