Child care centres

Child care workers

COVID-19 testing is available to all child care workers whether they have symptoms or not. If you are a child care worker and have symptoms of COVID-19, immediately self-isolate (learn how), notify your employer or occupational health and safety department, and Public Health, and seek testing for COVID-19.

Staff presenting with new symptoms compatible with COVID-19, including atypical symptoms, must be rapidly identified, investigated and managed, including ensuring access to testing. Symptomatic staff awaiting test results must be off work and on isolation. Learn more about who is eligible for testing.

Child care centres

Under the Framework for Reopening our Province: Phase 2: Restart – Stage 2 (Ontario government), establishments providing licensed child care services, including home based care, can open with cohorting of child and staff in groups of no more than 10 people (including children and staff).

Public Health aims to promote the health and wellbeing of children and staff to ensure that operations resume in the safest and healthiest way possible. In addition to the requirements set out in the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 and its regulations, as well as the Occupational Health and Safety Act, child care centres are also required to follow the advice and direction of Public Health Sudbury & Districts. Refer to the following documents for health and safety protocols that must be in place:


IMPORTANT UPDATE: Effective Friday, October 2, the Ontario Government’s COVID-19 school and child care screening tool has been updated.

Note: Public Health Sudbury & Districts What to do: if a student is ill during school hours resource and some website content under the Schools and COVID-19 page and the Frequently Asked Questions page have been removed from the website and will be updated to reflect new content as soon as possible.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Attendance recording

Cleaning and disinfecting

Frequently touched surfaces must be cleaned and disinfected at least twice daily. Keep a log of when cleaning occurs. Centres should also refer to the Ounce of Prevention Manual (PDF) for recommendations on cleaning and disinfecting in child care centres.

Provide only toys that can be cleaned and disinfected. Where possible have designated toys and equipment for each cohort. Where toys and equipment are shared, they must be cleaned and disinfected between cohorts.

Other frequent cleaning steps include, but are not limited to:

Hand hygiene

Handwashing is the best way to prevent the spread of infection. Proper handwashing significantly reduces the spread of germs. When you wash your hands, you wash away the germs that you may have picked up from other people or from surfaces.

Staff and children need to wash their hands thoroughly and often so that handwashing becomes a lifelong habit.

Perform proper hand hygiene (including assisting children with hand hygiene) especially:

Physical distancing

While it is recognized that physical distancing may be challenging in child care settings, physical distancing of at least 2 meters must be maintained between cohorts and, where possible, should be encouraged between children. Here are some helpful considerations:

Environmental Considerations

Masks and personal protective equipment (PPE)

Masks are not recommended for children, especially those under two years of age.

See Public Health Ontario for information on how to properly wear and take off PPE. 

COVID-19 symptoms in children

If a child develops symptoms at home:

If a child develops symptoms while at a Child Care Centre:

COVID-19 symptoms in staff

If a staff develops symptoms at home:

If a staff develops symptoms while at work:

Close contact definition in child care setting

In the context of child care settings, it is important to apply these definitions conservatively in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Although exceptions may apply, in general the following applies in these settings:

Test results

Those who test negative for COVID must be excluded and self-isolate until 24 hours after symptom resolution. Close contacts can discontinue self-isolation.

Those who test positive for COVID-19 must be excluded from child care centre and self-isolate for 14 days after onset of symptoms and clearance has been received from public health. Close contacts of this person must continue to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms for 14 days from last known exposure and notify public health should symptoms develop.

Public Health will provide further advice about information that should be shared with other staff and parents or guardians in the event there is a case or outbreak of COVID-19 in the child care setting.


Child care centres must immediately report any ill staff or children with COVID-19 symptoms to Public Health Sudbury & Districts by calling 705.522.9200, ext. 301.  Public Health will then provide further direction to the facility.

This item was last modified on October 2, 2020