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On-site Child Care Operations During COVID-19

On-site Child Care Operations During COVID-19

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the WorkLife Office (WLO) and child care operators have continued to follow Santa Clara County Public Health, Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Department of Social Services - Child Care Licensing regulations for school and child care operations.

Child care center operations have been significantly curtailed due to County shelter-in-place guidance. In an effort to keep our families and the Stanford community informed of on-site child care operations, this page will be updated as new information becomes available.

Additionally, we will update the COVID-19 Child Care FAQ and offer resources and support to assist families in navigating this challenging moment in time.

Winter Closure Operations Update (as of 10/21/20)

Stanford child care centers will remain open the week of Dec.14. Employees should check with their individual child(ren)’s child care center for closure days during the week of Dec. 21. General questions should be directed to the WorkLife Office.

Child Care Operations Restart Plan (as of October 22, 2020; restart plan is subject to change)

The county’s latest update to their shelter-in-place guidance allows the reopening of child care, assuming compliance with the group size and other business operation requirements. Below is the WLO's proposed timeline for reopening Stanford child care centers, which will align with the university’s staged restart. Additionally, WLO has developed a set of guiding principles and is leveraging these for decisions relative to re-opening child care centers, while also relying on the expertise and guidance of various university partners.

Enrollment Access

Formerly enrolled families have been contacted and invited to return to child care.

As a reminder for those that have been asked to continue to work from home, an invitation to return to campus child care does not mean you are authorized to return to your on-campus office or building. It is the expectation that after child care drop off, families will return to working from home.

Families Returning to Care

Families who have already returned or are considering returning to center-based child care are encouraged to have a back-up plan developed and in place should there be a COVID-19 exposure at their center. We cannot guarantee being able to keep child care open without interruptions due to COVID-19. 

As a reminder, COVID-19 symptoms are often similar to cold and flu symptoms (e.g. sore throat, congestion, etc.). For the safety of our community, if you or your child show any cold or flu-like symptoms, please stay home. For families that have travel plans, please become familiar with the travel policy. Child care operators are adhering to Stanford’s travel policy.

Child Care Operations Restart Phases

Centers open Priority Access During COVID-19* Other details

All centers were open until March 13. Shelter in place began on March 17, significantly curtailing child care operations.

Pre-COVID-19 Stanford affiliate priorities New hygiene practices and preventive measures deployed to keep all members of our child care facilities safe


Centers open Priority Access During COVID-19* Other details

Shelter in place was extended to May 30. Stock Farm Road Children’s Center (SFRCC) remained open during this entire period.

Employees designated as an essential onsite role, primarily:

  • Researchers
  • School of Medicine clinicians
Designated essential onsite personnel contacted WLO to request child care


Centers open Priority Access During COVID-19* Other details

SFRCC remains open. Based on SIP guidance, child care centers and school-age camps opened up under stringent group size and other business operation requirements.

WorkLife Office opened an  additional ICRI operated center in late June.

Employees designated as an essential onsite role, primarily:

  • Researchers
  • Clinicians
  • Authorized personnel returning to support Stage 2 preparation

The reopening of centers is dependent on prioritization of buildings that align with the university’s restart.

ICRI continued to operate their centers in a “combined” manner, offering spaces at the open buildings regardless of your previous location.


Centers open Priority Access During COVID-19* Other details

As of July 6, four centers are operating: Stock Farm Road Children’s Center, Madera Grove Children’s Center, Arboretum Children’s Center, and the Children’s Center of the Stanford Community. 

Pine Cone Children’s Center located at the Stanford Redwood City reopened on July 22.

We are going through a lease exit process with KinderCare (the former operator of Stanford West) and with a projected reopening timeline for early 2021 the Stanford West center.

  • Previously enrolled families authorized to return to campus for the restart of essential research functions and associated research support activities
  • Starting 9/1: Available spaces are being  offered to previously enrolled families who are working from home, using our pre-COVID-19 Stanford affiliate priorities: faculty, students, postdocs and university staff
  • Starting 9/15: After enrolled families have been offered a space, available spots will be offered to families who are on the waiting list using our pre-COVID-19 Stanford affiliate priorities: faculty, students, postdocs and university staff

Return to campus is authorized by the school/unit Dean, Vice Provost, or Vice President.

Enrollment will be managed in phases on a weekly, rolling basis. This approach will help children with the transition and ensure availability of space and teacher coverage.


Centers open Priority Access During COVID-19* Other details

*We expect the typical fall enrollment timeline to be different. We are limited by child care licensing guidance and we will need to ensure we are compliant with licensing regulations and evolving public health orders as those are issued.

Deferring Enrollment

We recognize that some families are not quite ready to return to group care. If you are being asked to return to campus, but would rather not accept a priority space, you will be offered one opportunity to “defer” your enrollment through August 2021.

If you decline a second time, we will place your enrollment “on hold.” You will not be disenrolled, but you may not be offered another opportunity to enroll until we are able to increase the capacity at our centers.


Contact the WorkLife Office