November 1, 2021

COVID-19 Best Practices for Child Care: Cohorting Strategies

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) has developed best practices for early learning professionals navigating COVID-19 protocols in their child care programs. The third topic is cohorting strategies.


To keep child care providers informed on the latest best practices for keeping children, staff, and families safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pennsylvania Key created a webpage that highlights recommended best practices.

The latest information is about cohorting strategies in child care programs. “Cohorting” or assigning staff and children to groups every day limits the number of close contacts they have and lowers the risk for spread of COVID-19.

Strategies include:

  • assigning children to small groups and trying to keep them the same every day, to the greatest extent possible.

  • Assigning staff to individual groups and avoid mixing with other groups.

  • Tracking which groups come together (including children’s and staff’s names) and the timeframes they are together.

  • Staggering use of communal spaces such as indoor large motor spaces, active play areas, playgrounds, gyms, halls, cafeterias, etc.

  • Prioritizing outdoor drop-off and pick-up, if possible, and staggering them, if possible.

More Information

For more information about best practices on face coverings, indoor air quality, and cohorting, visit the PA Key website.

Image: Young children play together at a table at an early learning program in Pittsburgh.