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COVID-19 Family Resources

COVID-19 Child Care

Stanford on-site child care center operations have been significantly curtailed due to COVID-19 public health guidance. As of September 2021, all six campus child centers are operating and ramping up to pre-COVID enrollment capacity. We have immediate openings for preschool-age children. Learn more about the available preschool spaces or WorkLife Office's on-site child care operations.

Currently, our child care operators are fulfilling the county requirement by having employees share their vaccination status and requiring weekly testing for all of their employees regardless of vaccination status. In addition, they must comply with all other jurisdictional requirements.

Updated 6/10/21

The WorkLife Office and campus partners offer several grant programs and resources that are available to support you now and beyond the pandemic:

  • Child Care Assistance Grant Program: New as of March 1, the Child Care Assistance Grant provides up to $5,000 per year to assist with child care expenses. In recognition of the various types of child care used by our postdoc families, this grant will allow some flexibility in the types of care eligible for reimbursement.

  • Family Grant Program: New as of March 1, to further assist postdocs with families, the Family Grant allows up to $5,000 per year for living expenses beyond child care expenses; a few examples include housing, food, dependent medical costs, or transportation.

  • Tuition Mitigation and Tuition Assistance Programs: Graduate students and postdocs will continue to have access to subsidized tuition programs. For more information and eligibility, please contact your center director.

  • Employee Emergency Assistance Fund: Qualified benefits-eligible employees may apply for help when experiencing a short-term financial emergency or unanticipated expenses that cause financial hardship.

  • Child Care Subsidy Grant Program: To help with the cost of child care, the CCSG provides grants for benefits-eligible employees who meet application qualifications.

  • Faculty Child Care Assistance Program: Given the impacts of the pandemic, this faculty program was expanded for the 2021 cycle to provide additional care relief.

  • Graduate Family Grant Program: The Family Grant is available to all graduate students and may be used flexibly to cover expenses such as childcare, healthcare, insurance and rent.

Campus child care centers are following very stringent, important guidelines. They also continue to deploy hygiene best practices and preventive measures. Additionally, we are closely monitoring practices shared by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)County Public Health Department, and the Department of Social Services Community Care Licensing. The day-to-day practices we are implementing include: 

  • Keeping teachers with the same group and in the same classroom throughout the day, as much as is possible
  • Conducting daily health checks at drop-off on all children and staff entering the building
  • Reminding families to respect social distancing guidelines at drop-off and pick-up
  • Requiring drop-off and pick-up to take place outside of the centers as much as possible
  • Requiring teachers and children ages 2 and older to use face coverings
  • Placing nap mats and cribs six feet apart while children rest
  • Conducting routine cleaning and disinfecting at the end of each day


Yes. A change in dependent care cost or provider is a Qualifying Life event, so reducing your future elections to your dependent care flexible spending account (FSA) is allowed (although making retroactive adjustment is not). If you receive a Child Care Subsidy Grant award in your FSA, you will continue to receive the per-pay-period award amount even if you contribute nothing further this year. It is also important to remember that in 2020, the IRS has also allowed Stanford to temporarily amend its FSA rules for 2021 allowing you to carryover your full, unused 2020 dependent day care FSA balance and your full, unused CCSG balance into 2021. Any remaining unused balance at the end of 2021 will also be allowed to carryover into 2022, but after that, we expect the old rules to return and there won't be additional carryover. To reduce your election, log into My Benefits and select “Change Your Benefits.” From there, select “Change in dependent care cost or provider.” Your FSA election is the only benefit election you’ll be able to change due to this circumstance. 

Yes, we ask that all parents help support our efforts by:

  • Complying with the handwashing guidance when you enter and leave a classroom.

  • Keeping your children home if they have symptoms of illness and especially if they have a fever.

  • Following the self-isolation guidelines as recommended by the CDC.

  • Providing accurate and complete information during the daily inspection for illness.

  • Communicating your travel plans to ensure compliance with Stanford’s self-isolation requirements. Visit the Stanford Health Alerts website for important updates about infectious diseases, travel warnings and other public health issues.

  • Remaining vigilant to your own health and the health of your child(ren). Please review the CDC’s Healthy Habits to Prevent Flu to avoid the spread of flu at work and school. 

  • Planning and preparing for alternative care in the case of center closures (e.g. family support, alternating schedules with partners, neighborhood cooperation).

Schools, child care center operations, and families who are in need of care continue to be significantly impacted by the pandemic. To help families navigate this challenging time, the WorkLife Office offers Family Resources, including additional child care options to consider during COVID-19. 

Additionally, to support you as you navigate the ongoing caregiving demands brought about by COVID-19, Stanford is offering COVID Flex Hours, effective through December 17, 2021.

This interim policy provides up to 80 hours of paid time to eligible employees, to be used for qualifying issues arising from the impacts of COVID-19, as well as up to 24 hours of paid time for self-care. The intention of COVID Flex Hours is to ensure that you can take the time you need to care for yourself and your family during the pandemic.

If you already used up your 10 days of Back-Up Care (BUCA), you may still access Bright Horizons Additional Family Supports, but pay for the services out of pocket.

Bright Horizons Additional Family Supports gives you free membership access to Sittercity's extensive database of babysitters, nannies and elder companions where you can find a caregiver and negotiate rates directly. 

Our facilities are complying with the university’s travel policies and we are enforcing these with all families enrolled in on-site childcare, as well as with potential tours of enrolling families. Please review Stanford’s travel policies, including requirements for returning to Stanford after traveling.