Public Health: Guidance for Childcares and youth gatherings during school closures

Friday, March 13, 2020

Seattle and King county Public Health offered the following guidelines for childcare facilities and gatherings for youth during the school closures.

Guidance for Childcares During School Closures

School closures have been ordered by the state. At this time, this order does not include childcare and early learning programs. Childcare and early learning serve an incredibly important function, and provides essential support for families of doctors, nurses and first responders, allowing them to continue providing critical medical and emergency services.

Childcare spaces are also typically smaller than schools which mean lower exposure and transmission risk. The evidence seems to show that the risk to young children is low, so we believe childcare and early learning programs pose less of a risk to children. Protecting vulnerable staff and students is a priority and we strongly recommend excluding staff and children who are in high risk and vulnerable categories.

Guidelines for Gatherings of Youth While Schools Are Closed

Social interaction is still vitally important to the mental health of young people, and it is still possible for families to have safe gatherings among children and parents. Limit indoor groups to 10 or fewer children and outdoor groups to 50 or fewer. Monitor kids for a fever over 100.4 degrees, coughing, or shortness of breath, and select activities that minimize physical contact. Avoid crowded places, like parties, retail spaces, and movie theaters.

For more detailed information about school closures, childcare, and guidelines for gatherings of children, was well as other details about King County’s COVID-19 response, please visit


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