Health and Safety Checklist for Operating Head Start Programs
Head Start programs can use this checklist to review their COVID-19 protocols as they return to in-person services and prepare for a new program year. It is relevant for all Head Start programs, including those located in schools, centers, and family child care homes. This checklist references guidance and protocols, including from:
- Caring for Our Children (CFOC)
- Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS)
- COVID-19 Guidance for Operating Early Care and Education/Child Care Programs from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Local health departments or licensing agencies may issue recommendations or policies that vary from those of national organizations. Programs should follow the most stringent applicable guidance for COVID-19.
How to Use the Checklist
The items in this checklist are divided into 10 groups and include relevant guidance. Check “Yes” if your program meets the standard and “No” if it does not.
- Policies, Communication, and Emergency Planning
- Preventive Health: Wellness Care and Social Determinants of Health
- Daily Health Check
- Care and Supervision: Ratios, Cohorts, Consistent Groups, and Infants
- Personal Health Habits
- Environmental Health and Prevention of Infectious Disease
- Healthy Indoor Air
- Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting
- Service Providers and Community Partners
Health and Safety Supply List
Head Start programs can refer to this list of supplies and equipment they may need, and tasks they may need to complete, to meet health and safety recommendations in the checklist above.
- Disposable gloves
- Thermometer (touchless, if possible)
- Health screening log
- Face masks (child- and adult-sized)
- Paper bags or plastic containers to store masks while eating or napping
- Smocks for staff
- Face shields and/or other eye protection for staff
- Liquid soap for handwashing
- Paper towels, tissues, and toilet paper
- Hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered disinfectant that is listed on List N Tool: COVID-19 Disinfectants
- EPA-registered sanitizer for food surfaces
- Laundry soap/detergent
- Extra bedding for cots, mats, and cribs
- Microfiber cloths
- Carpet squares, mats, hula hoops, pool noodles, or other visuals for spacing children
- COVID-19 Risk Reduction Strategies: Posters
- Extra tables to promote spacing during meals and activities
- Outdoor furniture for children’s meals and staff breaks
- Portable handwashing sink for outdoor areas
- Diaper changing table and paper rolls to line table
- Garbage cans with lids that can be opened by a foot-pedal and garbage can liners
- Portable air filtration device with a high-efficiency particulate absorbing (HEPA) filter
- Vacuum cleaner with HEPA filter
- Dishwasher with a sanitizing cycle
- Washing machine and dryer
- Spray bottles and liquid measuring cup
- Stepping stool for children to reach sink
- Safety locks for keeping hazardous chemicals out of children’s reach
- Consult a ventilation specialist about heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system upgrades, repairs, and filters.
- Invest in HVAC upgrades and repairs, as needed.
- Repair windows so they can open safely.
- Install window guards.
- Install or service bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans that vent to the outdoors.
Resource Type: Article
National Centers: Health, Behavioral Health, and Safety
Last Updated: June 14, 2022