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Mandatory Directive for Programs Serving Children or Youth

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*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: July 13, 2020
Updated: September 5, 2020

On August 28, 2020, the State released its Blueprint for a Safer Economy (“Blueprint”), a statewide system of COVID-19 restrictions. Santa Clara County is currently in Tier Two (Red) of the Blueprint.

Under the Blueprint, the State Health Officer requires all indoor operations at gyms and fitness centers to be limited to 10% capacity in all Tier Two counties, including Santa Clara County. See the Statewide Public Health Officer Order here and the State’s Blueprint here​. This capacity restriction applies even if a gym or 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. Accordingly, these businesses must limit indoor operations to 10% of normal capacity (or to the capacity allowed by the County’s Risk Reduction Order, whichever is stricter), even if the business is only providing programs serving children or youth.

All operations of these businesses are subject to the Santa Clara County Health Officer’s Order issued July 2, 2020 and any applicable State guidance.

Information on the State’s Order and State guidance is available at covid19.ca.gov

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; 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.

This Directive does not apply to regular instruction provided by 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 Order from opening, including amusement parks, theme parks, indoor playgrounds and amusement centers (such as bounce centers, ball pits, and laser tag), and any other business or facility that the Health Officer specifies 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 Mandatory Risk Reduction Measures Applicable to All Activities and Sectors to Address the COVID-19 Pandemic, issued on July 2, 2020 (“Order”).  You must comply with the Order and all requirements of this Directive.

 

The Order

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 must fill out and submit the newest version of the Social Distancing Protocol to the County using the online form, available here. The Protocol is submitted under penalty of perjury, meaning that everything on the form must be complete and accurate to the best of the signer’s knowledge. The Protocol must be distributed to all workers, and it must be accessible to all officials who are enforcing the Order. Businesses are responsible for ensuring that workers understand and are trained on Protocol requirements in a language that they understand.
  • 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 submission of the Social Distancing Protocol online.
  • Face Coverings: Everyone at a business facility or worksite must wear a face covering at all times (except very young children, people for whom face coverings are medically inadvisable, or for communication by or with people who are hearing impaired). If an individual is uncomfortable or has any difficulty breathing while exercising with a face covering, the individual should immediately stop the activity.  This Directive describes a limited exception to the face covering requirements applicable only to certain facilities and activities.
  • Density Limitation: Under the Order, all businesses must limit the number of people who may be inside the facility at the same time.  For staff members, the limit is 1 person per 250 gross square feet of indoor facility space (this means total space, including areas open only to staff like storage rooms).  For clients, the limit is 1 person per 150 square feet of indoor space open to the public.  The density requirements tell businesses how many people (staff or clients) they can let into their facility before another person leaves.  In all facilities, children under age 12 who are accompanying a parent/guardian do not count against the limit.  In facilities used by Programs serving children or youth, children under age 12 do not count against the limit.  However, anyone age 12 and over, including children/youth in the Program, do count toward this limit. 

See the Order and the FAQ page for more details.

 

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.

