Guide to Safe Childcare Drop-Off and Pick-Up During COVID-19

As childcare centers are beginning to reopen, a lot of attention is being given to drop-off and pick-up procedures to help minimize the chances of COVID-19 transmission.

We’ve combed through the government policies throughout the United States and Canada as well as consulted with our early childhood educator community to create the following list of best practices for drop-off and pick-up at childcare centers.

Staggered Drop-Off & Pick-Up Times

To avoid overcrowding, assign specific times to each family so they will not all show up at once.

Labeled Waiting Spots

Place strips of tape 6 feet apart near your entrance so families know where to stand safely from one another.

Only Students and Staff Allowed Inside

Each person who enters a facility increases the chances of COVID-19 transmission, so it is a good idea to keep families outside and not allow any visitors.

Vehicle Pickup

Some centers are having staff take children from their vehicles in their facility’s parking lot to avoid families getting close to one another near the building’s entrance.

Designated Runner

Assign one staff member the responsibility of greeting families and walking each child to their classroom.

Designated Parent

If possible, have the same parent pick up and drop off their child to limit the number of people that staff come into contact with.

Health Screening Questionnaire

Before a child is allowed inside, have parents answer a questionnaire to ensure they do not have any signs of COVID-19. Here is a sample questionnaire you can use:

Do you or your child or any member of your household have any of the following symptoms?

  • Fever (37.8C 100F Or Higher)
  • New/Worsening Cough
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Sore Throat
  • Difficulty Swallowing
  • Loss of Taste or Smell
  • Nausea/Vomiting, Diarrhea, Abdominal Pain
  • Runny Nose, or Nasal Congestion (In the absence of underlying reasons such as Seasonal Allergies, Nasal Drip, Etc.)
  • Unexplained Fatigue/Malaise/Myalgia
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
  • Lethargy/Difficulty Feeding in Infants

Have you had contact with anyone with acute respiratory illness or who travelled outside of (country) in the last 14 days?

Have you had close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19?

If you answered YES to any of these DO NOT enter. Your child cannot be permitted to enter to ensure the safety of everyone. Contact your health care provider.

Temperature Checks

Check each child’s temperature using an infrared contactless forehead thermometer to ensure they do not have a fever before entering the building.

Wear Masks

Ensure that every adult is wearing a face mask. Children under 2 years old should not wear face masks. There are mixed opinions on whether older children should wear masks and so unless legally required it is up to your discretion whether children should be required to wear them.

Contactless Check-in

Do not require parents to sign a piece of paper to check their child in or out. Instead, have a staff member do this on a printed form or through a childcare app.

Hygiene Station

Have a hand sanitizing station at the entrance of your building for all staff, parents and children to use before interacting with one another.

Is your center taking any precautions for pick-up and drop-off that weren’t included in this list? Let us know in the comments and we will add them to our guide!

Michael Keshen

Michael writes for HiMama's early childhood education blog and ECE Weekly newsletter. When not developing content for early childhood professionals, he can usually be found out and about with his wife and daughter exploring all that Toronto has to offer, or playing music with his karaoke band.


  • Vicki says:

    Are there any restrictions other than a record check for the person we hire to stand outside each am and pm for an hour to ask questions take temps? they won’t ever be alone with kids as parents are in the parking lot and teachers inside the building.

  • Donna Avylla says:

    We are not allowing families inside the building. We are setting up tents outside to help protect from inclement weather. Each family has a designated time to drop off.

  • Angela says:

    Temperature check to be done as they alight from the car so they can be advised immediately if high rather than drop in the School

  • Ann Darlington says:

    You will have to hire extra staff for all of the changes

  • Ashlee says:

    What about for new parents, completely new to day care. Not allowing them a tour, not allowed to meet the teacher who is caring for your precious baby or seeing the room where your child is going to be all day. Not knowing how his day went, no cameras. Nothing, just expected to leave your babies with some strangers. Leaving mom and baby very uncomfortable. Accommodations for new parents need to be made. That’s unacceptable. Have parents come in before or after school. Something!!!

  • Hilary says:

    We added sanitizing wheelchairs and other adaptive aids that travel with a child.

  • Sakina says:

    What about newcomers family those who don’t speak English or
    a little bit. Those they attend to the link classes inside a building and there children go to the daycare side but both stay the same building even the same Hal inside one building.

  • Carol says:

    At my early childhood center I allowed parents to visit after school before sanitizing the rooms. Each class rooms have their own emergency exit. Therefore pending on the age of the child the new parents will use that exit door to view the room their child will be spending the day.

  • Lilianna Stanczyk says:

    We suggested buying disposable shoe covers. In our center children’s washroom is not in the same room. During going to the washroom all of us are wearing them for safety reasons.

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