NYS announces updated guidance for child care, day camps, overnight camps

Posted at 2:41 PM, May 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-20 00:14:20-04

ALBANY, N.Y. (WKBW) — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced new updated guidance for child care, day camp and overnight camp programs Wednesday.

According to a release, the following guidance is now in place:

  • Facilities and programs must collect COVID-19 vaccination status and documentation for all staff and children.
  • Implement mandatory daily health screening practices of their staff and visitors including daily temperature checks.
  • Facilities and programs need to notify the state and local health department immediately upon being informed of any positive COVID-19 test result by a staff member or child at their site.
  • Each site must implement a property-specific capacity limitation for children and campers that ensures appropriate social distancing.
  • Staff who are not fully vaccinated must maintain a distance of at least six feet from other unvaccinated staff.
  • Children and campers over the age of two and staff who are not fully vaccinated must wear face coverings except when eating, drinking, showering, swimming, or sleeping/resting.
  • Since face coverings have been proven to be effective when distancing is not feasible, facilities and programs must provide and require the use of face coverings for individuals who are not fully vaccinated.
  • Additional hygiene and cleaning and disinfection requirements as advised by the CDC and Department of Health must also be followed.

You can find the full guidance here.

"We are continuing to make incredible progress against COVID and lifting restrictions based on the science and numbers, but we are not yet at the finished line," Governor Cuomo said. "To help ensure maximum protections for staff and children at child care and camp programs, we are issuing this guidance so the facilities can implement basic but critical measures that will allow them to operate safely."

The state says it will continue to evaluate and will revise the guidance as needed.

One child care facility owner says these new changes are problematic.

"It's just not fair. It's not even operationally possible," said Kelly Kronbeck, the owner of Imagination Station.

One big change for day care providers, masks on young kids. Young children above the age of two weren't required to wear masks while at daycare over the past year. Under these guidelines, they will be.

"This comes on a day that all of New York State has lifted restrictions for masking," said Krobeck.

And unlike most COVID-19 guideline changes, these go into effect immediately.

"Nobody really knew what it was going to be," said Kaley Donaldson with the Child Care Resource Network. "Then all of a sudden it was here and now your expected to start working with it."

Donaldson said if providers have questions, she encourages them to reach out to their licensor as soon as possible.