Request for Proposals: City of Austin seeking child care operator for program at Dove Springs Public Health Facility.
On this page:
To learn more about key prevention and management strategies found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Protecting Your Early Care and Education Program from COVID-19 and Other Infections page and for additional resources, please select the topics below:
State of Texas minimum immunization requirements
- Keep required immunizations records and exemptions for the children enrolled in your program. More information about the minimum immunization requirements for child care facilities can be found on the Department of State Health Services website.
Recommended immunization schedules
- Encourage staff and families to stay up to date with the recommended immunization schedule.
- Let staff and families know where they can get vaccinated.
- Austin Public Health offers immunizations, including COVID-19 and flu vaccines, to children who are uninsured or Medicaid recipients. Services are also available to uninsured adults. Find out more about appointments and Shot for Tots/Big Shots clinics on the APH Immunizations page.
- Partner with APH to host a vaccine event at your child care program for staff and families. Complete this questionnaire to request to host a pop-up vaccination clinic.
- State of Texas reporting requirements
The Texas Administrative Code requires that licensed and registered child care programs report some cases or outbreaks of some communicable/infectious diseases among children and staff to their local health department. Reporting requirements are found in the Texas Notifiable Conditions List and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Communicable Disease Chart for Schools and Child Care Programs.
How to report to Austin Public Health:
- To notify APH of any outbreaks of respiratory or gastrointestinal illnesses NOT caused by COVID-19 (e.g., flu, stomach bugs, etc.) use this APH Outbreak Notification Form for Schools & Child Care Programs.
- To report COVID-19 cases, follow the reporting instructions in the "When someone has COVID-19" section below.
- For all other reportable conditions (listed on the Texas Notifiable Conditions List), please call the APH Epidemiology phone number at 512-972-5555. Additional disease reporting information may be found in the 2023 Disease Reporting Packet for Travis County.
- Handwashing & respiratory etiquette
Teach children and staff when and how to wash their hands.
Use printable posters to help raise awareness about handwashing.
Teach children and staff how to cover coughs and sneezes.
- Sanitizing & disinfecting
Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces are important everyday strategies to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, like COVID-19. Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has information about safe sanitizing & disinfecting practices in the child care setting available on their website, including the downloadable Safe Disinfecting E-toolkit.
Improving ventilation in buildings can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases by reducing the number of virus particles in the air. Learn more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about how to improve ventilation in the child care setting, here.
- Suggested further reading
American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) Managing Infectious Diseases in Child Care and Schools: A Quick Reference Guide, 6th Edition
Austin Public Health (APH) encourages child care programs to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Operational Guidance for K-12 Schools and Early Care and Education Programs to Support Safe In-Person Learning.
According to the CDC, Early Care and Education (ECE) programs in all settings (e.g., center-based, home-based, Head Start, within schools, etc.), “should put in place a core set of infectious disease prevention strategies as part of their normal operations. The addition and layering of COVID-19-specific prevention strategies should be tied to the COVID-19 hospital admission levels and community or setting-specific context, such as availability of resources, health status of students, and age of population served. Enhanced prevention strategies also may be necessary in response to an outbreak of COVID-19 in the ECE setting.”
For summaries of some of the key COVID-19 specific prevention strategies found in the full CDC operational guidance and for additional resources, please select the topics below:
- COVID-19 vaccination
Encourage staff and families to stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccination.
Let staff and families know where they can get vaccinated. Find location by:
- Visiting vaccines.gov (vacunas.gov for Spanish) or https://www.austintexas.gov/covid19-vaccines
- Texting your ZIP code to 438829 (822862 for Spanish)
To help promote vaccination, share these CDC web pages with staff and families:
- Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination
- 6 Things to Know about COVID-19 Vaccination for Children
Help raise awareness about vaccination by using social media graphics, posters, videos, and customizable parent letters available from the CDC and APH:
- CDC Resources to Promote the COVID-19 Vaccine for Children & Teens
- APH COVID-19 Pediatric Vaccine Toolkit
- APH Be Your Child’s Hero Campaign
Partner with APH to host a vaccine event at your child care program for staff and families.
Wearing a face mask over your nose and mouth can help protect you and others from COVID-19. The CDC has information on who should wear a mask, when, and how to get the best fit, here.
Keep in mind that certain groups of people should not wear a mask, including:
- Children younger than 2 years old.
- A person with a disability who cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask, because of the disability as defined by the American with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.).
- Children who are sleeping.
- Anyone participating in activities where the mask could get wet, like swimming or water play.
