December 9, 2020

Updated Quarantine Recommendations in Pennsylvania

On December 4, the Pennsylvania Department of Health updated their quarantine recommendations for individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19. These recommendations have been updated in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated guidelines that include options to reduce the quarantine period. These recommendations are subject to change.



Important Note

This guidance does not apply to healthcare or congregate settings. Patients and residents in healthcare settings who have been exposed to COVID-19 should be treated as per healthcare guidance outlined in PA-HAN-526 or its successor. Staff working in a healthcare setting who are exposed to COVID-19 should follow guidance outlined in PA-HAN-510 or its successor.

See page three of this document for more information.


Quarantine is used to separate someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. While individuals in quarantine may or may not develop illness, quarantine helps prevent the spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they have the virus. Any quarantine shorter than 14 days balances reduced burden to the individual under quarantine against a small possibility of increasing the spread of the virus.

While a shortened quarantine period may increase the public’s willingness to adhere to public health recommendations, the overall reduction in transmission and increased compliance will require evaluation; not only in terms of compliance with quarantine and contact tracing activities, but also for any potential negative impacts such as post-quarantine transmission. The most protective recommended quarantine period remains at 14 days post exposure.

How Does Quarantine Work?

Quarantine begins one day after a person has been last exposed to someone with COVID-19 who is infectious. For individuals with COVID-19 who are unable to isolate themselves from their household members, the household members’ quarantine period begins when the case is no longer infectious. For information on infectious periods, please refer to PA-HAN-518.

Quarantine Length

In accordance with recommendations and research from the CDC, the Pennsylvania Department of Health recommends the following quarantine periods:

    • Option 1: Complete a full 14-day quarantine period which would begin the day after you last came into contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 who is infectious. This option is the most protective and poses the lowest risk for post-quarantine transmission of the virus. Other options should only be considered if this option causes an undue burden.
    • Option 2: Individuals can end their quarantine period after Day 10 without testing if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring. However, individuals should continue to monitor their symptoms until Day 14.
    • Option 3: Individuals can end their quarantine period after Day 7 if they complete a COVID-19 test on Day 5 (or later), receive a negative test result within 48 hours before the time of planned quarantine discontinuation, and exhibit no symptoms during the quarantine period. Quarantine cannot be ended earlier than Day 8. COVID-19 tests completed before Day 5 of quarantine will not be sufficient to allow quarantine to end early.

Testing for the purpose of earlier discontinuation of quarantine should only be considered if it will have no impact on community diagnostic testing. Testing of symptomatic individuals seeking evaluation for infection must be prioritized.

Additional Criteria

Individuals can discontinue their quarantine periods in accordance with any of the options above only if the following criteria are also met:

    • no clinical evidence of COVID-19 has been elicited by daily symptom monitoring during the entirety of quarantine up tot he time at which quarantine is discontinued;
    • daily symptom monitoring continues through quarantine Day 14; and,
    • individuals are counseled regarding the need to adhere strictly through Day 14 after exposure to all recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions (masking, physical distancing, etc.).

If any symptoms develop, individuals should immediately self-isolate and contact the Department of Health at 1.877.724.3258, their local health department, or their healthcare provider to report this change in clinical status.

More Information

For more information, read the full Health Alert document. For questions, call your local health department or 1.877.724.3258.

This information has been provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. 


September 11, 2020

Unpacking Research on the COVID Slide

Are you interested in learning about how much learning loss students are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic? Attend the webinar “Unpacking Research on the COVID Slide and Recommendations to Close the Gap” on September 16 to hear from researchers Dr. John Bielinski, Dr. Rachel Brown, and Dr. Kyle Wagner.


During this webinar, the researchers who authored the just-released report, “COVID Slide: Research on Learning Loss and Recommendations to Close the Gap”, will review the data and answer the following questions:

    • Did certain grade levels experience more pronounced learning loss than others?
    • Will core subjects experience the same levels of learning loss, or will one suffer more than the other?
    • Exactly how far behind can I expect students to be when we resume instruction?
    • What can I do to help catch students up quickly?

