Early Childhood Education Guidelines

Guidelines and Policies for Early Childhood Education Programs


In the VMFA’s Early Childhood Education programs, infants, toddlers, and preschool-aged children discover the world around them through playing, singing, exploring, and creating. Held throughout VMFA’s campus, these programs support a child’s natural sense of wonder and curiosity, and promote self-expression and social development.


Following the Guidelines from VDH and the CDC’s Operational Guidance for Early Care and Education, VMFA recommends the use of masks for all participants and faculty/staff while participating indoors in VMFA’s Early Childhood Education programs.

VMFA has a “no contact” check in process. Upon arriving, please wait patiently and practice physical distancing until child/adult pairs are ready to be checked in by staff. Caregivers will assist their children with check in by providing verbal confirmation of registration.

Upon entering the studio, toys and manipulatives will be placed on yoga mats throughout the classroom to encourage physical distancing. All toys will be disinfected after class.

Enrollment is limited to 8 children and 8 adults. In order to maintain the adequate distancing and safety requirements, only one adult per student is permitted to attend class with students. At this time, no extra adults are allowed to join.

The classroom, studios, restrooms, and high traffic areas are consistently cleaned, and trash is removed daily. Handwashing stations and hand sanitizers are available in all studios and restrooms. Play materials in the Early Childhood Classroom are available for children to explore freely for the first 5-10 minutes of class. Stations are cleaned and sanitized regularly.

Fees are nonrefundable except when VMFA cancels a class. Classes may not be substituted or switched once registration is complete. Be sure to mark your calendar and save your confirmation email upon registering. If VMFA cancels a class due to insufficient enrollment, issues with technology, or health concerns, participants will be notified as soon as possible and reimbursed fully.

Scholarships are available for Early Childhood programs! For more information, or to request a Scholarship Application Form, call 804.340.1343 or email earlychildhood@vmfa.museum.

We value your opinion and may ask you to complete a survey upon exiting the class session or via email at a later date.

EMAIL: earlychildhood@vmfa.museum
PHONE: Lori Coffey, 804.340.1343


VMFA staff are committed to providing a safe and healthy space for our students, teachers, staff, volunteers, and visitors.

Following the Guidelines from VDH and the CDC’s Operational Guidance for Early Care and Education, well-fitting masks are encouraged while indoors, especially when COVID-19 community levels are high.

Please self-screen prior to attending camp or class. If a student, caregiver, teacher, or other staff member can answer “YES” to one of the following questions within 24 hours of class, they should remain home and notify VMFA Early Childhood Staff of their absence.

  1. Have you or a member of your household been in close contact with someone in the past 10 days with suspected or confirmed COVID-19? If so, did you test negative 5 days after exposure?
  2. Do you or a member of your household have any of the following symptoms that cannot be attributed to health conditions? Fever (100.4°F or higher) or chills, cough, sudden shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.

While the following list is subject to change based on updated recommendations and restrictions, here are some of the precautions we take in effort to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 during our programs:

  • Enrollment has been reduced to eight (8) or fewer students per class.
  • Properly worn face masks are recommended indoors for all participants 2 years and older when COVID-19community levels are high.
  • Six feet of physical distancing is practiced, when possible.
  • A “no contact” check-in process has been implemented.
  • Only registered students, caregivers, teachers, and staff are allowed in the studios. To keep occupancy low, extra adults, siblings, and other visitors are not permitted.
  • Products such as hand soap, hand sanitizer, disposable masks, disposable face shields, and disinfectant wipes are readily available to students and staff, as needed.
  • Air purifiers are installed in all the studio and classroom spaces, museum ventilation systems meet approved standards.


  • VMFA Facility Services Associates thoroughly clean studios, restrooms, and high-traffic areas; restock supplies such as soap, hand sanitizer, and paper towels; and remove trash and recycling daily.
  • Staff uses approved disinfectant cleaner to wipe down surfaces. Staff cleans frequently touched surfaces such as workstations, and sink areas, and sanitize all tools and art supplies, when possible.

VMFA Staff coordinates with Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Human Resources for assistance in guiding and advising us on appropriate steps to ensure the safety and well-being of our patrons, staff, and volunteers. Please keep in mind that protocols are subject to change.

If a student, Early Childhood Staff member, or someone in their households, tests positive for COVID-19, all participants, parents and guardians, and VMFA Staff and Faculty will be notified, via email, within 24 hours of Early Childhood Staff becoming informed of the positive test results. After the email is sent, you may receive a follow-up phone call by the next day to ensure you received the message.

A student and/or caregiver who tests positive:

  • cannot return to the program until they have completed the appropriate quarantine as listed in the VDH quarantine guidelines, and
  • Are fever and symptom-free for over 24 hours without assistance from a fever-reducing medication, and
  • IF the time period is under 10 days from their first positive test; wear a well fitting mask when attending a class/camp.
  • Email Early Childhood Educator, Lori.coffey@vmfa.museum or call 804-340-1343 to discuss further.

A Staff person who tests positive for COVID-19 must be cleared by HR; staff cannot return to work until their symptoms subside and have completed the appropriate quarantine and testing under guidance of VMFA Human Resources Department.

Anyone showing symptoms such as a high fever, persistent cough, shortness of breath, chills, sore throat, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, headache, fatigue, diarrhea, or loss of taste or smell, will be removed from the group and required to leave the museum as soon as possible.

Should a student become ill: A student exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 will need clearance before returning which may include a proof of a negative test or a doctor’s note and/or completion of quarantine. Students should also be fever-free and have little to no symptoms remaining.

Should a teacher become ill: Class will be dismissed and refunds will be issued. The teacher will be required to stay home and coordinate with their supervisor and HR; they will not return to work until all necessary protocols are complete.

In the event that symptoms become life threatening VMFA Security Staff will dispatch EMS and provide first aid.