For the latest information on coronavirus, or COVID-19, including service and program impacts in Chatham County, please visit the coronavirus webpage.

Coronavirus FAQ for Child Care Providers

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A child care provider's job is never easy, but right now it's especially hard. By showing up to work every day, you are keeping emergency rooms operating, ambulances driving, and our children safe during what may be the scariest time of their lives. You are vital to our community, and we deeply appreciate you.

As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, the number of cases continues to increase. If you become aware of a COVID-19 case in a child, staff member, or volunteer at your facility, please contact Dorothy Rawleigh, Chatham County Child Health Consultant at 919-545-8322 or Your partnership and many contributions to the COVID-19 response are enormously valued during this challenging time.

All child care facilities that remain open must agree to follow the NC DHHS Interim Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Guidance for Child Care Settings.

Please check What's New - Coronavirus Information for Child Care on the NC DHHS Division of Child Development and Early Education website, the DHHS COVID-19 Child Care Guidance and the CDC Guidance for Child Care Programs that Remain Open on a regular basis for new resources and guidance. Please bookmark these three sites on your computer.

Cloth Face Coverings

Please note the latest DHHS guidance for child care facilities advises that child care staff wear a cloth face covering during the following times:

  • when designated staff are screening children before they enter the building AND
  • when staff are caring for children who develop symptoms during the day and are waiting in isolation to be picked up

Please note that wearing a cloth face covering is intended to prevent the spread of the virus of asymptomatic people. It does not protect the wearer from the virus. The best way to prevent the spread of the virus is to:

  • maintain at least 6 feet of distance from parents/guardians during drop off and pick up,
  • wash your hands, and
  • avoid touching your face

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders.

For information about how to properly use face covers, how to make your own face covers and proper cleaning techniques visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Cloth face coverings should not be shared and when not in use they should be stored in a sanitized container out of reach of children.

If you have any unmet health and safety needs, including cloth face coverings, continue to contact the Chatham County Partnership for Children. Email Pam Anderson or Meredith Williams


We have answered frequently asked questions below and have created the following list of resources for child care providers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has interim guidance for child care administrators and guidance for child care programs that remain open. Please find additional resources from the North Carolina Child Care Health and Safety Resource Center.

Chatham County Public Health has created optional forms and posters for child care providers to use:

These recommendations may be updated as the coronavirus outbreak evolves. Public Health appreciates your patience and partnership as we respond to the daily challenges that COVID-19 presents.

For frequent updates on coronavirus, visit Chatham County's coronavirus website and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

Frequently Asked Questions

We have a case of COVID-19 in our child care center OR we have a person (child or staff) who was a close contact of a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case. What should we do? (Close contact means being closer than 6 feet for 10 or more minutes)

You need to notify Public Health if you have a case. To notify Chatham County Public Health, call Dorothy Rawleigh, Chatham County Child Health Consultant at or 919-545-8322. Interpreters available. Your Child Care Health Consultant with work with the Health Department’s Communicable Disease Nurses to determine the next steps you need to take.

The guidance to close will be determined by considering if:

  • The person sick with COVID-19 spent time in the child care setting and interacted closely with others while ill. Close interactions include being within 6 feet of a confirmed case for about 10 minutes, or if someone with COVID-19 coughed on you, kissed you, shared utensils with you, or you had contact with their body secretions.
  • High rates of absenteeism among staff/children makes it difficult to provide quality care.

Make sure that exposed and ill students and staff stay home and isolate:

  • Students and staff with COVID-19 symptoms
    • fever
    • cough
    • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • chills
    • muscle pain
    • headache
    • sore throat
    • onew loss of taste or smell
    • ovomiting / diarrhea (children)
  • Ill people should stay home and away from others until they can answer yes to all of these questions:
    • Has it been at least 10 days since they first had symptoms?
    • Have they been without fever for three days (72 hours) without any medicine for fever?
    • Are the other respiratory symptoms, like cough and shortness of breath, improved?
  • People who have been close contacts to an ill person (standing closer than 6 feet for 10 minutes or longer) should stay home for 14 days from their last day of contact with the symptomatic person, look for symptoms, and tell their healthcare provider if symptoms develop.
  • Students and staff who were not exposed (i.e. did not interact closely with the infected person) should still look for symptoms.

Remember to always get in touch with the Public Health Department if you have questions about excluding a staff or child.

If the center decides to close, how long should we stay closed?

Your Local Health Department will guide you through this decision process above to make sure you are following the latest public health guidance, thereby protecting the health and lives of your staff and children.

 To notify Chatham County Public Health, call Dorothy Rawleigh, Chatham County Child Health Consultant at or 919-545-8322. Interpreters available. Your Child Care Health Consultant will work with the Health Department’s Communicable Disease Nurses to determine the next steps you need to take.

What actions should we take during the closure?

Notify your DCDEE Child Care Licensing Consultant.

Notify people in your child care community who interacted closely with the infected individual while that person was ill.

  • Advise people who interacted closely and have symptoms to stay at home and away from others and to tell their doctor (see above closure decision tree).
  • Advise people who interacted closely and do not have symptoms to stay at home for 14 days and to look for possible symptoms (see above closure decision tree).

Discourage gatherings.

  • Cancel extracurricular group activities and large events.

Clean and disinfect.

Communicate with staff, parents, and students.

  • Make sure staff and families understand that when the child care re-opens, ill people should remain home until well (see above closure decision tree).
  • Include messages to address potential stigma and discrimination.

Maintain confidentiality of students and staff members as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

***Continue to provide meal programs: during the temporary center closure, the child may receive free breakfast and lunch meals at Chatham County School Feeding Site Locations.

What cleaning recommendations should we follow while closed?

Refer to the CDC's Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations for U.S. Community Facilities with Suspected/Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019.

What steps do we need to take when re-opening center to children?

Contact your DCDEE Child Care Licensing Consultant and the Local Health Department to make sure licensing and environmental health requirements have been met BEFORE you open.

Continuously communicate. Advise all parents, children, staff, and volunteers about steps everyone can take to protect themselves and prevent further spread, including: staying home and away from the facility while ill, minimizing non-essential activities in the community, frequent handwashing for 20 seconds, and avoiding ill people.

Pay attention to student and staff members' health, and look for possible COVID-19 symptoms.

  • Pay attention to children who may be exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or other respiratory infections. Look for symptoms like fever, cough, shortness of breath. Children with COVID-19 have milder symptoms that can seem like a cold, including a runny/stuffy nose or sore throat. 
  • Separate ill children and staff from others. Immediately send ill people home and advise them to call their healthcare provider.
  • Require that all individuals who enter the child care program check their temperature before they leave home. If the temperature is equal to or greater than 100.4°F or if the person has a cough, they should remain at home, stay away from others, and notify their healthcare provider.
  • Child care staff must take children's temperatures upon arrival and, if symptoms develop, throughout the day.

Pay attention to absences. Collect information about absences and maintain documentation of illnesses.

Perform routine environmental cleaning. Frequently clean, rinse, and disinfect commonly touched surfaces (for example, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, and toys). Refer to COVID19 Child Care Center Cleaning Plan.

Review and update your emergency plan. The COVID-19 situation is rapidly evolving and we expect it to spread in the community. Administrators should prepare for the possibility of additional cases when the child care facility reopens.