Health and Safety Information

With the ending of the Emergency COVID-19 Public Health Order on March 31 2023, the ECECD COVID Health and Safety Toolkit is being converted to a Health and Safety Toolkit that includes basic health and safety information for child care, early intervention, and FIT personnel.

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COVID-Specific Guidance

Updated April 3, 2023

Most COVID-specific guidance and restrictions have been lifted; however, ECECD recognizes that some early childhood programs may wish to continue more restrictive health and safety precautions based on their unique circumstances. Child care providers are encouraged to discuss the new health and safety requirements with the families they serve and create their own COVID-19 mitigation strategies that are appropriate to the current conditions and communities they serve.  

Required Practices

  • Licensed providers may operate at group sizes and ratios according to their licensed Star level
  • Training on health and safety practices is required for all staff, including cooks and transportation staff.
  • Good hygiene practices are required, including frequent handwashing/sanitizing
  • Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned often throughout the day and disinfected at the end of each day.
  • Transportation safety requirements:
    • Use the vehicle’s vents and windows to bring in fresh air and avoid using the recirculated air option.
    • If possible, maintain one empty space between passengers.
    •  Require handwashing/hand sanitizer before and after exiting the vehicle
    • Clean and sanitize regularly touched surfaces between groups/runs.

COVID-19 Guidance for all Early Childhood Providers 

The following guidance is best practice: 

For anyone who tests positive for COVID regardless of vaccination status:
  • Stay home and isolate for 5 days. Day 0 is the day of symptom onset, or the day the positive test was taken (for asymptomatic persons).
  • You DO NOT need to get an additional PCR test if you have had a positive at-home rapid test. Any positive test is considered positive.
  • Children under two are the exception to masking guidance and should not mask.
  • If you have a fever, or other persistent symptoms, continue to stay home in isolation until your fever is gone for 24 hours and other symptoms are resolving.
  • To prevent the spread of COVID, tell anyone you have recently had close contact with and encourage them to get tested, monitor for symptoms, and reduce exposure to other people.
    For anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 regardless of your vaccination status:
    • Get either an at-home rapid test or PCR test if possible and stay at home until you know your test result.
    • If you test positive, follow the guidelines for a positive test result.
    • If you test negative on a rapid test but still have symptoms, continue to stay at home and get a PCR test OR a second at-home rapid test in 1-2 days.
    • If you test positive on the PCR or second at-home rapid test, follow guidelines for a COVID-positive test.
    Antigen Test Guidance:
    1. If test is positive, follow CDC guidance for people with COVID-19 (isolation)
    2. If you have COVID symptoms and test is negative, test again in 48 hours. If still negative, test again after another 48 hours or get a lab-based tests.
    3. If you do not have COVID symptoms but believe you have been exposed and test is negative, test again in 48 hours, and then again 48 hours after the second test for a total of 3 tests.
    4. If test is positive on any repeat test, follow CDC guidance for people with COVID.

    Rapid Response Portal for Child Care Programs

    Updated April 3, 2023

    If you need assistance with making an online report, you can call the ECECD Rapid Response Hotline (1-833-866-3272) and provide your email address, your EPICS or license ID if available, your phone number, and whether it is a positive case or close contact. Calls will be returned in the order received between the hours of 8 AM – 5 PM, Monday through Friday. 

    Rapid Response Portal for Early Intervention providers (FIT and Home Visiting)

    Updated April 3, 2023

    Effective March 1, 2022, Early Intervention providers will report positive COVID-19 cases via the Family Support and Early Intervention Division portal found at Programs can also request a referral to the ECECD Families FIRST team, which offers resources to help with insurance, food, and other assistance. ECECD Families FIRST nurses can provide education, resources, and advice on health, nutrition, and nurturing.  

    COVID-19 Testing

    Knowing if you have COVID-19 can help you seek proper treatment and prevent you from spreading the virus to your family and community. Tests require a quick swab inside each nostril, and results can be read in just minutes.

    How to get COVID-19 testing, vaccine, and treatment in New Mexico

    July 5, 2022

    • Finding Vaccine and Treatment with Private Insurance or Medicaid: English ┃Spanish
    • Finding Vaccine and Treatment with No Insurance: English Spanish 

    How is ECECD helping child care facilities keep their staff and children healthy and safe?

    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 Early Childhood Providers 

    Child care providers in New Mexico are required to follow the health and safety requirements listed above. Staying home when you are sick or have symptoms of a contagious illness protects your own health and those around you.  

    What Early Childhood Professionals Expect of Families 

    Consistently follow the COVID-19 health and safety requirements listed above. Staying home when you are sick or have symptoms of a contagious illness protects your own health and those around you. 


    COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and they are a critical tool to bring the pandemic under control in New Mexico. The risk of infection, hospitalization, and death are all much lower for people who are vaccinated, compared to unvaccinated people. Boosting your immunity keeps you and your family protected. 

    Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose, regardless of which vaccine already received. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots. You can also find a booster frequently asked questions at Get Vaccinated New Mexico | NMDOH (

    Available data right now shows that all three of the COVID-19 vaccines continue to be highly effective in reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even against the Omicron variants.

    Health and Wellness Webinars

    ECECD hosts a quarterly webinar series where health and wellness matters relating to the PN-3 population are discussed.