Child Care FAQ

If you have questions that are not addressed in this document or a special circumstance, please call the Shelby County Health Department COVID-19 call center at 833-943-1658 (8:00 am to 4:30 pm, 7 days a week). Leave a message after 4:30 pm and staff will return your call the next business day.

Q: Can my child care center remain open?
A:
Yes. Daycare and childcare businesses will remain open, but will prioritize children of parents working as emergency responders or in essential services. It is considered an “essential service,” where interruption means would endanger the life, health, or personal safety of the whole or part of the population

Q: My center has more than 10 children. Is this allowed?
A:
Yes. The ratio for classrooms should be 10 children to 1 adult or less if required to maintain social distancing.

Q: What should child care providers do if there is a SUSPECTED case of COVID-19 in their childcare facility?
A:
Child care providers should establish procedures to ensure students and staff who become sick at school or who arrive at school sick are sent home as soon as possible. Keep anyone sick separate from well students and staff until the sick person can be sent home.

Q: What should child care providers do if there is a CONFIRMED case of COVID-19 in their childcare facility?
A: 
Immediately notify the Shelby County Health Department by calling 833-943-1658 (8:00 am to 4:30 pm, 7 days a week). They will help administrators determine a course of action for their child care programs or schools. The CDC is currently recommending dismissing students and most staff for 2-5 days. This initial short-term dismissal allows time for the local health officials to gain a better understanding of the COVID-19 situation impacting the school and for custodial staff to clean and disinfect the affected facilities. The provider and Shelby County Health Department will determine appropriate next steps, including whether an extended dismissal duration is needed to stop or slow further spread of COVID-19.

Q: How can I become a child care provider during the pandemic?
A:
To provide emergency childcare to support your community’s response to COVID-19, please call the TN Department of Human Services at 1-800-462-8261 and select option 1.

Q: Are there any child care providers accepting children of essential employees?
A:
Adirectory of licensed child care agencies with availability to serve children of essential employees has been created by the Tennessee Department of Human Services and updated regularly and sorted by county. To view the  “Active Provider Directory During COVID-19” go to TN Child Care Services webpage https://www.tn.gov/humanservices/for-families/child-care-services.html and click under the heading “Resources for Families During the COVID-19 Emergency”

Q: Is the State of Tennessee providing information to child care providers?
A:
Yes. The TN Department of Human Services posts daily updates, which can be found by date here: https://www.tn.gov/content/tn/humanservices/for-families/child-care-services/child-care-resources-for-providers/child-care-providers-covid-19-daily-update.html

Q: I applied for a State of TN relief grant – who can answer my questions?
A:
Email DHSCOVID19grant@cfmt.org with questions about COVID-19 grants to child care centers.

Q: Is there someone at the State of Tennessee that child care providers can speak with regarding COVID-19?
A:
Yes. To speak with someone at the State of Tennessee, call the COVID-19 Public Information Number at 877-857-2945 (10 am – 10 pm CST, 7 days a week)

Q: Where can child care providers find the Centers for Disease Control Guidance for Childcare Programs that remain open?
A:
A comprehensive CDC guide can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/guidance-for-childcare.html

Q: I need help talking with children about COVID-19. Are there any guides to help me find the right language to use?
A:
As public conversations around COVID-19 increase, children may worry about themselves, their family, and friends getting ill with COVID-19. Parents, family members, school staff, and other trusted adults can play an important role in helping children make sense of what they hear in a way that is honest, accurate, and minimizes anxiety or fear. CDC has created guidance to help adults have conversations with children about COVID-19 and ways they can avoid getting and spreading the disease. You can access this guide here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/talking-with-children.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fcommunity%2Fschools-childcare%2Ftalking-with-children.html