  1. Density in Indoor Facilities:
    1. Children/youth who are under age 12 shall not count against the density limitation in Section 12.d of the Order; however, children/youth ages 12 and older shall count against the density limitation. Regardless of age, businesses must limit the number of people in the facility to a number that allows people to easily maintain six feet social distance from one another. All businesses are encouraged to move as many activities outdoors as possible. 
  1. All Programs Must Maintain Stable Groups of Children/Youth and Personnel:
    1. Children/youth 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] 
    2. Children/youth who are 6 years old or older must be assigned to stable groups that are as small as practicable, and groups can include no more than 12 children/youth per group. This 12-child limit does not include personnel.  Limiting group size to 12 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Children/youth and personnel from the same households shall be assigned to the same groups, whenever possible.
    6. 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.
  1. 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. This means:
    1. Children/youth cannot attend more than one childcare program, after-school program, or other child/youth activity within the same three-week period.
    2. For children/youth enrolled in K-12 school, this means they can attend school and one additional before- or after-school program or activity.
    3. Programs are responsible for maintaining enrollment and attendance records, and should verify families’ compliance with these restrictions to the extent feasible.
  1. Record Keeping
    1. Programs shall maintain records of personnel and participants assigned to each stable group, any changes to those assignments, and the dates of such changes.
    2. Programs shall maintain daily attendance records for personnel and participants.
    3. Programs shall track and document incidents of possible exposure.
    4. 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.
  1. Face Coverings
    1. 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.
    2. All adults picking up or dropping off children/youth shall wear face coverings.
    3. Children ages 2 through 5 do not need to wear face coverings when interacting solely with children within their stable group.
    4. Children ages 6 through 11 should be strongly encouraged, but are not required, to wear face coverings within their stable group.
    5. Children/youth ages 12 and older must wear face coverings at all times.
    6. 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) for communication by or with someone who is hearing impaired; (7) when children/youth are actively exercising outdoors provided that they remain at least 6 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.
  1. Social Distancing
    1. 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 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.
    2. Stable groups must be kept apart from each other (if indoors, in different rooms or, if outdoors or in very large indoor spaces, at least 25 feet apart).
    3. Within their stable groups:
      1. Children/youth ages 12 and older: 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.
      2. Children ages 6 to 11: children do not need to maintain social distance from one another within their stable cohort, but personnel should maintain at least six feet of distance from children at all times to the maximum extent possible.
      3. Children ages 0 to 5: children and personnel may engage in physical contact as necessary given the needs of children under age 6.
      4. All personnel shall maintain at least 6-foot distance from all other personnel.
      5. Programs teaching classes in indoor classroom settings shall assign stable seating arrangements for children/youth, if applicable, to ensure that close contacts within stable groups are minimized and easily identifiable.
    4. 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 6 feet apart at all times.
  1. Limitations on Tours and Special Events:
    1. Programs may only hold tours for visitors under the following conditions:
      1. Tours are limited to two visitors per tour, and must be as brief as possible.
      2. Visitors must wash their hands or use hand sanitizer upon arrival and wear a cloth face covering for the entire duration of the tour.
      3. 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.
    2. 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.
  1. Hygiene, Cleaning, and Other Measures
    1. 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.
    2. Programs shall minimize staff and children/youth’s contact with high-touch surfaces (e.g., propping open doors) to the extent feasible.
    3. 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:
      1. Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility
      2. Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes
    4. Programs shall teach and reinforce proper handwashing technique; avoiding contact with one’s eyes, nose, and mouth; and covering coughs and sneezes.
    5. 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.
    6. 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 ensure appropriate distancing between children/youth.
    7. 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).
    8. Programs with multiple stable groups must hold outdoor play time or activities in separated areas designated by group and/or staggered throughout the day. Programs should limit use of shared playground equipment in favor of physical activities that require less contact with surfaces and allow for greater physical distancing.
    9. Programs shall serve food individually plated or bagged.
    10. Programs shall not allow sharing of food and utensils and buffet or family-style meals.
  1. Health Screenings
    1. Programs shall encourage personnel to be tested at least once every four weeks.
    2. 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 sample health screening.
    3. 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 or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, nausea, diarrhea , or vomiting. 
    4. Identify an isolation room or area to separate anyone who exhibits COVID-19 symptoms.
    5. 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.
  1. COVID-19 Testing and Reporting
    1. Programs shall require children/youth and personnel to get tested as soon as possible after they develop one or more COVID-19 symptoms or if one of their household members or non-household close contacts tested positive for COVID-19.
      1. In lieu of a negative test result, Programs may allow symptomatic children/youth and personnel 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.
    2. Programs shall require parents/guardians and personnel to immediately report to Program administration if Program participants or personnel test positive for COVID-19 or if one of their household members or non-household close contacts test positive for COVID-19.
    3. Confirmed COVID-19 Case(s):
      1. Any child/youth or personnel who learns they have tested positive for COVID-19 while at the Program should immediately be required to wait in an isolation area until they can be transported home or to a healthcare facility, as soon as practicable.
      2. Program administrators must immediately notify the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department of any positive COVID-19 case by emailing coronavirus@phd.sccgov.org and calling (408) 885-4214.  
      3. Program administrators must notify all families and personnel in the school community of any positive COVID-19 case while maintaining confidentiality as required by state and federal laws. (Information concerning confidentiality can be found here.)
      4. Areas used by any COVID-19 positive person must be immediately closed off. Such areas may not be re-opened until they have been cleaned and disinfected. To reduce risk of exposure, 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.
      5. Return to Program:
        1. Symptomatic individuals may return 14 days after symptom onset OR 7 days after resolution of fever and improvement in other symptoms, whichever is longer.
        2. Asymptomatic individuals who test positive for COVID-19 may return 14 days after their positive test result.
    4. Close contacts to confirmed COVID-19 case(s):
      1. All children/youth or personnel who had close contact with a COVID-19 positive person (including all members of a stable group with the COVID-19 positive person) must be sent home and instructed to get COVID-19 testing and remain quarantined at home for 14 days. A close contact is defined as someone who was within six feet from the person who tested positive for at least 15 minutes.  They should stay home even if they test negative, remain in quarantine for a full 14 days after (1) date of last exposure to the COVID-19 positive person or (2) if the COVID-19 positive person resides in their household, the date that the COVID-19 positive household member completes their isolation.
    5. No actions need to be taken for persons who have not had direct contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, and instead have had close contact with persons who were in direct contact.

