CDL Response to COVID-19: POLICIES


For a brief overview of how the CDL is protecting the our center from COVID-19, check out this CDC Guide that we adhere to.

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Assumptions & Guidance for COVID-19 Policies

General Assumptions

  • This addendum will be in addition to the already existing health and safety policies of the centers.  The COVID-19 policies will supersede the existing program policies if there are any discrepancies.

Guidance for COVID-19 Policy Addendum

To ensure the safety of children, families, and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers will monitor the situation and take into account the guidance and recommendations from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Public Health Madison and Dane County (PHMDC), and the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF).  Programs will also monitor information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and federal, state, and county governments.

Due to the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Campus Child Care COVID-19 policies will be periodically updated based on new information from UW-Madison and the four entities listed above. Campus constituents and parents will be informed of any major policy updates in writing.  

When will the CDL Close due to COVID-19?

A Center with a confirmed case of COVID-19 will follow the most current guidance from PHMDC, DCF and UW Health to determine the necessity of closing and for what period of time. If there is a case of COVID-19 in the Center, the Center will determine whether a short-term (less than one week) or long-term (two weeks or more) closure will be required for sufficient cleaning and disinfection.

Centers may need to close certain classrooms or the entire facility if there are not enough teachers able to report to work during the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., due to illness, self-isolation, or quarantine requirements).  For the health of the children and staff, PHMDC is recommending that classrooms do not combine and that float teachers are assigned to one classroom, making flexible staff solutions less likely.  Every effort will be made to arrange for qualified substitutes who are familiar with the children and Center, but this may not always be possible.  The pandemic tuition policy will be put into place if Centers must close due to staff shortages related to COVID-19 pandemic.

PHMDC and/or UW-Madison will determine if longer school closures are necessary or if only specific classrooms need to be closed. PHMDC will use this time to trace close contacts of the case and determine if others could be at risk. In the case that a person with a positive COVID-19 test has been on campus, UW-Madison EHS will be contacted for proper cleaning of the space.

Families will be notified of positive COVID-19 cases while their child was in attendance, but Centers will maintain the confidentiality of the child, family, student, or staff involved as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Center Directors will also need to maintain confidentiality when reporting these cases to UW-Madison campus leadership.

Increased Cases of COVID-19 in the Community

Centers will follow Federal, State, and UW Madison Campus guidance regarding closure and/or stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19 cases in the community.

SoHE administrative leadership has communicated with campus to get clarification on what criteria campus will use for possible future COVID-19-related closures of the UW-Madison Campus.  The current criteria is as follows:

  • # of positive cases on campus
  • # of local hospitalizations due to COVID-19
  • Ability of local hospitals to meet COVID-19 related needs
  • Ability of UW-Madison to meet isolation and quarantine needs of students and others
  • Ability of the UW-Madison to get COVID-19-related supplies, including PPE
  • Guidance from PHMDC or the State of Wisconsin to close.

Campus Child Care Centers will most likely close if the UW-Madison campus closes again for COVID-19-related reasons.  A team of experts on campus is regularly monitoring the criteria above to stay informed.

Sources to stay informed, find testing, and schedule a vaccination:


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The center is fully committed to safeguarding the health and safety of all children, families, and staff. For this reason, effective immediately, all center employees and children must comply with the following personal hygiene policy:

  • All employees and children will be required to frequently wash hands with soap and warm water.
  • All employees shall follow (and encourage children to follow) proper cough and sneeze etiquette (see etiquette guidelines below).
  • Children, families, and staff should avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with hands.
  • Staff will be required to wash arms, legs, etc. when contaminated with secretions, such as snot, drool, etc.
  • Staff will assist children in washing arms, lets, etc. when contaminated with secretions.


What You Need to Know About Handwashing (Video)

Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible, or use hand sanitizer if soap and water isn’t available.  

Employees and children must wash hands, at a minimum:

  • When entering the program
  • Before interacting with other employees or children
  • When switching tasks
  • Before and after sensory table use
  • Before toileting or changing diapers/pull-ups (employees only)
  • After toileting or changing diapers/pull-ups
  • After assisting a child with toilet use or toileting accidents
  • After having any contact with bodily fluids (including mucous)
  • Before and after breaks (employees only)
  • After sneezing, coughing, or blowing nose or assisting a child
  • When hands are visibly soiled
  • Prior to leaving work
  • Before and after meals and snacks (including prep, handling, setting the table, serving)
  • After outdoor play

Cough and Sneeze Etiquette

To help stop the spread of germs employees should do the following and families and teachers should work to teach children these steps, as developmentally appropriate:

  • Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing
  • Throw used tissues in the trash
  • If don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into elbow, not hand
  • Change clothes if needed after sneezing /coughing onto clothes

Additional Hygiene Measure

Additional hygiene related measures will be put into place to promote the health of children and staff at this time.

  • Use of water or sensory tables should be limited.  Children will need to wash hands before and after use.
  • Additional outside time will be encouraged to maximize fresh air. When possible windows should be opened throughout the day, and HVAC systems should be adjusted to allow more fresh air in the program.

Meals and Snacks

  • Meals and snacks must be provided in the classroom (or outside as long as classrooms aren’t cross-contaminating). Classes will no longer serve family style meals to avoid sharing the use of serving utensils. Meals should be pre-plated, or served to children using gloves.
  • Drinking fountains are to be disabled and covered at this time. It is recommended that toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age children bring a labeled water bottle each day, or be provided with labeled drinking cups or disposable drinking cups.
  • Sinks used for food prep should not be used for any other purpose.

Social Distancing and PPE

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Social Distancing

  • Whenever possible, maintain six feet physical distance from others.
  • All unnecessary field trips and special activities will be canceled. Nonessential visitors (including volunteers, special programming, tours, etc.) will be limited.
  • Avoid combining of classrooms and sharing of common spaces
    • Classrooms will follow posted daily schedules for playgrounds, gyms/neighborhood centers, and any other common space.
    • Classroom groups of children and staff will be maintained from day to day as much as possible.
  • All classrooms will increase the space between nap cots/cribs to 6 feet when possible, or place partitions between cots/cribs when not possible. Cots/cribs should be arranged head to toe to further minimize opportunities for exposure.  Crib mattresses/cots should be disinfected after each use.
  • Chairs at tables should be spaced out when possible, especially during mealtimes. Infant and toddler classrooms should space children out during mealtimes so that they are not able to reach into each other’s space.
  • Limit in-person meetings and use other means of communications such as Zoom, Webex, Teams and email, that are not in person.
  • Physical distancing signage will be posted throughout the premises reminding everyone to practice physical distancing

Face Coverings (updated 8.17.21)

  • Due to Public Health of Madison and Dane County’s Face Covering Emergency Order (released 8.17.21 and put into effect 8.19.21), the CDL will go back to requiring staff (regardless of their vaccination status) and children 2 years of age and older to wear masks while outside, as it is impossible for our classrooms to social distance.  In hot/humid weather, children who need to take a mask break while outside are encouraged to let their teachers know so they can sit 6 feet away from their classmates while resting without their masks.  Teachers who need a mask break while outside are to call the administrative team so another teacher can fill in for them while they take a mask break.

  • Masks will continue to be required for children (2 years and older) and all others who access the CDL facility, regardless of vaccination status. Updated guidance from Public Health Madison and Dane County (8.17.21).

CDL Mask Policies and FAQ based on information from PHMDC:

  • Does my child need to wear a mask to go to the CDL?
    • Masks are required for children two years and older. Children younger than two should never wear a face covering due to risk of suffocation.  We recognize that children new to the CDL or children who are just turning 2 years old will need some time to transition to mask wearing while at school.  Please see the question below for tips of how to help your children with mask wearing.
  • How do I get my child to wear a face covering?
    • It’s always helpful to explain to kids why you’re asking them to do something. In this case, you can explain that wearing a face covering will help keep them from getting other people sick. It can be helpful to relate the explanation to people who are close to them, like grandparents or parents. Even though their grandparent might live in another state, you can explain that the people they pass in the grocery store or doctor’s office might be another person’s grandparent, and we want to keep those grandparents safe. We like these additional tips from KidsHealth  and Children’s Minnesota .
  • Are children required to wear masks during nap time?
    • No.  Physical distancing must be maintained.
      • Cots/cribs will be placed 6 feet apart or when that’s not possible a partition will be placed between the cots/cribs.
      • Children will be positioned head-to-toe to increase space during naptime.
  • Please bring masks for your child(ren).  The Center will have extra child-sized masks, but it is nice if your child is able to wear a mask he/she is already used to wearing.
  • We ask that families have their children (over 2 years of age) practice wearing face masks before returning to the Center.
  • The Center will provide face masks for teachers and families (if they forget theirs from home).
  • For more information on masks, please visit the CDC’s Guide to Masks.

Illness and Health Screening

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Children with COVID-19 or Symptoms (updated 8.19.21)

The safety and wellbeing of all children, families, and staff at the UW Campus Childcare Centers continues to be of utmost importance to us. We have always committed to taking precautions toward keeping children and staff safe and healthy, and will now take extra precautions during the current COVID-19 pandemic.  All UW Child Care staff and families are required to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms daily and follow the policies below.

Children with COVID-19 or symptoms

The centers will follow the guidelines in the PHMDC Exclusion Table to determine if a child should stay home, if they need a COVID-19 test, and when they may return. If a parent has any questions, they should contact their center’s administrators.

If a child develops COVID-19 symptoms while at the Center

  • Immediately isolate the child from others until they can leave the facility.
    • The Center will call their parent or guardian and have them picked up as soon as possible, and within 1 hour. Center staff will change their PPE  and wash their hands after caring for an ill child in isolation.
  • Child’s parent or caregiver must inform the Center Director immediately if the child is diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Failure to inform the center may result in termination childcare.
  • Families should refer to the PHMDC Exclusion Table to determine when it is safe to return to the center, or consult with their pediatrician.

Health Screening

A Health Screening for each child will be required each morning upon arrival.

  • Parents and guardians are not permitted into the space that children are present. Parents and guardians can drop off/pick up at the classroom door if children are inside their classroom, or the classroom’s designated playground door if children are on the playground.
      • Limit number of caregivers picking up and dropping off when possible
  • Screen all children entering the program upon arrival for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
      • Daily health checks including temperature screening and Daily Health Screen questions will be conducted safely and respectfully, and with measures in place to ensure confidentiality as well as in accordance with any applicable privacy laws or regulations. Confidentiality will be maintained.
      • Individuals with a fever at or above 100.4°F, or other symptoms of COVID-19 will not be permitted into the center, and will need to follow the Illness Policy in this Addendum.
  • Parents/Families (and siblings 2 years of age and older) will be required to wear a mask during drop-off and pick-up times.
    • If parents forget their mask the center will provide one.
  • Anyone entering the Center must wash hands or use hand sanitizer before entering the building.

Daily Health Screen Questions

Your health and safety are very important to all of us. In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the following information will be sought from the parent/guardian regarding their child upon arrival each day.

  1. Has your child had a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher in the past 24 hours?
  2. Has your child been given any medication to lower their temperature in the past 12 hour(s)?
  3. Has your child had any other symptoms of COVID-19, such as shortness of breath, fatigue, new onset of loss of taste or smell,  or persistent dry cough in the past 24 hours?
  4. Is there someone in the child’s household who has COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19.
    • If the answer is “yes,” does the person have a confirmed case of COVID-19?

If families answer “yes” to any of these questions or the child has a fever or other possible symptoms of COVID-19 during the Health Check, the exclusion guide will be followed.

Staff Screening & Vaccinations (updated 8.18.21)

Staff fill out an employee attestation each morning verifying they are COVID-19 symptom free.

Staff and student interns are employed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison; therefore the CDL must abide by UW-Madison Human Resource rules.  Staff and student interns are encouraged to get COVID-19 vaccines, but at this time, there is not a mandate for COVID-19 vaccines at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and its affiliated programs.

Starting on August 30th, 2021, all unvaccinated staff, faculty, and students will be required to get tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis.

Tuition and Enrollment Policies

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Payment Policy for Unplanned COVID-19 Related Center Closures

The CDL may need to close unexpectedly and on short notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.; COVID-19 may affect center operations in three ways:

  1. The entire Center closes due to community spread of COVID-19.  CDL administration will follow the directives of Public Health of Madison & Dane County; local, state, and federal government, and UW Madison Campus Leadership when determining when to close the entire Center due to COVID-19.
  2. One (or more) classrooms close due to a positive case of COVID-19.  If there is a positive case of COVID-19 in the CDL, we will follow the guidance of PHMDC. In this case, it is likely that only those classrooms that were exposed will close, and the rest of the CDL will be able to remain open.  We will inform families of the specifics of PHMDC’s directive regarding classroom closures due to a positive case of COVID-19 if that occurs.
  3. One (or more) classrooms close due to staff shortages. It is also possible that the CDL will be short-staffed due to COVID-19-related absences and lack of access to student teachers, especially as we work to limit the number of people entering the CDL. We will make every effort to ensure that there are enough teachers to meet teacher:child ratios in each classroom, but this may not always be possible during the COVID-19 pandemic when:
    1. More teacher absences as any COVID-19-related symptoms require teachers to stay home;
    2. Potential need for teachers to self-isolate if they are exposed to, or test positive for COVID-19;
    3. Limited access to substitute teachers in an effort to reduce the number of adults children are exposed to in the CDL;
    4. The dependence on UW student interns to be able to provide 10 hours of care per day;
    5. Staff time needed for daily health checks and cleaning.

