This page, In-Person Family Time Guidance for Parents, is offered by

In-Person Family Time Guidance for Parents

Interim guidance issued for parents on in-person Family Time visits.

Table of Contents

In-Person Family Time Guidance for Parents

When Family Time occurs in person (supervised, unsupervised and overnight), it is important to follow this guidance to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19 and ensure the safety of everyone involved. It was developed based on current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH).

At this time, visits can only occur in outdoor settings and are limited to 6 participants in total.

Please remember, no one should attend in-person family time if they:

  • Tested positive or were clinically diagnosed positive for COVID-19
  • Were in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • Are displaying symptoms of COVID-19
  • If any participant has a fever

Safety Requirements for In-Person Family Time

Wear a Mask
  • All participants must wear cloth face coverings or disposable surgical masks during in-person family time. This excludes children under the age of 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, and anyone who cannot remove the covering without assistance.
  • Young children may resist wearing a mask, cry, yell, or pull them off because of fear or discomfort. Youth may not understand the importance of wearing a mask. It’s important to recognize this might happen and plan for ways to stay safe like maintaining distance when this occurs. Family time will not be canceled because a child or youth will not wear a mask.
  • If you do not have a mask, one will be provided to you when you arrive for Family Time.

All Family Time participants should follow the CDC guidelines regarding the use of disposable or cloth face coverings, including:

  1. Wash or sanitize hands before putting on your mask.
  2. Be sure your mouth and nose are covered.
  3. Hook the loops around ears or tie it snugly.
  4. Refrain from touching your face covering or pulling it down during use.
  5. Remove the face covering without touching eyes, nose, or mouth and immediately washing hands after removal.
  6. Wash reusable face covering between uses and ensure it is completely dry before using it again.
Staying Home if Anyone is Sick
  • If you are sick or your child or youth is sick, we will need to reschedule Family Time. Let your social worker know if you are not feeling well.
  • All adults who will be at Family Time should monitor themselves and stay home if they are sick.
  • NO ONE should participate if they have any of these symptoms: cough, fever (100.4°F or higher) shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell.
  • If anyone displays symptoms of illness during family time, the visit will need to end.
  • If anyone in your home displays any of the symptoms listed above, call your health care provider. If you don’t have a provider, dial 2-1-1 to find one in your area.
  • Anyone who is diagnosed with COVID-19 or waiting for test results, should self isolate until:
    • Three full days have passed with no fever AND no use of fever-reducing medication,
    • Other symptoms have improved, and at least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
  • Additionally, children and adults in the following high risk categories may need to take additional precautions or participate in virtual visits only: individuals who are >65 years old, are immunocompromised or on immune-suppressing medications, have serious medical conditions such as heart disease or chronic lung disease, and pregnant women.

Preparing for Family Time and What to Expect

Talk to Your Social Worker
  • It is important to stay in contact with your Social Worker as you prepare for Family Time. Your Social Worker can help in coordinating Family Time and can answer questions you may have.
Prepare for Family Time

Planning Activities

When planning Family Time, think about age-appropriate activities that can be done outside, from a distance or separately but together like:

  • Batting around balloons
  • Drawing with sidewalk chalk
  • Doing a puzzle or playing a game together but having only one person touch the pieces
  • Going for a walk where it’s possible to practice physical distancing
  • Coloring together, but on different pages, or books

Reducing the Spread of Germs

If you have them, you may bring supplies like:

  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Gloves (medical grade nitryl or latex)
  • Cloth face coverings or disposable surgical masks (If a participant does not have a mask, one will be provided to them)

Bringing Food

  • All snacks and drinks should be in individual containers so that sharing does not occur. Food should not be shared.
  • Parents should wash hands or use hand sanitizer before giving child food.
  • Plastic spoons or forks should be used and disposed of after visit.
  • Children and youth will not be able to take food back with them after the visit.
Screening Questions You Will be Asked

In order to ensure the safety of everyone involved, you will be asked these screening questions the day before Family Time is scheduled and again when you arrive at the Family Time location:

  • Have you tested positive for COVID-19 or been in close contact with anyone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days?
  • Have you experienced any of these symptoms in the last few days: cough, fever, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell?
  • Do you have a fever of 100.4° or higher? Take your temperature before you go.

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you cannot attend in-person family time. Your social worker will work with you to schedule a virtual visit until you can participate in in-person visits again.

Plan to be Outside
  • In order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, Family Time will occur outdoors in open-air spaces for the foreseeable future. Please plan and dress accordingly.
  • Visitation locations may have limited access to restroom facilities.
  • Additionally, weather may cause a visit to be rescheduled. It will be important to stay in contact with your social worker when weather may impact Family Time.
Wear a Mask and Maintain Physical Distance When Possible
  • Please do your best to practice physical distancing guidelines during Family Time.
  • We realize this may not always be possible, especially if you have a young child. We understand that you’ll want to comfort your child if they are scared or anxious and show them that you love them. Think about ways you can do this while also protecting yourself and the child such as:
    • Avoiding close face-to-face contact and kissing
    • Ensuring participants above the above the age of 2 are wearing masks
    • Wearing layers of clothing, which can be taken off after the visit
    • Wearing long hair up off the collar in a ponytail or other updo
    • Utilizing hand sanitizer or washing hands after close contact
    • Placing contaminated items in a plastic bag or immediately washing them in a washing machine