COVID-19: health and safety measures for child care
Learn about the health and safety measures for licensed child care, before and after school programs and early years programs.
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All child care and early years settings are operating regularly. This includes:
- licensed child care centres
- before and after school programs
- early years programs, including EarlyON Child and Family Centres and Child and Family Programs operated by First Nations
Masks and cleaning practices
Child care and early years providers will continue to:
- thoroughly clean and disinfect the space, toys and equipment regularly, according to local public health direction and advice
- follow appropriate regular hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
- provide masks and eye protection for children, staff and child care and early years program volunteers and students on educational placements, if requested
Children, early year providers and visitors should continue to self-screen for symptoms of COVID‑19 every day before attending child care and early years programs.
Use the COVID‑19 school and child care screening tool, or a screening tool designated by your local public health unit to screen for symptoms. The results will tell you:
- if you should go to a child care or early years programs or stay home
- what do to do next
If you feel sick or have any new or worsening symptoms of illness, you should stay home until your symptoms are improving for 24 hours (or 48 hours for nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea) and contact your health care provider if needed.
Child care licensees, home child care providers and early years program providers should implement best practices and measures to improve ventilation. This includes:
- ensuring HVAC systems are in good working condition
- keeping areas near HVAC inlets and outlets clear
- arranging furniture away from air vents and high airflow areas
- avoiding re-circulating air
- opening windows and moving activities outdoors, when it is safe to do so
We are distributing up to 9,000 HEPA filters to child care centres across Ontario.
Read Public Health Ontario’s guidance: heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in buildings and COVID‑19.
Child care staff, child care providers and children up to 5 years old will receive rapid antigen tests to use if they are symptomatic or who are away due to an unplanned absence. These tests should be conducted at home and may be used 24 to 48 hours apart as per guidance in the COVID‑19 school and child care screener.
If your child becomes ill at child care
If a child becomes ill while in the child care setting, licensees must:
- ensure the child is separated from others, in a separate room if possible (for example, in an isolation room)
- contact parents and guardians to arrange for pick-up of symptomatic children
- supervise symptomatic children who are separated from others