Eastern Ontatio Health Unit / Bureau de santé de l'Ontario

Child Care Centres

Updated on 2022-03-17

Child care centres and parents should visit this website regularly as information and resources related to COVID-19 are updated frequently.

On this page:

COVID-19 Screening

  • COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening
    • Daily on-site confirmation of screening is required prior to/upon arrival at the child care centre for all children and staff up to March 20, 2022. Daily on-site confirmation of screening for all children and staff will no longer be required as of March 21, 2022.
    • Staff and children should self-screen every day before attending the child care setting using the COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening.
    • IMPORTANT! Carefully read and follow the advice provided with the screening result.

COVID-19 Symptoms

  • Refer to Poster: COVID-19 Symptoms
  • Most common symptoms of COVID-19:
    • Fever and/or chills; OR Cough; OR Shortness of breath; OR Decrease or loss of taste or smell.
  • Less common symptoms of COVID-19:
    • Runny nose/nasal congestion, Headache, Extreme fatigue Sore throat, Muscle aches/joint pain, Gastrointestinal symptoms (i.e., vomiting or diarrhea).
  • If a child/staff has one of the most common symptoms of COVID-19 or two of the less common symptoms of COVID-19, assume they have the virus and may be contagious. They must self-isolate, regardless of vaccination status (confirmation tests are NOT required).
  • If a child/staff has one of the less common symptoms of COVID-19, they can return to the child care centre if it has been at least 24 hours since their symptoms started improving (48 hours for nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea) and they do not develop any additional symptoms.
    • Household members do not need to self-isolate.

COVID-19 Testing for Children and Staff

  • When available, RATs or PCR self-collection kits may be used when a child or staff member is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.  
  • If a child/staff test positive on a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT), the test result does NOT have to be confirmed with a PCR test.  Parents do NOT need to report a positive RAT/PCR test to the child care centre.
  • Negative RAT/PCR Results
    • Symptomatic individuals who test negative on a single RAT are advised to self-isolate. A single negative rapid antigen test does not mean that they do no have COVID-19 infection.
    • If two consecutive RATs, separated by 24-48 hours, are both negative, the symptomatic individual is less likely to have COVID-19 infection, and the individual is advised to self-isolate until symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours (or 48 hours if gastrointestinal symptoms are present).
    • Individuals who test negative on a PCR test (processed by a lab) must stay home until their symptom(s) have been improving for 24 hours (48 hours if gastrointestinal symptoms are present).

For Children and Staff Presumed to Have COVID-19 or Having Tested Positive for COVID-19

  • All individuals who are presumed to have COVID-19 based on their symptoms or have tested positive on a COVID-19 test (PCR, rapid molecular, or rapid antigen) should:
    • self-isolate immediately as per the criteria in the You have symptoms and are concerned you may have COVID-19. Now what? flow chart.
      • When calculating the isolation period, the first day of symptoms or positive result (whichever is earlier) count as day zero.
    • After self-isolation is complete, until day 10 (or day 20 for immunocompromised individuals) after the first day of symptoms or positive result, the individual must:  
      • Continue to wear a well-fitted mask in all public settings (including child care). Refer to Masking Requirement section of this page for additional instructions.
      • Not visit anyone who is immunocompromised or at higher risk of illness (i.e., seniors).
      • Not visit or attend work in any highest risk settings.
  • If a child presents with new or worsening symptoms consistent with COVID-19 at their child care centre, refer to Managing Students with COVID-19 Symptoms at School/Child Care Centres – Instructions for Staff 

For Children and Staff Exposed to COVID-19

Note: Guidance below is for close contacts (high-risk contacts) who do NOT have symptom.

  • Close contacts include those who had contact with the symptomatic/COVID-19 positive individual within the 48 hours prior to their symptom onset (if symptomatic) or within 48 hours prior to specimen collection date and until they started self-isolating; AND
    • Were in close proximity (less than 2 meters) for at least 15 minutes or for multiple short periods of time without appropriate measures as masking, distancing and/or use of personal protective equipment.
  • If the child/staff was exposed to COVID-19 ONLY while at the child care centre, generally contacts would not be considered close contacts due to the layering of health and safety measures in place.
  • If the child/staff is a close contact:

Masking Requirement

The following are situations where masks should be worn in child care settings:

  • If a child becomes symptomatic while in child care:
  • When a child/staff is returning from international travel:
  • If a child/staff is presumed to have COVID-19 (or tested positive for COVID-19):
    • Once self-isolation is complete, the child/staff should wear a well-fitted masks at school, until day 10 (or day 20 for immunocompromised individuals) after the first day of symptoms or positive result.
  • If a child/staff is an asymptomatic close contact, they should wear a well-fitted mask at school during their self-monitoring period.
    • If self-isolation is required, the self-monitoring period starts when self-isolation is complete and lasts until day 10 after the last exposure to COVID-19.
    • If self-isolation is not required, the self-monitoring period starts immediately after the exposure and lasts for a total of 10 days.

NOTE: If you wear a mask at the child care setting as per the situations above:

  • Wear a mask at all times, including outdoors.
  • Reasonable exceptions include temporary removal for essential activities like eating (e.g., when eating in shared space at school/work while maintaining as much distancing from others as possible).
  • Do not participate in activities where mask removal is necessary. E.g.:
    • Playing a wind instrument.
    • Participating in a high-contact and/or high-intensity activity or sport if a mask cannot be worn safely.

Infection Prevention and Control

Guidance documents for Child Care

Licensed Child Care Centres:

Private Child Care Services with 5 Children or Less:

The EOHU is advising that private daycares with 5 children or less can operate, provided they take the required infection control measures described in the document below:

Early On Child and Family Centres

COVID-19 Management in Child Care

Additional Resources

Eastern Ontatio Health Unit / Bureau de santé de l'Ontario