March 24, 2020

COVID-19: Resources for Early Learning Programs

If you work for or operate an early learning program in Pennsylvania, including public and private schools; child care centers; group child care homes; family child care homes; family, friend, and neighbor care, it’s important to remain calm, prepare, and take precautionary measures. By doing so, you will help to maintain the health and wellbeing of yourself, other staff, and the communities you serve. For up-to-date recommendations, please visit the ELRC Region 5 website.

Continue reading below for a brief overview of COVID-19; information about waivers and enrollment capacity; and a list of resources.

Submit a Resource

Do you have a resource for families or early learning professionals that should be added to our lists? Complete Trying Together’s COVID-19 Resource Submission Form!



An Overview of COVID-19

COVID-19 is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a new coronavirus not previously seen in humans. Because the virus impacts the respiratory system, common symptoms of infection include fever, dry cough, tiredness, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. However, WHO states that some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, and diarrhea. After being infected with COVID-19, individuals generally display mild symptoms that begin gradually, but some people who become infected may not develop any symptoms at all and may feel healthy.

To learn more about COVID-19 and the steps you can take to reduce your family’s risk of infection, read our recent news post. This post also includes information about what to do after infection, information on how it spreads, and links to several other organizations and entities that can provide more information.

Pennsylvania Temporary Closure Order Waiver

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) has implemented a waiver process for child care facilities who wish or are continuing to serve children of essential services personnel such as health care workers, first responders, direct health care staff, and long term care facility staff.

Child care programs seeking a waiver from the Commonwealth’s temporary closure order (except those operating in Philadelphia) should complete the Exemption of Directive to Temporary Close Form. Completed waiver forms should be emailed to the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) at RA-PWDRACERT@PA.GOV. Child care certification staff will respond to requests as quickly as possible. Email subject line should read, “Waiver Request – (Insert County Name).”

Providers who have already submitted applications should not resubmit or send additional requests to the RA-PWDRACERT@PA.GOV account. For questions, please call OCDEL at 1.877.472.5437 or your Child Care Certification Representative.

Enrollment Capacity

It is likely that as this situation progresses, families may need to make changes to their child care arrangements if their provider does not continue to operate. If you are currently operating with an Exemption of Directive to Temporarily Close waiver and are willing to accept new children of essential employees, please contact your Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC). Once you’ve notified your ELRC, they will be able to direct families to your facility.

To contact your ELRC, please visit




Information about COVID-19

Guidance for Providers

Remote Learning

Talking with Children


After Infection

Impacts on Child Care, School, and Work

Fact Sheets

Informational Flyers

Mental Health

Receiving Support

Multilingual Resources

Curated Lists

Contacts and Information

More Information

For more information about COVID-19, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or World Health Organization (WHO) websites.