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Guidance for alternate locations offering academic services to support K–12 remote education during COVID-19

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE) in collaboration with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KHDE) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are responding to a pandemic coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This guidance is created based on current understanding of COVID-19 transmission in adults and children. As new information emerges, guidance may change.

KDHE has determined that during this period of COVID-19 transmission, businesses or individuals offering offsite academic learning, learning co-ops and tutoring are not required to be licensed by the state. This educational support may be provided to students from Kindergarten through 12th grade in the form of remote/virtual, hybrid in-person/remote and modified attendance schedules.

The authorization to operate in this capacity without a license is effective until the Kansas State of Disaster Emergency expires or until the school no longer offers remote/hybrid/modified attendance schedules as options for enrolled students. This only applies to school days in areas where remote/virtual learning is in place and only applies to days normally considered school days (not teacher workdays, school breaks etc.).

Service providers are encouraged to follow public health guidance and take all necessary actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among students and adults.

Local public health departments and local public health officers may implement more restrictive guidance and provisions up to and including closure, within their authority and jurisdiction in order to protect the health of the public. This applies to both licensed childcare facilities and non-licensed programs.

Johnson County, through the local authority of the local public health department is releasing the following recommendations for academic support services. The coordination of this guidance is being done by the Johnson County Childcare Licensing Division.

These guidelines should be implemented prior to opening an academic support service. It is important to remember that schools are opening in remote or hybrid learning modes to limit the transmission of COVID-19.

All academic support providers should  take necessary actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including, but not limited to,  ensuring social distancing, encouraging proper hand hygiene and wearing barrier masks anytime individuals are indoors with people other than household contacts and/or outdoors and unable to maintain six feet of distance.

Considerations for physical space and daily structure

  • The facility/home should have at least 25 square feet of space per child. Ideally 35 square feet per child would be available. (If you plan to offer this academic support in a home setting, the living room, dining room or basement (for example) needs to be enough space for children to spread out – preferably six feet from other children).
  • For younger children, a safe outdoor play area should be available. It should be free of hazards such as machinery, chemicals or all other potential hazards.
  • Social distancing must be maintained throughout the day. Make sure there is enough space at tables, desks and in the facility to allow for six feet of space between people at all times. Kids should face the same direction, not each other, to minimize the exchange of respiratory droplets.
  • Health screenings should be performed each morning before the child is allowed into home/facility (see screening section below).
  • No sick or COVID-19 symptomatic children or adults should be allowed on the premises.
  • Consider posting signs to remind people entering the facility of these guidelines. For more resources, visit https://www.jocogov.org/business-guidance.
  • The facility should have high speed or otherwise reliable internet service so that the child can log into the class and complete schoolwork.
  • The facility should have a mechanism for either providing food and drink for the children or a means to store lunches and snacks in a clean and sanitary method.
  • Provide an area for and encourage frequent hand hygiene, especially upon entering the facility, before eating and before/after outdoor play.
  • The facility should restrict the number of children per room and maintain small stable groups.  Groups of children and adults should be stable and not change during the day or day-to-day. This is called cohorting and is essential to limiting the number of exposures and potential spread of COVID-19. The Kansas Department of Education’s Navigating Change document recommends groups of NO MORE than 15 students per group. If the facility is large enough to house multiple groups, each one should be cohorted and not mix with each other or different adults.
  • Provide enough adult supervision to help prevent accidents, injuries and disease transmission.
  • The facility should notify their local fire marshal of increased number of children at the location as well as use of multiple extension cords and other fire hazards.
  • Check your insurance liability coverage and notify your insurance carrier of this activity.
  • If a location has a septic system, consider verifying that the system can support the increased number of people using the restrooms. Overtaxing a septic system could cause it to fail. A residential system capacity is determined by number of residents/bedrooms, suddenly increasing the amount of usage could result in absorption failure and result in costly repairs. Call Johnson County Environmental Division at 913 -715-6215 to discuss system capacity.
  • It is recommended that a least one CPR and First Aid certified person always be on site when kids are on the premises.
  • Have a plan in place to separate a child who becomes ill during the day from the rest of the group. Supervision for both the ill child and the large group must be maintained.

