How Child Care Facilities are Keeping Staff and Children Healthy and Safe

Wave pattern

In partnership with the Department of Health (DOH) and New Mexico’s early care and education provider community, ECECD has created a stringent set of health and safety requirements (see the Spanish version) for early learning settings.

When a positive case occurs, ECECD implements its Rapid Response process. This includes temporarily closing the facility for cleaning, as well as contact tracing, instructions on isolation and quarantine, and additional steps.

Please download this memo from ECECD, the NM Public Education Department (PED), and the NM Higher Education Department (HED) to learn more about the Rapid Response process, including information about the state’s Watchlist and Closure list (Spanish version).

If child care providers need additional personal protective equipment (PPE), they may email

What Families Should Expect of Child Care Providers

All licensed facility and registered home provider staff who live or work in a county displayed in red, orange, or yellow are required to get tested for COVID-19 every two weeks. These geographical distinctions are based on a 14-day rolling average of new daily cases and overall positivity rate.

Child care providers in New Mexico are also required to follow the health and safety requirements listed in the link above. In brief, these include:

  • Establish daily health practicesPreschool girl wearing mask
    • Require daily health checks for children and staff including temperature taking
    • Handwashing
    • Ensure mask-wearing: Cloth face masks of appropriate size are required for everyone in a child care facility that is three years of age or older. Masks should fully cover the nose and mouth without gaps and stay in place without needing adjustments. Children should not wear masks during nap time or when eating and drinking.
  • Maintain physical distancing: Children and teachers must be assigned to groups, and groups must not mix. Children and staff practice physical distancing (6 feet), where possible, and teachers implement distancing systems, as practicable. Child care programs establish staggered drop-off and pick-up times for families and do not allow non-essential visitors to the center.
  • Implement intensified cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfection procedures.
  • Limit sharing: eliminate family-style meals and keep children’s items separated and labeled.
  • Train all staff in COVID-Safe Practices: appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning and disinfecting, responding to a person who becomes sick at the facility.

What Child Care Providers Expect of Families

Consistently follow the COVID-19 health and safety requirements defined by the New Mexico Department of Health (DOH), including:

How to Quarantine

If you have questions about how to quarantine, please review these instructions from the New Mexico Department of Health.

More Information and Assistance

Call ECECD at (800) 832-1321 for help.