*Please confirm that your facility may open under the State Order. Where
there is a difference between the local County Order and the State Order, the more restrictive order must be
followed. The State also has specific guidance for certain facilities that must be followed in addition to
this mandatory directive.*
Issued: October 29, 2020
Revised: November 16, 2020
Information on the State’s Order and State guidance is available at covid19.ca.gov.
On August 28, 2020, the State issued a Statewide Public Health Officer Order (“State Order,” available here) and the Blueprint for a Safer Economy (“Blueprint,” available here). The State Order and Blueprint establish statewide restrictions applicable to each “tier” to which counties are assigned.
Programs serving children or youth must follow the mandatory requirements in this Directive and any other applicable County Health Officer Directive, the County Health Officer’s Revised Risk Reduction Order issued on October 5, 2020, the applicable restrictions under the State Order and Blueprint, the State’s COVID-19 Industry Guidance documents, and any applicable health and safety regulations. When there is a difference between these rules, the most restrictive rule must be followed.
For additional rules that apply to programs serving children or youth, please see the following COVID-19 Industry Guidance from the State:
This Directive applies to all businesses,1 including individual service providers, that provide in-person programs, lessons, activities, and/or entertainment primarily for minors under the age of 18 (“Programs Serving Children or Youth” or “Program”), whether paid or free, whether on a one-time or recurring basis. This includes, but is not limited to, childcare programs; preschools; summer schools; afterschool programs; academic enrichment centers; programs providing oversight and support for children and/or youth engaging in distance/remote or independent learning (“distance learning hubs”) not held on K-12 school campuses; dance classes; music lessons; organized recreational and athletic activities for children and youth, including camps, lessons, practices, and competitions; and any other programs, lessons, activities, or entertainment for children or youth. NOTE: Some of these activities (e.g., youth sports programs) are currently subject to more restrictive requirements imposed by the State of California. Be sure to consult all applicable State requirements.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, this Directive does not apply to regular instruction or distance learning hubs provided at K-12 schools; childcare provided to children from a single household in the children’s own home (e.g., a babysitter or nanny); instruction provided by colleges and universities primarily for adult students; and programs that provide internships, apprenticeships, or employment for youth but that do not specifically serve minors.
In addition, this Directive does not apply to facilities that serve children or youth but that are prohibited by the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy from opening, including theme parks and indoor amusement centers offering activities that are not naturally distanced (such as bounce centers, ball pits, and laser tag), and any other business or facility that the Health Officer may specify must be closed.
This Directive explains how Programs Serving Children or Youth may operate. This Directive is mandatory. Failure to follow this Directive is a violation of the Order of the Health Officer of the County of Santa Clara Establishing Revised Mandatory Risk Reduction Measures Applicable to All Activities and Sectors to Address the COVID-19 Pandemic, issued on October 5, 2020 (“Order”). You must comply with the Order and all requirements of this Directive.
The Order Issued October 5, 2020
The Order imposes several restrictions on all businesses and activities to ensure that the County stays as safe as possible, including but not limited to the following:
- The Social Distancing Protocol: All businesses and governmental entities that have not already done so must fill out and submit a Revised Social Distancing Protocol under the October 5, 2020 Health Officer Order. Social Distancing Protocols submitted prior to October 11, 2020 are no longer valid. The Revised Social Distancing Protocol must be filled out using an updated template, which is available here. The Protocol is submitted under penalty of perjury, meaning that everything written on the form must be truthful and accurate to the best of the signer’s knowledge, and submitting false information is a crime. The Protocol must be distributed to all workers, and it must be accessible to all officials who are enforcing the Order.
- Signage:All businesses must print (1) an updated COVID-19 PREPARED Sign and (2) a Social Distancing Protocol Visitor Information Sheet, and both must be posted prominently at all facility entrances. These are available for printing after online submission of the Revised Social Distancing Protocol. The Revised Social Distancing Protocol specifies additional signage requirements.
- Face Coverings:Everyone must wear face coverings at all times specified in the California Department of Public Health’s mandatory Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings (“Face Covering Guidance”) and in any specific directives issued by the County Health Officer. Further, even where not required under State or local guidance and orders, face coverings should be worn to the maximum extent possible (1) when indoors and not in one’s own residence and (2) whenever outdoors and within six feet of anyone outside one’s own household. This Directive contains a limited exception to the face covering requirements applicable only to certain facilities and activities.
- Capacity Limitation:All businesses must comply with the limitations established in the Mandatory Directive on Capacity. The capacity limitations for indoor gyms and fitness facilities in the Directive on Capacity apply even if a gym of fitness facility is only providing programs serving children or youth. Gyms and fitness facilities include gymnastics studios, martial arts studios, dance studios, and similar facilities.
See the Order and the FAQ page for more details.
In addition to these general requirements applicable to all businesses under the Order, all personal care services businesses must comply with the following directives.
Programs Serving Children or Youth
For Programs Serving Children or Youth, the general requirements under the Order are supplemented and/or modified by the following directives.
- All Programs Must Maintain Stable Groups of Children/Youth and Personnel:
- Children ages zero to five must be assigned to stable groups that are as small as practicable, and groups can include no more than 24 children/youth per group. This 24-child limit does not include personnel.2
- Children/youth who are six years old or older must be assigned to stable groups that are as small as practicable, and groups can include no more than 16 children/youth/personnel per group. Limiting group size to 16 for Programs for school-age children helps keep their total contacts smaller given that school-aged children are also part of school-based stable groups.
- Children/youth shall not move from one group to another; provided, however, that children/youth who age out of an age-based group may move to the next appropriate age-based group.
- Programs shall limit, to the greatest extent feasible, the number of groups of children with which each member of its personnel comes into direct contact. This reduces transmission risk, and also reduces the number of personnel and children/youth who would have to be tested and quarantined in the event that someone in the Program tests positive for COVID-19.
- Personnel joining a stable group solely for purposes of providing a short break to other personnel in the group should, to the extent practicable, maintain at least six feet of distance from other personnel and children/youth in the group.
- Adults providing special education and related services for children/youth with disabilities may join a stable group to provide such services, but they must maintain at least six feet of distance from all others in the Program, to the extent practicable. Such individuals shall be counted towards the group size limit for Programs serving children/youth ages six and older.
- Children/youth and personnel from the same households shall be assigned to the same groups, whenever possible.
- Parent participation is not allowed at this time to minimize the number of adults in close contact with children/youth and personnel. However, personnel are allowed to enroll their children in the Programs for which they work.
Children/youth may participate in only one Program at a time, and may not move from one Program to another more than once every 3 weeks.
- Children/youth cannot attend more than one childcare program, after-school program, or other child/youth activity within the same three-week period.
- For children/youth receiving in-person instruction in a K-12 school, this means they can attend school and one additional child/youth activity (such as a before- or after-school program or activity).
- For children/youth participating in a distance learning hub, this means that they can participate in the distance learning hub and one additional child/youth activity (such as a before- or after-school program or activity).
- Programs are responsible for maintaining enrollment and attendance records, and should verify families’ compliance with these restrictions to the extent feasible.
- Record Keeping
- Programs shall maintain records of personnel and participants assigned to each stable group, any changes to those assignments, and the dates of such changes.
- Programs shall maintain daily attendance records for personnel and participants.
- Programs shall track and document incidents of possible exposure.
- All records required to be maintained by this Directive shall be kept for a minimum of 1 month to allow the Santa Clara County Public Health Department to conduct case investigation and contact tracing in the event that a COVID-19 case or close contact is identified in connection with the Program.
- Face Coverings3
- All personnel shall wear a face covering at all times while at work. If any personnel are unable to wear a face covering for medical reasons, they shall not be allowed to have direct contact with children/youth. Personnel may consider using face coverings with clear windows or a face shield with an appropriate seal (cloth covering extending from the bottom edge of the shield and tucked into the shirt collar) during phonological instruction to enable students to see the staff member’s mouth and in settings where a face covering poses a barrier to communicating with a student who is hearing impaired or a student with a disability.
- All adults picking up or dropping off children/youth must wear face coverings.
- Children under age 2 should not wear face coverings.
- Children ages 2 through 2nd grade (or 8 years old, for groups not organized by grade level) are encouraged to wear face coverings, even when interacting solely with children within their stable group.
- Children/youth from 3rd grade (or 9 years old, for groups not organized by grade level) and up must wear face coverings at all times.
- Face coverings shall not be required for (1) children under 2 years of age; (2) anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the covering without assistance; (3) children/youth with special needs who are unable to tolerate a face covering; (4) any other individuals who a healthcare professional has advised should not wear a face covering because they have a medical condition that would make wearing a face covering dangerous; (5) anyone during the time that they are eating, drinking, or addressing another biological need that requires the removal of a face covering; (6) communication by or with someone who is hearing impaired; (7) when children/youth are actively exercising outdoors provided that they remain at least six feet distance from others at all times; and (8) when engaged in activities during which wearing a face covering may pose a danger. In addition, children/youth may remove their face covering for a short period of time if they are experiencing difficulty wearing their face covering.
- Physical Distancing
- Parents or other individuals dropping off or picking up older children or youth by car should be encouraged to remain in their vehicles to the extent possible. If in-person dropoff or pickup is necessary, only a single individual should drop off or pick up the child/youth. Programs should consider allowing parents or other individuals to drop off or pick up children/youth at the entrance of the Program’s facility, if any, instead of allowing them to enter the facility.
- Stable groups must be kept apart from each other at all times (if indoors, in different rooms or, if outdoors or in very large indoor spaces, at least 25 feet apart).
- Within their stable groups:
- Children/youth in 6th grade and up (or ages 12 and older, for groups not organized by grade level): Children/youth must maintain at least six feet of distance from other children/youth at all times, and personnel shall maintain at least six feet of distance from children/youth at all times.
- Children in Transitional Kindergarten through 5th grade (or ages 5 to 11, for groups not organized by grade level): Teach children and personnel to maintain at least six feet of distance from each other as much as possible. Seat children at least six feet from personnel and, ideally, six feet or more from other children
- Children ages 0 to 4: Children and personnel may engage in physical contact as necessary given the needs of children under age 5.
- All personnel shall maintain at least a six-foot distance from all other personnel and any visitors.
- Programs shall assign stable seating arrangements for children/youth, if practicable and to the extent feasible, to ensure that close contacts within stable groups are minimized and easily identifiable.
- Programs with multiple stable groups must hold outdoor play time or activities in separated areas designated by group and/or staggered throughout the day so that children/youth and personnel from different groups are not outdoors in the same area at the same time.
- Programs shall hold meetings/trainings for personnel remotely if feasible. If meetings/training for personnel must occur in-person, hold meetings/trainings outdoors, if feasible, and ensure all personnel are at least six feet apart at all times.
- Programs shall not allow personnel to eat together in any indoor spaces, such as break rooms and offices. When possible, personnel should be strongly encouraged to take their meals outdoors, or if not, to eat alone at their own workspaces.
- Programs providing transportation to children/youth shall comply with the bus/van requirements, and should adopt the bus/van recommendations, in COVID-19 PREPARED: Reopening of Santa Clara County K-12 Schools for the 2020-2021 School Year.
- Limitations on Visitors and Special Events:
- Programs shall only allow necessary visitors and limit the number of students and staff who come into contact with them.
- Programs shall require visitors to respond to a COVID-19 health screening (see Figure 1 below) if they are expected to be present at the Program for 15 minutes or longer.
- Visitors must wash their hands or use hand sanitizer upon arrival and wear a face covering for the entire duration of the time that they are present at the Program.
- Visitors must maintain at least six feet or more of distance from personnel. Visitors may not enter any room with children/youth present and, if visitors and children/youth are outdoors, visitors must maintain at least 25 feet of distance from children/youth.