Masking required

  • All adults and children over age 5 should wear barrier masks or cloth face coverings. Face shields are not effective alone and not recommended unless worn in addition to barrier mask. Indoor spaces with less than six feet between individuals present a high risk for transmission, particularly when cumulative exposure is over 10 minutes.
  • Children can take mask breaks outdoors if they can stay six feet apart.
  • Give special consideration to mealtimes/snack time. The risk of exposure is very high because people are not masked. Ensure distancing and eat outdoors if conditions allow.
  • See Governor Kelly’s Executive Order 20-59 for additional information on appropriate exceptions to masking.

Considerations for caregiver/adult in charge

  • Ideally, a person with CPR and First Aid is on site when kids are on the premises.
  • Provide enough adult supervision to help prevent accidents, injuries and disease transmission. A suggested ratio is 15:1 kid to staff ratio – this requires social distancing.
  • Have a back-up plan in place should the adult becomes ill during the day.
  • Consider having signed permission for treatment from parents should their child become injured or ill during the day.
  • Consider documentation on who can pick up a child from the alternate care location.

Considerations for parents

  • In both schools and in daycares, staff and teachers must have cleared background screenings including fingerprints. In these non-licensed, non-school environments this may not be occurring. Know where you kids are going. Feel free to ask for references, etc.
  • Clearly identify who will be around your children daily.
  • Ask to see the area where you children will be located.
  • Make sure you understand what a day will look like for your children, including meals/beverages, health screenings, free time and school support time.

Recommended daily screening

Screen children and staff daily before admittance for signs and symptoms of illness. Screening includes asking questions, observing for signs of illness and checking for fever. Questions/assessment should be done every morning:

  • Check the child’s/staff’s temperature
  • Ask if there has there been travel within the last 14 days in a state or country identified as a hot spot for COVID-19? https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/175/Travel-Exposure-Related-Isolation-Quaran If so, the individual/child should quarantine for 14 days. Consult with the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment for guidance – 913-715-2819 (COVID-19 line).
  • Has there been an exposure to someone diagnosed with COVID-19, either household or non-household contact? If so, the individual/child should quarantine for 14 days. Consult with the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment for guidance – 913-715-2819 (COVID-19 line).
  • Is anyone in the home showing signs of illness or who have the following:
  • Fever greater than 100.4 degrees (F) (need to be aware of person’s “normal” temperature as some people run lower “normal” and therefore a fever for them could be below 100.4 degrees)
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
  • Sudden loss of smell or taste
  • Other signs of illness (headache, sore throat, general aches/pains, fatigue/weakness/extreme exhaustion. If so, isolate for 10 days first. Then, before returning, ensure symptoms are resolving and individual has been fever free for at least 24 hours.

Signs and symptoms of COVID-19

Adults and middle school/high school age children with one primary symptom or two or more secondary symptoms should NOT be allowed in the facility/home.

Primary symptoms (at least one)

  • Cough
  • Fever (measured or subjective)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of taste and/or smell

Secondary symptoms (at least two)

  • Chills
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhea/nausea/vomiting
  • Congestion/runny nose
  • Fever
  • Extreme fatigue

Elementary age children with one primary or two or more secondary symptoms should not be allowed in the facility/home.

Primary symptoms (at least one)

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of taste and/or smell

Secondary symptoms (at least two)

  • Chills
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhea/nausea/vomiting
  • Congestion/runny nose
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Fever (measured or subjective)

Additional considerations for gathering during a pandemic

  • Children or adults who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate for 10 days from symptom onset (if symptomatic) OR the date the test was conducted (if asymptomatic) AND be 24 hours fever-free without medication AND have significant symptom improvement.
  • People are contagious 72 hours BEFORE the onset of symptoms, as well as when symptomatic.
  • Others who have been within 6 feet of someone for longer than a cumulative total of 10 minutes during their infectious period need to quarantine for 14 days.
  • A negative COVID-19 test result DOES NOT mean a person can stop quarantining before 14 days are up.
  • Quarantine for the full 14 days must be completed.
  • If exposures or positive cases occur, JCDHE is here to help. Please share information with case investigators who will reach out and can offer advice to contain the spread of COVID-19.
  • If you have questions about COVID-19, you can call the JCDHE COVID-19 line at 913-715-2819.
  • Additional resources and information are available at https://www.jocogov.org/coronavirus-covid-19-update.

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Questions or concerns?

If you have questions about Johnson County’s public health recommendations, email [email protected].

If you have virus-related questions, call the Johnson County Community COVID-19 Hotline.

Staffed by public health professionals.
913-715-CV19 (2819)
Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Child care licensing COVID-19 hotline

Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.