 

Stay Informed

For answers to frequently asked questions about this industry and other topics, 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.

 

[1] 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 Mandatory Risk Reduction Measures Applicable to All Activities and Sectors to Address the COVID-19 Pandemic, issued on July 2, 2020.

[2] 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.

  1. Within the last 14 days have you been diagnosed with COVID-19 or had a test confirming you have the virus?

    Yes – STAY HOME and seek medical care.
  1. Do you live in the same household with, or have you had close contact with, someone who in the past 14 days 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 and testing.
  1. Have you had any one or more of these symptoms today or within the past 24 hours? Are these symptoms new or not explained by another reason?
    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath/trouble breathing
    • Chills
    • Night sweats
    • Sore throat
    • Muscle/body aches
    • Loss of taste or smell
    • Headache
    • Confusion
    • Vomiting
    • 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 Immediate Actions Communication
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 and personnel sent home
  • Child/youth and personnel instructed to get tested
No action is needed
Scenario 2: A family member or someone in close contact with a child/youth and personnel member (outside the Program community) tests positive for COVID-19.
  • Child/youth and personnel sent home
  • Child/youth and personnel instructed to get tested
  • Child/youth and personnel instructed to quarantine, even if they test negative, for a full 14 days after (1) date of last exposure to COVID-19 positive non-household contact or (2) COVID-19 positive household member completes their isolation
  • If child/youth or personnel test positive, see Scenario 3 below
  • Program administration notified
For the Involved Child/Youth, Family or Personnel Member:
Template Letter: Household Member or Close Contact With COVID-19 Case
Scenario 3: A child/youth and personnel member tests positive for COVID-19.
  • Child/youth and personnel sent home if not already quarantined
  • Child/youth and personnel instructed to isolate for 14 days after symptom onset OR 7 days after resolution of symptoms, whichever is longer. (If never symptomatic, isolate for 14 days after positive test.)
  • Program-based close contacts identified and instructed to test & quarantine for 14 days
    • In stable elementary classroom cohorts: entire cohort
    • In other settings: use seating chart, consult with teacher/staff
  • Program administration notified
  • Public Health Department notified
For Positive Case Child/Youth, Family and Personnel:
Template Letter: COVID-19 Case

For Child/Youth, Family or Personnel Member Identified as Close Contacts:
Template Letter: Household Member or Close Contact With COVID-19 Case

For All Other Child/Youth, Family or Personnel Member:
Template Letter: COVID-19 Case in Our Community

 

Table 2. Steps to Take in Response to Negative Test Result

Scenario Immediate Actions Communication
A child/youth and personnel member tests negative for COVID-19 after Scenario 1 (symptomatic)
  • Child/youth and personnel may return to program 72 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 not performed
A child/youth and personnel member tests negative after Scenario 2 (close contact)
  • Child/youth and 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 and 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
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Last updated: 9/8/2020 5:30 PM