Infectious Disease COVID-19

All child care centres are required to follow all existing health and safety requirements as directed by the local medical officer of health and as outlined in the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 (CCEYA) and other policies and guidelines issued by the Ministry of Education. Plans must be in place to respond should any staff, children, or parents/guardians be exposed to COVID-19.


Building positive relationships and continued partnerships with families and staff is a priority.


What is COVID-19

COVID-19 is a coronavirus that is spread primarily from person-to-person through close contact. The virus typically spreads through coughing and sneezing, personal contact with an infected person, or touching an infected surface and then face – mouth, nose, or eyes.

There is an increased risk of more severe COVID-19 outcomes for those:

  • Aged 65 and over, and/or
  • With compromised immune systems, and/or
  • With underlying medical conditions

Key Requirements

  • Prior to the centre opening, a thorough clean must be completed.
  • Only essential visitors are allowed in the childcare setting during the time childcare is taking place.
  • No volunteers or students.
  • Staff should only work at one location.
  • Pets are not allowed on site.
  • All adults must wear a face covering (surgical or cloth) prior to entering the childcare site. Childcare centre staff must wear a face covering at all times when in a room with others.
  • Childcare centres must develop new health and safety policies and protocols including how to operate through the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Ensure all staff have reviewed the Operating Guidelines for Infectious Disease – COVID-19

Overall Capacity and Group Size

  • While physical distancing is not always possible in a childcare setting, every precaution and measure will be taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This priority will be consistent throughout all sections of this document.
  • Maximum cohort size for each room will consist of no more than 10 individuals (“a cohort”), space permitting. This includes both staff and children.
    As of July 27th, the cohort size will change to 15 children plus
  • A cohort is defined as a group of children and the staff members assigned to them, who stay together throughout the duration of the program.
  • Each cohort must stay together throughout the day and are not permitted to mix with other cohorts.
  • As much as possible, Public Health is strongly recommending that siblings remain together. This will allow for better management for infection control.
  • Children of childcare staff who are working at the childcare centre are required to be in the same room to form part of the cohort.

Daily Routines

All people participating in childcare i.e. staff, parents, child(ren) need to consistently monitor their health for signs and/or symptoms of COVID-19.


Before leaving home

All parents/guardians must check their child’s temperature and all staff must check their own temperatures each day before going to the childcare centre.

Any person who meets one or more of the following criteria, even if it resembles a mild cold, should stay home and report their symptoms to the centre.


Signs and Symptoms of COVID-19

  • Temperature that is equal to or greater than 37.8 degrees Celsius
  • Any new/worsening cough
  • shortness of breath
  • sore throat
  • hoarse voice
  • difficulty swallowing
  • runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion,
  • loss of sense of smell or taste
  • nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain
  • Knowledge of recent clinical or radiological evidence of pneumonia

Atypical symptoms/signs of COVID-19 should be considered, particularly in children, older persons, and people living with a developmental disability. Atypical symptoms can include:

  • Unexplained fatigue/malaise
  • Delirium (acutely altered mental status and inattention)
  • Unexplained or increased number of falls
  • Acute functional decline
  • Exacerbation of chronic conditions
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Croup
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Multi-system inflammatory vasculitis in children:

o  Persistent fever, abdominal pain, conjunctivitis, gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting and diarrhea) and rash

  • Unexplained tachycardia, including age specific tachycardia for children
  • Decrease in blood pressure
  • Unexplained hypoxia (even if mild i.e. O2 sat <90%)
  • Lethargy, difficulty feeding in infants (if no other diagnosis)

Note: If the person is presenting with ONLY a runny nose/sneezing or congestion, consideration may be given to other underlying reasons for these symptoms such as seasonal allergies and post- nasal drip. See screening tool.

The person must immediately report their symptoms to the centre and be tested at a local COVID-19 Assessment Centre and indicate they are working/attending in a childcare site.

For information on local Assessment Centres, please visit the Assessment Centre website: