Vermont Governor Phil Scott. Photo: Jeff Knight

Governor Phil Scott issued a directive on March 17, 2020, and announced additional guidance for preK-12 schools and child care centers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor directed child care centers across the state to close normal operations but encourages continued operation exclusively where needed to provide child care services for workers who are essential to Vermont’s ongoing effort in community mitigation of COVID-19.

To support those most critical to Vermont’s ongoing COVID-19 response, the governor has ordered schools to provide child care for “essential persons” working in response to the crisis. District by district information will be available as those local plans are finalized.

The definition of essential persons:

  • Providers of health care including but not limited to workers at clinics, hospitals, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), nursing homes, long-term care and post-acute care facilities, respite houses, VNAs, designated agencies and emergency medical services.
  • Criminal justice personnel including those in law enforcement, courts and correctional services.
  • Public health employees.
  • Firefighters.
  • Vermont National Guard personnel called to duty for this response.
  • Other first responders and state employees determined to be essential for response to this crisis under the State Emergency Operations Center.
  • Staff and providers of child care and education services (including custodial and kitchen staff and other support staff) for children of other “essential persons.”

 The definition of essential persons may evolve as needed to respond to the crisis.


This new guidance outlines the protocols that educators and child care providers should follow as they develop plans to care for children of “essential persons.” It also addresses facility and class/group size limits, hygiene and cleaning protocols, social distance practices, as well as communications and plans for emergency notifications.

The governor’s directive provides for continuity of funding for schools and providers during the period of school dismissal and closure to help preserve these important services for Vermonters post-response. It also directs the Agency of Human Services and the Agency of Education to work with child care providers to identify and address funding gaps in order to allow for these emergency services for children of “essential persons.”

Schools and child care providers should direct questions to the agencies noted in the guidance.

Parents need to know that schools and child care providers will communicate directly regarding locations, hours of operation and eligibility. The governor asks for people’s patience as providers and educators work diligently to establish service for children of those essential to the response.

For additional details, please read the full guidance: