Join Club

Arlington recommends doubling CDC’s quarantine period for child care

Arlington County Health Director Dr. Reuben Varghese in March 2020 (via Arlington County)

Local child care centers will have to stay the course with longer quarantine and isolation periods, says Arlington County’s Public Health Division.

That could mean multiple contingency plans for parents with kids in child care, who have already weathered holiday closures and winter-weather closures. (Many facilities follow the snow closure or delay lead of Arlington Public Schools, which was closed all week.)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shortened isolation and quarantine periods last month to five days for the general population. This week, the CDC announced it will be bringing its guidelines for K-12 schools in alignment with the shortened quarantine and isolation.

But the changes have been met with some criticism. The American Medical Association called them “confusing and counterproductive” and other medical providers have said they’re “reckless.”

There’s one place where the new quarantine and isolation guidelines won’t go into effect, save for fully vaccinated and boosted staff: Arlington’s child care settings.

That’s because Arlington’s littlest kids either should not wear a mask or do not wear them reliably, meaning the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant is highly likely in these settings, according to the public health division.

“A full 10-day isolation and quarantine period was recommended because of the difficulty to enforce mask wearing in such a young population (i.e. children under 2 years old should not wear a mask),” Public Health spokesman Ryan Hudson told ARLnow.

The interim guidance came out Wednesday, as Arlington and the Northern Virginia region continue to see high levels of COVID-19 transmission, and will be in effect until the CDC comes out with guidance specific to child care settings — which are known as places where kids pick up all kinds of germs.

“The CDC’s recent updates to shorten the isolation and quarantine period are for the general population, including K-12 school settings,” Hudson said. “In absence of specific guidance from the CDC regarding child care centers, Arlington County Public Health provided interim guidelines, subject to change based on updates from the CDC.”

One local child care provider that had started implementing the new CDC guidance acknowledged the flip-flop may cause disruption for families.

“We had been following the recent CDC 5 day isolation period, which we confirmed with [the Virginia] Department of Health last week,” the facility’s director wrote. “However, in light of the omicron variant and the current surge, Arlington County has recently announced interim guidelines for child care settings which we must follow. We understand that this recent change is frustrating but we are our trying our best to follow the policies, which do keep changing.”

Pre-pandemic child care was in short supply in Arlington, as it was in many parts of the country, in part because of a shortage of child care workers. The pandemic has exacerbated these realities and forced many parents, especially mothers, to quit their jobs.

Board Chair Katie Cristol, who has worked on a number of efforts to fight the local child care shortage, says she’s still learning about the new recommendations and the tensions that public health professionals and child care providers have to navigate right now.

But the biggest challenge facing child care providers during the pandemic remains staffing, which the guidelines could exacerbate.

“From my conversations with providers, their biggest challenges over the last year have been with staffing,” Cristol said. “I think this reflects the general upheaval in the labor market, as well as the ongoing difficulty of affording high-quality staff in a very low-margin business, and — at least anecdotally — the challenge of recruiting and retaining staff seems to be making it hard for some providers to expand hours or capacity as they try to adjust back to ‘normal’ after the first year of the pandemic.”

To boost child care employee recruitment during this time, the county has provided training and is working with the local Richmond delegation to pass legislation that would improve how benefits like retirement and health care get to employees.

“It remains a big challenge, for certain,” she said.

The county also supports centers through ongoing health consultations and informational resources, and has run targeted vaccination clinics for child care providers and employees, Cristol noted.

The new Arlington Public Health guidelines for local child care providers are below.

Isolation for cases (people who test positive) in Child Care Settings only

In childcare settings, Arlington County Health Department recommends a full 10-day isolation period for those who test positive (with a return on day 11). This is because isolation can only end after day 5 IF strict mask wearing is adhered to for an additional 5 days. It is difficult to enforce mask wearing in such a young population, and childcare centers are high risk settings for transmission. Given this, Arlington County Health Department recommends a full 10-days staying home from the childcare location. This applies to both students and staff who test positive.

Quarantine for close contacts (people who are exposed to someone with COVID-19) in Child Care Settings only

In childcare settings, Arlington County Health Department recommends a full 10-day quarantine period for those who are exposed to COVID (with a return on day 11). This is because quarantine can only end after day 5 IF strict mask wearing is adhered to for an additional 5 days. It is difficult to enforce mask wearing in such a young population, and childcare centers are high risk settings for transmission. Given this, Arlington County Health Department recommends a full 10-days staying home from the childcare location after being exposed to COVID. This applies to both students and staff.

Additional Guidance:

Staff who are fully vaccinated AND boosted do not need to quarantine. This would include those who are:

  • Less than 6 months out but more than 2 weeks out from their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or less than 2 months out but more than 2 weeks out from J&J
  • More than 6 months out from second dose of Pfizer or Moderna or more than 2 months out from J&J but have received a booster vaccine and it has been more than 2 weeks since they received the booster

In the event a child or staff member is experiencing COVID-like illness and cannot access a test, they should stay home and isolate for 10 days from the date their symptoms started.

Recent Stories

It’s going to be a windy Saturday. The National Weather Service just issued a Wind Advisory for Arlington and other parts of the D.C. region, in effect until 6 p.m….

Good Friday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…

McLean-based Golden Boot Soccer has been a leader in youth soccer skill development and fun for nearly 30 years, and this summer they’re bringing their popular summer camps back to…

Arlington County police are investigating “extensive” graffiti, including a racist word, on the roof of Dorothy Hamm Middle School. Families were informed of the vandalism via email yesterday. The principal…

It is the decision of the United States Department of Defense (DoD) Washington Headquarters Services (WHS) to implement the Proposed Action: the 2024 Pentagon Reservation Master Plan Update (Pentagon Master Plan) as the framework to guide future decisions regarding land use and infrastructure at the Pentagon site and Mark Center. The Pentagon Master Plan aims to provide an update to the existing conditions at the Pentagon and Mark Center and presents projects and revisions to land use categorizations that will address the specific needs to reduce the Pentagon’s environmental impacts and advance sustainability, security, and resilience. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review has been completed through preparation of a Final Environmental Assessment (EA) to evaluate environmental impacts arising from implementation of the projects. WHS has concluded that no significant impacts to the human or natural environment will result from implementation of any projects, and recognized negative effects will be reduced by adherence to standard best management practices, applicable permit and consultation conditions, and standard operating procedures. This decision is further documented in the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) signed on March 20, 2024.

This notice announces the availability of the FONSI to implement the 2024 Pentagon Reservation Master Plan Update.

For further information and to request a copy of the Final EA or FONSI, please contact Brian King, Environmental and Sustainability Program Manager, WHS/Facilities Services Directorate/Standards and Compliance Division/Environmental and Sustainability Branch; (703-614-3658 or [email protected]). Please include “Pentagon Master Plan Final EA and FONSI” in the subject line.

Submit your own Announcement here.

The 3rd Annual Arlington Fair Housing Conference will feature Thomas Silverstein, renowned Fair Housing expert and Associate Director of the Fair Housing & Community Development Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Come hear the latest news about fair housing enforcement, policy, and programs within Arlington County, Virginia, and across the country! Our expert panelists and guest speakers include fair housing advocates, elected officials, and government officials tasked with advancing housing equity at the local, state, and federal level.

Arlington has made substantial strides in advancing housing equity and improving fair housing policy with the adoption of the Regional Fair Housing Plan in 2023. Come learn what’s next to fight housing discrimination, incorporate equity for marginalized populations in our housing policies and programs, and increase awareness of fair housing rights under state and federal law.

We’ll have updates from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing federal rule, a panel discussion of fair housing progress at the General Assembly and across Virginia, and a panel of local experts discussing the progress Arlington has made and what remains to be done.
Please RSVP in advance to ensure you receive your free lunch at the conference. Free and open to the public.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

National Chamber Ensemble – Concerto Celebration

We invite you to join us for an extraordinary evening of music at our Season Finale, “Concerto Celebration”! Enjoy several masterworks as NCE performs two famous concertos in an intimate chamber music setting, opening with a delightful work by Chevalier

“The Secret Garden”

The St. Andrew’s Players Present “The Secret Garden”

Adapted from the book by Frances Hodgson Burnett by Erin Detrick

A time-honored classic, “The Secret Garden” is the story of two indulged and neglected 10-year-olds. They are miserable souls from different

×

Subscribe to our mailing list