1. Does everyone age 2 and older have to wear a mask at child care? (Last Reviewed 3/15/22)
Yes, everyone age 2 and older should wear a mask or facial covering indoors at child care. Updated guidance from the California Department of Public Health still recommends masks to be worn indoors by child care providers even if they are vaccinated, which follows the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Guidelines. All children age 2 and older should wear masks.Under those same guidelines, babies and toddlers under the age of 2 are exempt from the mask requirement. They are discouraged from wearing cloth face coverings because it increases their risk of suffocation. However, as the face covering requirement for children under 2 varies by county, be sure to check with your county department of public health.
2. What are my rights if my provider asks me to sign a waiver saying they are not responsible if my child gets COVID-19? (Last Reviewed 11/23/21)
You are not required to sign a waiver saying that your child care provider is not responsible if your child gets the coronavirus. This is often called a liability waiver. Even if you sign this type of waiver, you are not giving up your right to sue. A child care provider has the duty to keep children safe. If your child is injured or hurt in childcare due to the negligence of your provider, a signed waiver will not protect them.
Your provider may ask you to sign a “risk acknowledgement,” which is a document that says you understand the risks associated with enrolling your child in childcare. The acknowledgement might state that both child care providers and families will try to prevent the spread of COVID. It might include a commitment to following safety requirements such as wearing masks, keeping sick children home and social distancing.
By signing a risk acknowledgement, you are not giving up your or your child’s right to sue if anything happens at the child care. You are simply saying that you understand the risk of having your child interact with other children and that you are assuming the risk. If your child gets the coronavirus, due to something other than the negligence of the provider, you understand that the provider cannot be held responsible.
3. Can providers control who enters into their family child care home or child care center? (Last Reviewed 11/23/21)
A provider may control who enters their child care. However, parents have the right to enter and inspect the child care facility. 22 CCR § 101218.1 (centers), 22 CCR § 102419 (family child care homes).
If your child care provider has a safety protocol to not allow parents to enter the facility, try to have a discussion with them about what accommodations they can make that will allow you to enter while still keeping everyone safe.