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Transitioning back into care: How to think about drop-off and pick-up with Covid-19

This article is part of a series on transitioning children, families, and staff back into care after Covid-19 closures.

States are beginning to reopen after major closures due to Covid-19. There is variance in  approach, but one consistent piece is applicable across all states, regions, and communities – regardless of location, many children will be returning to care over the next several months, and it may take some time and some thoughtfulness to help ensure a smooth transition back.

Covid-19 is forcing us to reconsider many aspects of how we function as individuals and as a society. Your program is no exception. Aspects of your drop-off/pick-up routines may need to change. Some options for you to consider:

  • Limit the number of people coming in and out of your space each day. To do this you might consider having parents drop-off curbside or at your door. If curbside, make sure you have a plan to ensure all children are under supervision at all times – you should not leave them inside alone, while you go outside to accept an arriving child, even for a short second!
  • Put extra health precautions in place for anyone entering your program. Removing shoes, washing hands right away or using hand sanitizer upon entry, and having adults wear masks are all best practices for limiting the introduction of new germs.
    • If not removing shoes, consider purchasing shoe covers to help ensure a clean environment. This is already considered a best practice, especially in programs with infants and toddlers. Staff should also wear them. Are they beautiful? No! But will they keep debris, dirt, and germs out of your program? Yes!
  • Offer staggered drop-off and pick-up times. This can limit the number of people entering your program at the same time. Work with families to determine a window that works for their schedule.
  • Plan to do a daily illness check with each family. Additional details here.
  • Expect some children may have a hard time at drop off. This is normal. Let parents know to expect this, too, and communicate with them about how to approach it with each individual child and family. Use your prior knowledge of what works well for their child, and let them guide you as to anything new that’s been happening with their child recently.

Thinking through these pieces will give parents a great deal of assurance that you’re working hard on a smooth reopening process, and the more confident parents feel, the more relaxed their children will also feel. Keep us posted on how things are going, and remember to reach out any time for the support of the Wonderschool Community.

Looking for an example of a new set up for drop-off? Check out this example from Village Child Care in Rancho Cucamonga, CA.

Want to read more from this series? Click here to access additional articles on transitioning children and parents back into care.


Wonderschool is a network of quality in-home early childhood programs. Our mission is to ensure that every child has access to a home away from home that helps them realize their full potential. We work with experienced educators and child care providers to help them start their own child care or preschool out of their homes, whether they live in apartments, condos, or homes that they rent or own.