Should the CDL or a classroom need to close due to COVID-related reasons, the CDL will initiate an emergency closure protocol. Communication regarding COVID-19-related closures will be emailed to families by 7:00 a.m. the day of the closure.

In the event of a center-wide closing due to circumstances beyond our control (e.g.  national or local emergencies, public health concerns and  inclement weather) or classroom closures due to COVID-19 cases and known exposures. Parents are responsible for tuition payments as follows: full tuition for the first 1-10 business days closed, 50% tuition for the next 11-20 business days closed, 25% for the next 21-30 business days closed and no tuition is due if the center is closed for more than 30 business days.  The number of closure days will reset if there is a lapse of six months between center-wide closing events, or at the beginning of each Academic Year. If the campus child care center is closed more than 30 days in a six month period, program administrators will assess the specifics of the situation to determine the need to charge partial tuition for families to maintain their enrolled status. Factors impacting the assessment may include projected length of the closure, demand for virtual learning opportunities, and potential limits on group sizes upon enrollment. All contracted enrollment spaces will be maintained during a closure period as long as all financial commitments to the Center are fulfilled.

Number of Consecutive Business Days Center or Classroom is Closed Amount of Tuition Due
1-10 100%
11-20 50%
21-30 25% provide virtual learning content
31+ *Program will assess based on the circumstances of the closure(s)

Enrollment Priority during Limited Capacity due to COVID-19

In the event that classroom capacity limits are put on the center to maintain safety of children and families, either due to group size restrictions set forth by PHMDC or DCF, or due to staff shortages, enrolled children will be prioritized by the family’s essential employee status and UW affiliation.  At time of signing the contract, families are responsible for obtaining a letter from their employer(s) indicating their precise priority status.  If Centers do not have a letter on file for a family, the family will fall into Priority Group #4.

Considerations such as classroom assignment, teacher:child ratios, and group size limits will also be taken into account when making final decisions regarding who will receive child care.  Should there be a teacher shortage, families will be notified as soon as possible in the same manner as Inclement Weather days (See Family Handbook for details).

The list below is in order of priority for which children already enrolled in the Center would get care in the event of a limit on capacity or teacher shortage.

  • Priority Group #1: 
    • UW Madison – Children of UW Essential Employees: employees with responsibilities critical to maintaining essential functions and services on campus, including, but not limited to, completing the academic semester and supporting students who are engaged in ongoing classes, providing housing and dining services to students who remain in residence halls, life/safety, hazardous research and animal care, and Physical Plant. Essential employees often need to report to campus to fulfill essential function duties. Depending on the specific situation and who is needed for the preservation of life and property, essential employees may or may not be called in, but the designation of essential employees should be determined ahead of time.
    • DCF – Children of Tier 1 Individuals: employees, contractors, and other support staff working in health care
  • Priority Group #2:
    • DCF – Children of Tier 2 Individuals: employees, contractors, and other staff in vital areas including but not limited to military; long term care; residential care; pharmacies; child care; child welfare; government operations; public safety and critical infrastructure such as sanitation, transportation, utilities, telecommunications; grocery and food services; supply chain operations; and other sectors as determined by the Secretary of the Department of Children and Families.
  • Priority Group #3:
    • Children of UW Students, Staff, & Faculty that do not meet Essential Criteria:  Children will be selected by lottery considering age/group size/ratio requirements and staffing availability
  • Priority Group #4:
    • Children of Community Families: Children will be selected by lottery by age/group size/ratio requirements and staffing availability

Priority Letter for Employer

* We will be adding/modifying these policies as recommendations from Public Health of Madison & Dane County, Department of Families and Children, UW Madison Campus, WI Department of Health Services, and the CDC continue to change.  Families will be emailed when significant updates are made and families are responsible for keeping up-to-date on these changes.