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

Child Care Centres

Updated on 2022-09-02

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 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).
  • Other possible symptoms of COVID-19:
    • Abdominal pain (not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g., menstrual cramps, gastroesophageal reflux disease)), Conjunctivitis (pink eye) not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g., blepharitis, recurrent styes), Decreased or lack of appetite (for young children and not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g., anxiety, constipation)
  • 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. While they have symptoms, they should stay home (self-isolate) and not attend school or child care until they do not have a fever and their symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours (48 hours if they had nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea). They must also wear a well-fitted mask in all public settings (including school and child care) for 10 days after their symptoms started. Household members do not need to self-isolate unless they become symptomatic. However, they must monitor for symptoms and wear a well-fitted mask in all public settings (including school and child care) for 10 days after their last exposure to the person with COVID‑19 symptoms.
  • 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 or wear a mask in public.

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.
    • 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.

For Children and Staff Exposed to COVID-19

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

  • 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:
    • Child care should provide the child with a medical grade mask if tolerated, and ensure the child remains isolated until they are picked up.
  • 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 mask 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