Guidance: Child Care

CA Safe Reopening

COVID-19 Response Recommendations for Child Care Programs

  • Child care programs in Orange County, California are currently allowed to operate in-person. All daycares are expected to implement appropriate safeguards to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A daycare that identifies one or more COVID-19 cases in students or staff must report the event to the OC Health Care Agency immediately at (800) 564-8448.

Please see the latest guidance from the California Department of Public Health. To learn more, visit:


Follow the guidance for the childcare industry to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Review the guidance, prepare a plan, and post the checklist for childcare in your facility to show employees and families that you’ve reduced the risk and are open for operation.

Cohorts for children and youth in supervised settings – updated September 4, 2020

cohort is a stable group of no more than 14 children or youth and no more than two supervising adults in a supervised environment. The group stays together for all activities, including meals and recreation. And this group avoids contact with anyone not in their group. Kids and adults in supervised care environments must be in groups as small as possible. Kids and supervising adults in one group must not physically interact with:

  • kids and supervising adults in other groups
  • other facility staff
  • parents of kids in other groups

Practicing a cohort structure:

  • decreases opportunities for exposure to or transmission of the virus
  • facilitates more efficient contact tracing in the event of a positive case
  • allows for targeted testing, quarantine, and isolation of a single group instead of an entire population of kids and supervising adults

The guidance related to cohorts of children and youth sets minimum guidelines for providing specialized, targeted support services, necessary in-person child supervision and limited instruction, and facilitation of distance learning in small group environments in ways that maintain the focus on health and safety to minimize transmission. This guidance enables schools to provide specialized services for students with disabilities and English learners, and in-person support for at-risk and high-need students.

Local educational agencies, nonprofits, or other authorized providers must follow the guidance for cohorts of children and youth in controlled, supervised and indoor environments. These environments include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • public and private schools
  • licensed and license-exempt childcare settings
  • organized and supervised care environments, like “distance learning hubs”
  • recreation programs
  • before and after school programs
  • youth groups
  • day camps

Guidance and directives related to schoolschildcareday camps, and youth sports are not superseded by this guidance for cohorts of children and youth and still apply to those specified settings.