Skip to content

Guidance for Nurseries 

Encourage staff/volunteers to take everyday preventive actions to prevent the spread of respiratory illness.

  • Require sick children and staff/volunteers to stay home.
  • Persons who have a fever of 100.4 F (38C) or above or other signs of illness should not be admitted to the facility. Encourage parents to be on the alert for signs of illness in their children and to keep them home when they are sick. Screen children upon arrival, if possible.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a mask. Masks should NOT be put on babies and children under age two because of the danger of suffocation.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Remember to supervise young children when they use hand sanitizer to prevent swallowing alcohol.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. This may also include cleaning objects/surfaces not ordinarily cleaned daily such as doorknobs, light switches, classroom sink handles, countertops, nap pads, toilet training potties, desks, chairs, cubbies, and playground structures.
  • Cover cough and sneezes
  • Encourage social distancing as much as possible, with children, for example, playing in separate areas of the room and sitting six feet apart if a story is read.

Clean and Sanitize Toys

  • Toys that cannot be cleaned and sanitized should not be used.
  • Toys that children have placed in their mouths or that are otherwise contaminated by body secretions or excretions should be set aside until they are cleaned by hand by a person wearing gloves. Clean with water and detergent, rinse, sanitize with an EPA-registered disinfectant, rinse again, and air-dry. You may also clean in a mechanical dishwasher. Be mindful of items more likely to be placed in a child’s mouth, like play food, dishes, and utensils.
  • Machine washable cloth toys should be used by one individual at a time or should not be used at all. These toys should be laundered before being used by another child.
  • Do not share toys with other groups of infants or toddlers, unless they are washed and sanitized before being moved from one group to the other.
  • Set aside toys that need to be cleaned. Place in a dish pan with soapy water or put in a separate container marked for “soiled toys.” Keep dish pan and water out of reach from children to prevent risk of drowning. Washing with soapy water is the ideal method for cleaning. Try to have enough toys so that the toys can be rotated through cleanings.
  • Children’s books, like other paper-based materials such as mail or envelopes, are not considered a high risk for transmission and do not need additional cleaning or disinfection procedures.

Washing, Feeding, or Holding a Child
It is important to comfort crying, sad, and/or anxious infants and toddlers, and they often need to be held. To the extent possible, when washing, feeding, or holding very young children:

  • Child care providers should wash their hands, neck, and anywhere touched by a child’s secretions.
  • Child care providers should wash their hands before and after handling infant bottles prepared at home or prepared in the facility. 

Vulnerable/High Risk Groups
Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 and should take great care if they elect to serve in a nursery.

See the full CDC Guidance
From CDC guidance for Child Care Programs. The full document can be found here: