AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: The above video was published on July 9.
Austin Public Health (APH) has issued new emergency rules for child care programs that serve children from birth through age 5.
This new guidance is separate from APH's order delaying in-person school campus instruction issued on July 14, as that order applies to public and private schools and school districts.
The emergency rules for child care programs require them to report any lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases among children or staff to APH, follow the steps provided by APH regarding suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases and comply with the safety guidelines listed in the "City of Austin Guidance for Open Child Care Programs."
If there are confirmed or suspected cases or potential exposure at a program, APH will advise on what to do next, including whether a temporary closure of one or more classrooms is necessary. The City guidelines also state that:
- Child care programs must communicate with staff and parents about closure decisions, possible COVID-19 exposure and any guidance about necessary quarantine or isolation
- Staff and children over the age of 10 must wear face coverings
- Individuals with a temperature greater than 99.6°F should not be allowed inside
- Programs are required to implement a health and safety plan that details measures being taken to reduce COVID-19 transmission and make that plan available to staff and parents
Parents enrolling a new child into a child care program should complete two forms with health screening questions and information about their child's previous child care program. Kids with COVID-19 symptoms or who have had close contact with a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patient within the last 14 days must meet the criteria regarding symptoms and/or quarantine before they can return or begin care in a child care program.
In addition to the City's guidelines, programs must also operate in compliance with emergency rules from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.
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