Rules & Guidelines

CDC Releases Updated COVID-19 Guidance for Operating Early Childhood Education and Care Programs (07.09.2021)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated COVID-19 Guidance for Operating Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) programs. The updated guidance focuses on helping administrators of ECEC programs, along with state and local health officials, safely support in-person child care operations.

Key Takeaways:

  • Vaccination is currently the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Promoting vaccination among eligible individuals can help ECE programs protect staff and children in their care, as well as their families.
  • Most ECE programs serve children under the age of 12 who are not yet eligible for vaccination at this time. Therefore, this guidance emphasizes implementing layered COVID-19 prevention strategies (e.g. using multiple prevention strategies together) to protect children and adults who are not fully vaccinated.
  • COVID-19 prevention strategies remain critical to protect people, including children and staff, who are not fully vaccinated, especially in areas of moderate-to-high community transmission levels.
  • Masks should be worn indoors by all individuals (ages two and older) who are not fully vaccinated. ECE settings may implement universal mask use in some situations, such as if they serve a population not yet eligible for vaccination or if they have increasing, substantial, or high COVID-19 transmission in their ECE program or community.
  • Localities should monitor community transmission, vaccination coverage, the occurrence of outbreaks, and local policies and regulations to guide decisions on the use of layered prevention strategies.

Read the Updated Guidance

Guidance for Early Care & Learning Providers

For Early Care and Education Providers 

For Child Care Providers (08.17.2020)

As of August 17, 2020, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has released the most recent guidelines for Illinois Licensed Child Care and License Exempt School Age Guidance.

RESTORE ILLINOIS Licensed Child Care Guidance & License Exempt School-Age Guidance

Updated Restore Illinois Child Care Guidance (07.01.2020)

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development (GOECD) have issued updated Restore Illinois Child Care Guidance for child care homes and centers to be able to safely reopen.

Additionally, DCFS has filed emergency rule making, effective 6.24.20, for a maximum of 150 days. Additions to the rules include:

  • Centers may choose to staff classrooms with a qualified early childhood assistant for up to 3 hours of their program day and should document such in the program's Enhanced Staffing Plan.
  • Staff qualified to work as Early Childhood Teachers in an Emergency Day Care (EDC) and who served in the role from March-May 2020 can continue to work as an Early Childhood Teacher through 7.31.20, at the same program which has since reverted to their normal child care license.
  • Click here to read this full emergency rule making document

As our state engages in a "stay at home" strategy to slow the spread of COVID-19, per Governor Pritzker's Executive Order on Friday March 20, 2020, all child care programs are closed. Where possible, children should be kept at home. 

However, we know that is not an option for some of our essential workers, and it is the priority of Governor Pritzker to provide you with what you need, where and when you need it.

There is a lot of information about the rules and guidelines for Emergency Child Care Centers and Homes. The information below is a summary of the most important information you need to know. If you are looking for information you do not see below, visit the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood COVID-19 webpage.

For Child Care Providers Who Want to Offer Emergency Care to Essential Workers

Emergency Child Care Homes and Centers will follow newly developed guidelines informed by CDC guidelines and best practices for caring for children. All persons providing care for children in an emergency setting are required to have a current background check.

Important Information

  • Definitions of “Essential Workers”
  • Emergency Care Homes can have a maximum of 6 children per home.
  • Emergency Care Centers can have a maximum of 10 children per classroom. The max of 50 children per center is a guideline.
  • For licensed Centers, you can open once you receive confirmation your application has been received (5 day grace period).
  • CCAP copayments for families will be $1 for April and May, redetermined eligibility will be extended to families for March, April, and May.
  • No change of provider forms are necessary during this time.
  • License-exempt Centers no longer need to file for an emergency license through DCFS. These license exempt centers would not be eligible for a DHS grant, however, unless they did obtain an emergency license.