1. What do I do if I get coronavirus or a child in my care or someone living with me gets coronavirus? (Last Reviewed 11/23/21)
If you are a licensed provider, you should immediately report any suspected or confirmed Coronavirus outbreaks to:
- Your local Department of Public Health. They will tell you if you need to close and for how long.
- Your licensing program analyst (LPA) and your local Child Care Regional Office. Your Child Care Regional Office can help you find your LPA’s phone and email. There is also a designated LPA on duty each day who can assist with questions and reports.
- The families in your program. But remember that you must keep medical information confidential. You can say that there has been a confirmed case of coronavirus at your child care but you cannot say who it was. You can tell the public health department who it was.
- Notify all employees and contractors who work in your child care.
- A new law requires employers to notify their employees of potential COVID-19 exposure within one business day. The law went into effect on January 1, 2021. . Within one business day, you must:
- Provide written notice to your employee(s) who may have been exposed with information regarding COVID-19-related benefits to which they may be entitled, including, but not limited to, workers’ compensation, COVID-19-related leave, company sick leave, state-mandated leave, or supplemental sick leave;
- Notify them of the disinfection and safety plan you intend to implement; and
- Not retaliate against an employee for disclosing a positive COVID-19 test or diagnosis or order to quarantine.
- Keep confidential medical information about any infected individual.
You should also follow these steps if a child, family member, licensee, visitor, or staff member tests positive for coronavirus. PIN 20-04-CCP.
And you should use these forms to file an Unusual Incident Report with Community Care Licensing: click here for child care centers and here for family child care homes.
2. I’m worried about liability if a child in my care gets the coronavirus. If I have parents sign a waiver, will that stop them from suing me? (Last Reviewed 11/23/21)
No. Parents cannot sign away their right to sue. Tom Copeland has written a very helpful article on the topic: Does a Liability Waiver Protect You if a Child Gets Covid-19?
There’s always the possibility that somebody will bring a legal claim, even if a parent has signed a waiver. As a child care provider, it is always your duty to keep children in your care safe. Having parents sign a waiver of liability will not protect you.
However, there are best practices that you can follow to help protect yourself and the children in your care.
- You should follow the safety guidelines issued by your local county department of public health, Child Care Licensing, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). If you follow the guidelines, children are less likely to contract the disease while in your care. It also means that you are acting responsibly and doing what is in your power to prevent the spread of disease.
- Community Care Licensing will give you technical assistance to help you protect yourself and the children in your care during and after the coronavirus pandemic. They will also give you posters for your facility with good information about the coronavirus, which reminds everyone who visits your program about their responsibility to stay safe.
- Make sure parents know that they must keep children home if they are sick and immediately contact you if they have any symptoms.
For more information about how you may be protected, contact your liability insurance provider. Some insurance policies pay for a lawyer to defend you if you are sued. Other insurance policies do not. Ask your insurance provider if they cover you if you are sued by a parent whose child has contracted the coronavirus.
Watch for a checklist from CCL, complete it, send it back and keep a copy for yourself. After CCL receives the checklist, they will conduct a tele-visit with you. Keep records of these visits to show how you are complying with all the guidance that is available to you.