This webinar will be of interest to K-12 teachers, school and district leaders, guidance counselors, and school psychologists. Time for questions will be provided.


To register and learn more, visit the event webpage.


July 10, 2020

COVID-19: Updated Guidance for Child Care Programs

To maintain the health and safety of their staff and the families they serve, all child care facilities and programs that continue to remain open or that are preparing to reopen in Pennsylvania should follow the guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH). With this, programs are highly encouraged to implement additional health and safety procedures as soon as possible.


The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) released a revised announcement that outlines recommended steps child care providers can take to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. This guidance was developed based on recommendations from the CDC and the DOH and is subject to change. To access the full list of recommendations, read Announcement: C-20-06 Revised: Interim Guidance for Certified Child Care Facilities operating during the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic.

Additionally, in Announcement C-20-08: COVID-19 Operations for Licensed Child Care, OCDEL issued clarification regarding health and safety compliance during the COVID-19 pandemic to licensed child care providers and child care certification representatives employed by the Department of Human Service (DHS).

For examples of required and recommended policies and procedures, continue reading below.

Required Procedures

Announcement C-20-08: COVID-19 Operations for Licensed Child Care states that child care providers are required to do the following:

    • Child care staff must wear face coverings indoors; they must also wear face coverings outside where staff are unable to maintain a six-foot distance from others unless a medical reason prevents the staff from wearing a face covering. This includes anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance.
    • Child care programs must have a written health and safety plan that aligns with CDC guidance to minimize the risks of COVID-19. The safety plan must be communicated to staff and enrolled families. At a minimum, the safety plan must address screening procedures; child drop-off and pick-up policies; sick policies; mask policies; and cleaning and sanitation procedures. Providers can see the “Child Care Facility COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan Template” for developing a health and safety plan.
    • Child care programs must adhere to the reporting of suspected or confirmed cases of enrolled children or staff with COVID-19 and complying with follow-up guidance pertaining to remediation, quarantine, and directive for temporary closure to address additional cleaning and sanitation.

Effective July 17, 2020, child care certification representatives will cite child care programs operating out of compliance with the previously described Critical Elements derived from CDC guidance. Child care programs failing to comply with acceptable plans of correction may be subject to further action that impacts the child care programs’ Certificate of Compliance, ability to continue to operate, and eligibility for distributions of supplemental financial supports.

For more information, view the full announcement or FAQ document.

Drop-Off and Arrival Procedures

Child care programs are strongly recommended to:

    • greet children outside as they arrive;
    • stagger arrival and drop-off times and plan to limit direct contact with parents as much as possible;
    • post signage in drop-off and arrival areas to remind staff and children to keep six feet of distance whenever feasible; and
    • set up hand hygiene stations at the entrance of the facility so children, families, and staff can clean their hands before they enter.
Screening Procedures

The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to prevent it from getting inside the facility. Child care providers should:

    • conduct a daily health screening of any person entering the building, including children, staff, family members, and other visitors to identify symptoms, diagnosis, or exposure to COVID-19 (any person with a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or above, or other signs of illness, should not be admitted into the facility);
    • not allow staff and children to enter the child care facility if they have tested positive for COVID-19, are showing symptoms, or have had potential exposure to a person with COVID-19; and
    • immediately isolate a child or staff member that starts to display symptoms and send them (and any family members) home as soon as possible.
Routine Disinfecting and Sanitation

To reduce the spread of COVID-19 in their program, child care providers should:

    • post signs in highly visible locations that promote everyday protective measures and describe how to stop the spread of COVID-19 (washing hands, wearing masks, disinfecting, etc.);
    • develop a schedule for cleaning and disinfecting;
    • routinely clean, sanitize, and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched (toys, games, tables, toilet training potties, chairs, nap pads, etc.); and
    • keep all cleaning materials secure and out of reach of children.
Bedding and Toys

Child care providers should:

    • not use toys and bedding that cannot be washed, cleaned, and sanitized;
    • not share toys with other groups of infants and toddlers unless they have been properly washed and sanitized before being moved from one group to the other;
    • set toys that need to be cleaned aside and out of children’s reach;
    • keep each child’s bedding separate and stored in individually labeled bins, cubbies, or bags; and
    • clean bedding that touches a child’s skin weekly or before use by another child.
Face Masks

Child care staff are required to wear cloth face coverings. Children two years old and older are required to wear a face covering unless the child fits one of the exceptions included in Section 3 of the Order of the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health Order for Universal Face Coverings.

    • If a child is outdoors and is able to consistently maintain a social distance of at least six feet from others who are not a part of their household, they do not need to wear a mask.
    • If a parent, guardian, or responsible person has been unable to place a face covering safely on a child’s face, they should not do so.
    • If a child two years old or older is unable to remove a face covering without assistance, the child is not required to wear one.
Social Distancing

If possible, child care providers should:

    • limit individual classes to the same group of children and same child care providers each day;
    • consider creating a separate classroom or group for the children of healthcare workers or other first responders;
    • limit the mixing of children, such as staggering playground times and keeping groups separate during special activities; and
    • maintain space between each child’s naptime mat or crib (ideally six feet or more) and place children head to toe during naptime to reduce potential virus spread.

More Information

For additional information, including information on what to do if a person at your facility tests positive for COVID-19 or is exposed to someone with COVID-19, view the full guidance from OCDEL.

To stay up-to-date on the most recent COVID-19 information, visit the Department of Health or Centers for Disease Prevention and Control websites.


January 4, 2019

Coats and Car Seats: Keeping Your Child Warm

Winter means keeping kids warm, but did you know that babies and young children should NOT wear puffy coats or snowsuits when in their car seat?

What Happens?

As demonstrated by the video below, coats or snowsuits can compress under the harness of a car seat, sometimes up to four inches. When this happens, the compression can cause the straps of your child’s car seat to not fit properly, creating a dangerous situation. This situation can also happen with sleeping bags for babies, creating an unsafe ride for your baby.


If you’re looking for ways to keep your baby or young child warm while in a car seat, consider incorporating the following recommendations:

  • Dress your baby or young child in snug layers, like onesies and leggings. Add long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, a hat, shoes, and socks. You can even include a jacket.
  • For babies, use covers specifically for car seats that are designed to give warmth. These covers should be approved by the car-seat manufacturer for your specific car seat.
  • For older babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergartners, after securing them in the car seat, turn their coat around and put it on backward (arms through the armholes) so the coat is on top of the harness, or use a blanket in the car.

*Information provided by the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL)


November 19, 2018

2018 Child Passenger Safety Recommendations

Motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for children four years and older. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated the Child Passenger Safety policy statement and technical report based on new evidence gathered over the past 10 years. The documents will be published in the November issue of Pediatrics. The updated guidance advises children to ride rear-facing as long as possible. Two years of age is no longer a specific age criterion when a child changes from a rear- to a forward-facing car safety seat.
View the AAP New article.


Angela Osterhuber, Ed.M., Director, PA Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics, PA Traffic Injury Prevention Project (TIPP) offers this advice:

  • Secure infants and toddlers in a rear-facing car seat until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by the manufacturer of the car seat. In Pennsylvania, children younger than two years must be secured in a rear-facing car seat.
  • Never place a rear-facing car seat in the front seat that has an active passenger-side front airbag. If the airbag inflates, it will hit the back of the car seat, right where the baby’s headrests, and could cause serious injury or death.
  • Traveling rear-facing is safer than forward-facing.
  • Call TIPP at 800/CAR-BELT x24 (in PA) for help with questions about the new recommendations.

Additional Tips

Car seats must be used correctly to properly protect your child in a crash. The AAP’s parent magazine,, has an article titled Car Seat Checkup with other car seat tips for families, such as:

Information provided by NAEYC.