- Programs may hold tours for visitors considering participation in the Program as long as the tours are limited to two visitors per tour and are as brief as possible.
- Programs may not host special events with more than one stable group participating at a time or with any attendees who are not part of the group (e.g., family members or friends). Special events include, but are not limited to, performances, recitals, parades, and parties.
- Hygiene, Cleaning, and Other Measures
- Programs should conduct as many Program activities as possible in outdoor spaces.
- Programs shall increase circulation of air from outside (e.g., by opening windows and doors) to the extent feasible, unless doing so would pose a health or safety risk to individuals using the facility (e.g., allowing in smoke or exacerbating asthma or allergy symptoms). See County’s Guidance for Ventilation and Air Filtration Systems.
- Programs shall minimize sharing of materials to the extent feasible, and any toys/materials used by multiple children should be cleaned between uses. Programs shall limit use of supplies and equipment to one group of children/youth at a time and clean and disinfect between uses pursuant to CDC guidance.
- Programs shall minimize staff and children/youth’s contact with high-touch surfaces (e.g., propping open doors) to the extent feasible.
- At least daily, and more frequently if feasible, clean and disinfect frequently touched hard surfaces (e.g., tables, desks, chairs, door handles, light switches, phones, copy/fax machines, bathroom surfaces (toilets, countertops, faucets), drinking fountains, and playground equipment) and shared objects (toys, games, art supplies, books) pursuant to CDC guidance. See:
- Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility
- Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes
- Programs shall teach and reinforce proper handwashing technique; avoiding contact with one’s eyes, nose, and mouth; and covering coughs and sneezes.
- Programs shall make available adequate supplies to support healthy hygiene behaviors, including soap, tissues, no-touch trashcans, face coverings, and hand sanitizer (with at least 60 percent ethyl alcohol) for personnel and children/youth.
- Programs shall ensure children/youth wash their hands or use hand sanitizer upon arrival, after using the restroom, after playing outside, before and after eating, and after coughing or sneezing. These routines should be conducted with appropriate distancing between children/youth.
- Programs shall serve food individually plated or bagged.
- Programs shall not allow sharing of food and utensils and buffet or family-style meals.
Programs may conduct activities in swimming pools as long as the Programs comply with the requirements of this Directive, the State’s COVID-19 Industry Guidance for Youth Sports, and the rules for swimming pools in the State’s COVID-19 Industry Guidance for Fitness Facilities. Indoor pools may only be used when the State and County allow them to be open. Face coverings should not be worn by children, youth, or Personnel while in the water, but must be worn while out of the water as required by the State Face Covering Guidance.
- Health Screenings
- Programs shall encourage personnel to be tested for the SARS-CoV-2 virus at least once every four weeks.
- Programs shall require daily COVID-19 symptom screening for all personnel and Program participants, on-site and/or prior to arrival. Figure 1, below, provides a recommended health screening.
- Programs shall also post signs at all entrances instructing children/youth, personnel, and all others not to enter the facility if they have any COVID-19 symptoms. COVID-19 symptoms include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, recent loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
- Identify an isolation room or area (indoor or outdoor) to separate anyone who exhibits COVID-19 symptoms.
- Any children/youth or personnel exhibiting symptoms should immediately be required to wear a face covering (if not wearing one already) and wait in an isolation area until they can be transported home or to a healthcare facility, as soon as practicable. For serious illness, call 9-1-1 without delay.
- COVID-19 Testing, Reporting, and Response
- Symptomatic Individuals (Not Close Contacts to a Case)
- Programs shall require children/youth and personnel to get tested as soon as possible after they develop one or more COVID-19 symptoms.
- Return to Program:
- Individuals who test negative for COVID-19 and are not close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases should remain at home until at least 24 hours after resolution of fever (if any) and improvement in other symptoms.
- Documentation of the negative test result must be provided to the Program’s administrator. In lieu of a negative test result, Programs may allow symptomatic children/youth and personnel who are not close contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 case to return to work/school with a medical note by a physician that provides alternative explanation for symptoms and reason for not ordering COVID-19 testing.
- Close Contacts of a Confirmed COVID-19 Case
- A close contact is defined as someone who was within six feet of a person infected with COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes at any time beginning two days before the infected person had symptoms or tested positive. Close contacts include people who had 15 minutes of continuous contact with the infected person, as well as people who had repeated short-duration interactions with the infected person.
- All children/youth or personnel who had close contact with a COVID-19 positive person OR who are members of a stable group with the COVID-19 positive person must be sent home and instructed to quarantine at home for at least 14 days after their last exposure to the positive case.
- For stable groups in which (a) all activities are conducted outdoors and (b) all individuals wear face coverings and are distanced 6 feet apart or more at all times, Programs may provide quarantine instructions only to those individuals who meet the definition of a close contact to the case, rather than the entire cohort.
- For confirmed COVID-19 cases who are unable to isolate from other household members, household close contacts must isolate until 14 days after the case completes their isolation period. This may be 24 days or more.
- Testing: A close contact without symptoms should get tested around day 7 of their quarantine period. A close contact who has or who develops symptoms should be tested immediately. If the test is done before 7 days, then they should get tested again towards the end of their 14-day quarantine period. If the close contact tests positive prior to the completion of their quarantine period, they must follow the requirements for positive cases below.
- Return to Program:
- A close contact must remain in quarantine for 14 days from their last exposure to the COVID-19 case, regardless of whether they receive a negative test result.
- A close contact who quarantines for 14 days after their last exposure to the COVID-19 case is not required to provide a medical note or negative test result to return to the Program.
- Individuals Who Test Positive for COVID-19 (Confirmed COVID-19 Cases)
- Programs shall require parents/guardians and personnel to immediately report to Program administration if a Program participant or personnel test positive for COVID-19 or if one of their household members or non-household close contacts test positive for COVID-19.
- Any Program participant or personnel who learns they have tested positive for COVID-19 while at the Program should be required to immediately go home or wait in an isolation area until they can be transported home or to a healthcare facility, as soon as practicable.
- Program administrators must notify the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department within 4 hours of learning of any positive COVID-19 case via the Education Reporting Portal at sccgov.org/childcare.
- Areas used by any COVID-19 positive person during their infectious period must be immediately closed off. (The infectious period is defined as 48 hours prior to onset of symptoms until 10 days after symptom onset, or if asymptomatic, from 48 hours before the date on which the positive test was collected until 10 days after.) Such areas may not be re-opened until they have been ventilated, cleaned and disinfected. To reduce risk of exposure, ventilate area and/or wait 24 hours before you clean and disinfect. If it is not possible to wait 24 hours, wait as long as practicable. Ensure a safe and correct application of disinfectants using personal protective equipment and ventilation.
- Program administrators must notify affected families and personnel of any positive COVID-19 case in the Program while maintaining confidentiality as required by state and federal laws.
Programs must identify and notify all close contacts to a confirmed COVID-19 case within the Program. All children/youth or personnel who had close contact with a COVID-19 positive person OR who are members of a stable group with the COVID-19 positive person must be sent home and instructed to quarantine at home for at least 14 days after their last exposure to the positive case. Programs shall handle close contacts in accordance with Section 10.b above.
- Return to Program:
- Symptomatic individuals who test positive for COVID-19 may return if it has been at least 10 days since their symptom onset AND at least 24 hours have passed since their last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications AND their other symptoms have improved.
- Asymptomatic individuals who test positive for COVID-19 may return 10 days after their positive test result was collected.
- Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and have completed their isolation, as set forth above, shall not be required to provide a medical note or a negative test prior to returning to the Program.
- No actions need to be taken for persons who have not had close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, and instead have had close contact with a person who was in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case.
- Programs shall follow the steps outlined in Table 1 in response to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases and close contacts and the steps outlined in Table 2 in response to negative test results from suspected COVID-19 cases and close contacts.