- Request health & safety supplies
If you are in need of COVID-19 health and safety supplies, please complete this form. While Austin Public Health cannot guarantee that we will be able to provide all the supplies requested, APH staff will do our best to meet these needs.
Si necesita suministros de salud y protección contra COVID-19, por favor llene este formulario. Aunque Salud Pública de Austin/Austin Public Health no puede garantizar que podamos proveer todos los suministros solicitados, nuestro personal hará todo lo posible por satisfacer esas necesidades.
When someone has COVID-19
For a summary of the key actions found on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19: Isolation and Precautions in ECE Programs page and for additional resources, please select the topics below:
- State of Texas isolation requirements and CDC recommendations for people who have tested positive or have COVID-19 symptoms
Child care programs must exclude children who have COVID-19. Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Communicable Disease Chart for Schools and Child Care Programs describes the symptoms, exclusion, readmission criteria, and more for COVID-19.
- Precautions for people who have been exposed
Special considerations for children under 2 Keep in mind that some people may not be able to follow the exposure guidance to wear a face mask around others (e.g., children under age 2). In those situations, other prevention strategies may include:
- Having anyone able to mask in the classroom wear a mask (teachers, children ages 2 and up, etc.).
- Increasing outdoor time.
- Improving ventilation in the classroom.
- Adding some physical distance during naps, meals, and snacks.
- State of Texas COVID-19 reporting requirements
The Texas Administrative Code requires that child care programs report cases of COVID-19 to their local health department. Report COVID-19 cases among children & staff by filling out the APH Child Care & Youth Camps COVID-19 Case Reporting Form.
Reporting requirements are found in the Texas Notifiable Conditions List and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Communicable Disease Chart for Schools and Child Care Programs.
- State of Texas required notifications to child care community
Programs must notify all parents and Child Care Regulation in writing within 48 hours of becoming aware that a child or employee has contracted COVID-19.
Per the CDC, in child care and school settings, people exposed to someone with COVID-19 are advised to follow recommendations to wear a well-fitting mask and get tested. For this reason, it is best practice to let staff and families know if they or their child have been exposed to a person with confirmed COVID-19.
APH recommends that child care programs include information on the following topics in notifications to families and staff:
- Any relevant program policies
- Latest recommendations for people exposed
- Latest recommendations on isolation and treatment
- Testing options in the community
- Vaccine options in the community
Finding a testing location:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) testing recommendations for different situations can be found on the COVID-19 Testing: What You Need to Know page.
- Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should test immediately.
- If you don’t have symptoms but have been exposed to COVID-19, follow the CDC recommendations here.
- PCR tests are the “gold standard” for COVID-19 tests. This means they are the most accurate and reliable kind of test. If you receive a negative COVID-19 test result from one PCR test, you can be confident that you probably do not have COVID-19.
- Positive test results from a rapid antigen test are very accurate and reliable. However, in general, antigen tests are less likely to detect the virus than PCR tests, especially when symptoms are not present. Unlike PCR tests, you would need multiple negative rapid antigen test results to be confident that you do not have COVID-19.
Information about the state health inspection requirement for child care facilities and the inspection fee waiver for high-quality child care programs can be found on the APH Custodial Care Inspection page.
Information about applying for a food permit and the permit fee waiver for high-quality child care programs can be found on the APH Fixed Food Establishments page.
APH encourages child care directors and staff to sign up for Bright by Text to receive texts with developmental information, activity ideas, and information on local resources and events for families with young children. Texts are available in English and Spanish and focus on tips and information for the prenatal period through age 8. Please encourage your program’s families to sign up as well!
Email ChildCareInfo@austintexas.gov to ask questions regarding communicable diseases or other public health topics. (Note: Please do not report disease cases via email.)
Call 512-972-5555 to contact the Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit regarding communicable diseases. (Note: Instructions for reporting communicable diseases are in the "Preventing & Managing Communicable Diseases" section at the top of this web page.)
Want to be added to the APH Child Care and/or the Youth & Summer Camp Email List(s)? APH sends occasional emails with public health updates and resources to child care providers and youth camp programs. Fill out this form to get added to the email list(s).
Austin Public Health (APH) partners with Workforce Solutions Capital Area to provide health-related trainings for child care directors and teachers.
Supporting Lactation in Child Care Programs (virtual) — Wednesday, Aug. 23, 1-2 p.m. Register here.
Vaccine Preventable Diseases: Ways to Encourage Vaccinations in Your Program (virtual) — Wednesday, Sept. 27, 1-2 p.m. Register here.
Infant Safe Sleep (virtual) — Wednesday, Oct. 4, 1-2 p.m. Register here.