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Novel Coronavirus Child Care Guidance

Dear Child Care Providers,

Recently, a novel (new) coronavirus was detected in thousands of people worldwide, primarily in China. A novel coronavirus is a strain that has not been previously found in humans. Symptoms of the virus include fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath and is associated with travel to affected areas in the 14 days before symptoms onset. Visit for the latest information on affected areas.

New York City is closely monitoring the outbreak and working with our partners at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The current risk to New Yorkers is low. The New York City Health Department has developed the attached guidance based on what we know about this new virus and how to prevent transmission of respiratory viruses in general. This guidance will help you prepare your child care center, respond if a child or staff member becomes ill and manage concerns from parents, guardians, children and staff.

New Yorkers should go about their daily lives, but practice the same precautions you do during cold and flu season. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when sneezing or coughing, wash your hands with soap and water often, and stay home if you are feeling sick. There is no need to limit travel around the city or wear masks unless otherwise directed by a health care provider.

Staff and children should be allowed to attend your child care program unless they are exhibiting symptoms of the illness, regardless of travel history. If an individual is symptomatic, follow your program’s plan for isolating an ill person until the person has left the premises and you have disinfected properly.

Your calm example and leadership during this time can help alleviate parent and staff concerns. Staff and parents can be directed to or 311 for more information. In addition, here is more information from the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene regarding the virus and child care.

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