For answers to frequently asked questions about this industry and other topics related to the Health Officer Order, please see the FAQ page
. Please note that this Directive may be updated
For up-to-date information on the Health Officer Order, please visit the County Public Health Department’s website at www.sccgov.org/coronavirus
 For purposes of this Directive, the term “business” shall be as defined in the Order of the Health Officer of the County of Santa Clara Establishing Revised Mandatory Risk Reduction Measures Applicable to All Activities and Sectors to Address the COVID-19 Pandemic, issued on October 5, 2020.
 For purposes of this Directive, the term “personnel” shall be as defined in the Order.
Figure 1. Recommended Health Screening for Students and Staff
Ask these questions. A person who answers “Yes” to any one of these questions must not be allowed to enter the school facility.
- Within the last 10 days have you been diagnosed with COVID-19 or had a test confirming you have the
Yes – STAY HOME and seek medical care.
- Within the past 14 days, have you had close contact with, someone who has been in isolation for COVID-19 or had a test confirming they have the virus? Close contact
is less than 6 feet for 15 minutes or more.
Yes – STAY HOME and seek medical care
- a. Have you had any one or more of these symptoms today or within the past 3 days?
Yes – STAY HOME and seek medical care and testing.
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath/trouble breathing
- Loss of taste or smell
b. Have you had any one or more of these symptoms today or within the past 3 days and that are new or not explained by another reason?
- Muscle or body Aches
- Sore Throat
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
Yes – STAY HOME and seek medical care and testing.
Table 1. Steps to Take in Response to Confirmed or Suspected COVID-19 Cases and Close Contacts
|Scenario 1: A child/youth or personnel member either exhibits COVID-19 symptoms, answers
“yes” to a health screening question, or has a temperature of 100.00 or above.
- Child/youth or personnel sent home
- Child/youth or personnel instructed to get tested
- Program administration notified
- Program/cohort remains open
|No action is needed
|Scenario 2: A family member or someone in close contact with a child/youth or personnel member
(outside the Program community) tests positive for COVID-19.
- Child/youth or personnel sent home
- Program administration notified
- Child/youth or personnel instructed to get tested around day 7 after last exposure to COVID-19 case
- Child/youth or personnel instructed to quarantine, even if they test negative, for a full 14
days after date of last exposure to COVID-19 case.
- Program remains open
- If child/youth or personnel test positive, see Scenario 3 below
Letter to child/youth or personnel who has been in close contact with a COVID-19 case
Letter to cohort members
|Scenario 3: A child/youth or personnel member tests positive for COVID-19.
- Child/youth or personnel sent home if not already quarantined
- Program administration notified
- Public Health Department notified
- Child/youth or personnel instructed to isolate for 10 days after symptom onset AND at least 24 hours after resolution of fever symptoms (If never symptomatic, isolate for 10 days after
- Program-based close contacts identified and instructed to test & quarantine for 14 days
- In stable cohorts, the entire cohort must quarantine. However, if (a) all Program activities are conducted outdoors and (b) all individuals wear face coverings and are distanced 6 feet apart or more at all times, only close contacts must quarantine.
Letter to child/youth or personnel who test positive for COVID-19
Letter to cohort members
Table 2. Steps to Take in Response to Negative Test Result
|A child/youth or personnel member tests negative for COVID-19 after Scenario 1 (symptomatic)
- Child/youth or personnel may return to program 24 hours after resolution of fever and
improvement in other symptoms
|Child/youth, family or personnel to bring evidence of negative COVID-19 test or medical note if testing
|A child/youth or personnel member tests negative after Scenario 2 (close contact)
- Child/youth or personnel must remain in quarantine for a full 14 days after (1) date of last
exposure to COVID-19 positive non-household contact or (2) date that COVID-19 positive household
member completes their isolation
|No action is needed
|A child/youth or personnel member tests negative after routine surveillance testing (no symptoms and no
close contact to a confirmed COVID-19 case)
- Can return to program/work immediately
|No action is needed