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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 8. Education
Agency 20. State Board of Education
Chapter 790. Child Care Program
8/14/2022

8VAC20-790-670. Supervision, ratio, and group size requirements.

A. The vendor, except those exempt from licensure operated by or under the auspices of a religious institution, shall ensure that the following ratio requirements are maintained:

1. For children from birth to the age of 16 months: one staff member for every four children;

2. For children 16 months to two years: one staff member for every five children;

3. For two-year-old children: one staff member for every eight children;

4. For children from three years to the age of eligibility to attend public school, five years by September 30: one staff member for every 10 children;

5. For children from age of eligibility to attend public school through eight years: one staff member for every 18 children; and

6. For children from nine years through 12 years of age: one staff member for every 20 children.

B. Except during meals or snacks, the designated rest period, evening and overnight sleep time, outdoor play, field trips, special group activities, or during the first and last hour of operation when the vendor operates more than six hours per day, the vendor, except those exempt from licensure operated by or under the auspices of a religious institution, shall ensure that the following group size requirements are maintained at all times:

1. For children from birth to the age of 16 months: the maximum group size is 12 children;

2. For children 16 months to two years: the maximum group size is 15 children;

3. For two-year-old children: the maximum group size is 24 children; and

4. For children from three years to the age of eligibility to attend public school, five years by September 30: the maximum group size is 30 children.

Group size requirements in this section do not apply to children school age eligible through 12 years of age or when a variance has been granted by the Division of Licensing Programs.

C. Facilities operated by, or under the auspices of, a religious institution and exempt from licensure shall employ supervisory personnel as set forth in § 22.1-289.031 of the Code of Virginia and shall ensure the following ratio requirements are maintained:

1. One staff member to four children from ages zero to 16 months;

2. One staff member to five children from ages 16 months to 24 months;

3. One staff member to eight children from ages 24 months to 36 months;

4. One staff member to 10 children from ages 36 months to five years;

5. One staff member to 20 children from ages five years to nine years; and

6. One staff member to 25 children from ages nine years to 12 years.

When a group of children receiving care includes children from different age brackets, the age of the youngest child in the group shall be used to determine the staff-to-children ratio that applies to that group.

D. With the exception of when meals or snacks are served, the designated rest period, evening and overnight sleep time, outdoor play, and field trips, special group activities, or during the first and last hour of operation when the vendor operates more than six hours per day, facilities operated by, or under the auspices, of a religious institution and are exempt from licensure shall ensure the following group size requirements are maintained at all times:

1. For children from birth to two years of age: the maximum group size is 12 children;

2. For children from two years to six years of age: the maximum group size is 30 children; and

3. For children who are six years up to 12 years of age: group size requirements in this section do not apply.

E. The vendor shall develop and implement a written policy and procedure that describes how the vendor will ensure that each group of children receives care by consistent staff or team of staff members.

F. Staff shall be counted in the required staff-to-children ratios only when they are directly supervising children.

G. When children are in ongoing mixed age groups, the staff-to-children ratio and group size applicable to the youngest child in the group shall apply to the entire group.

H. Children less than 10 years of age shall always be within actual sight and sound supervision of staff, except that staff need only be able to hear a child who is using the restroom provided that:

1. There is a system to ensure that individuals who are not staff members or persons allowed to pick up a child in care do not enter the restroom area while in use by children; and

2. Staff checks on a child who has not returned from the restroom after five minutes. Depending on the location and layout of the restroom, staff may need to provide intermittent sight supervision of the children in the restroom area during this five-minute period to assure the safety of children and to provide assistance to children as needed.

I. Children 10 years of age and older shall be within actual sight and sound supervision of staff except when the following requirements are met:

1. Staff can hear or see the children (video equipment, intercom systems, or other technological devices shall not substitute for staff being able to directly see or hear children);

2. Staff are nearby so that they can provide immediate intervention if needed;

3. There is a system to ensure that staff know where the children are and what they are doing;

4. There is a system to ensure that individuals who are not staff members or persons allowed to pick up children in care do not enter the areas where children are not under sight supervision; and

5. Staff provides sight and sound supervision of the children at variable and unpredictable intervals not to exceed 15 minutes.

J. When the outdoor activity area is not adjacent to the center, there shall be at least two staff members in the outdoor activity area whenever one or more children are present.

K. Staff shall not allow a child to leave the center unsupervised.

L. For vendors operated by, or under the auspices of, a religious institution and exempt from licensure, during designated rest periods and the designated sleep period of evening and overnight care programs, the ratio of staff to children over 16 months of age may be double the number of children to each staff required by subsection C of this section if:

1. The staff person shall be present in the same space as sleeping children;

2. Staff counted in the overall rest period ratio are on the same floor as the sleeping or resting children and available in case of emergency; and

3. An additional person is present to help.

Once at least half of the children in the resting room or area are awake and off their mats or cots, the staff-to-child ratio shall meet the ratios as required in subsection C of this section.

M. For vendors not operated by, or under the auspices of, a religious institution, during designated rest periods and the designated sleep period of evening and overnight care programs, the ratio of staff to children over 16 months of age may be double the number of children to each staff required by subsection A of this section if:

1. The staff person shall be present in the same space as sleeping children;

2. Staff counted in the overall rest period ratio are on the same floor as the sleeping or resting children and available in case of emergency; and

3. An additional person is present to help.

Once at least half of the children in the resting room or area are awake and off their mats or cots, the staff-to-child ratio shall meet the ratios as required in subsection A of this section.

Statutory Authority

§§ 22.1-16 and 22.1-289.046 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Former 22VAC40-665-650 derived from Virginia Register Volume 35, Issue 2, eff. October 17, 2018; amended, Virginia Register Volume 36, Issue 2, eff. October 17, 2019; Volume 37, Issue 2, eff. October 15, 2020; amended and renumbered, Virginia Register Volume 37, Issue 24, eff. July 1, 2021.

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