Child Care Resources
Responding to COVID-19 in your child care center
Child care facilities are an essential part of our economy and families’ lives. Decisions about how to respond to COVID-19 in child care facilities should be made in order to keep these businesses open and protect both the immediate and long-term health and safety of the children and employees.
This manual is intended for facilities and programs that provide child care including:
- Licensed centers
- Licensed hourly centers
- Licensed out-of-school time programs
- Licensed commercial preschool programs
- Licensed family providers
- Licensed exempt (LE) Department of Workforce Services (DWS) Family, Friend, and Neighbor providers
- Licensed exempt DWS providers
- Licensed exempt providers
- Child care licensing registered providers
Example scenarios for child care facilities
- An employee is exposed to a coworker who tests positive for COVID-19.
- A group of children are exposed to a child care worker who tests positive for COVID-19.
- A child lives with someone who tests positive for COVID-19.
- An employee lives with someone who is quarantined.
- An employee is exposed to someone in her personal life who tests positive for COVID-19.
- An employee who already had COVID-19 in the last 90 days is exposed again.
- An employee had COVID-19 more than 90 days ago and is exposed again.
- An employee is fully vaccinated and exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19.
- An employee is not vaccinated and exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19.
What happens if a child or employee tests positive for COVID-19?
You should isolate right away if you test positive for COVID-19. This means to stay at home except to get medical care. You should not come to the child care facility or work.
If you’ve tested positive, you should isolate until you have been:
- Fever-free for 24 hours, and
- Your respiratory symptoms have improved for 24 hours, and
- It has been at least 10 days since you first got sick.
- If you did not have symptoms, you should isolate for 10 days from the day you were tested.
What happens if a child or employee is exposed to someone with COVID-19?
Close contact1 means a person was closer than 6 feet or 2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from someone who tested positive for COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or longer within a 24-hour period.2 You may also have a close contact exposure if:
- You cared for someone at home who is sick with COVID-19.
- You had direct physical contact with the person who has COVID-19 (hugged or kissed them).
- You shared eating or drinking utensils with the person who has COVID-19.
- The person who has COVID-19 sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you.
If you have not been fully vaccinated and were in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 up to 2 days before he or she had symptoms, you were exposed to the virus and should quarantine. Even if the person who has COVID-19 did not have any symptoms, he or she is infectious up to 2 days before they were tested.
How long do children and employees have to quarantine?
These guidelines do not apply to children and employees who are living with someone who is positive for COVID-19.
You may end quarantine:
- On day 10 without testing. If you don’t have symptoms of COVID-19, you can end quarantine 10 days after the last time you had close contact with the person who tested positive.
- On day 7 with a negative test result. You can get tested on day 7 of your quarantine. You can end quarantine if your test is negative and you do not have any symptoms of COVID-19. You must wait at least 7 days after your exposure to be tested. The test can be a PCR or rapid antigen test. You must continue to quarantine until you get your test results back.
- These recommendations DO NOT apply to people who are fully vaccinated, living with someone who has COVID-19, or living in a congregate care setting (like a long term care facility, correctional facility, or group home).
Anyone who was exposed to the virus needs to watch for symptoms until it has been 14 days since they were last exposed, even if they have returned to work.
It is important to keep checking for symptoms and take extra safety precautions found on page 5. There is a small chance you can still get COVID-19. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you need to isolate at home, call your healthcare provider, and may need to get tested again.
If a child or employee lives with someone who tests positive for COVID-19, how long does he or she have to quarantine?
Children and employees who live with someone who tests positive for COVID-19, are called a household contact. Household contacts are at a much higher risk of getting infected with the virus.
Children and employees who are a household contact should quarantine for 10 days from the last day of exposure to the person who tested positive. They must finish the entire 10-day quarantine, even if they do not have symptoms or test negative. They may not end quarantine before 10 days.
It can be very hard to stay isolated from people who have COVID-19 and live in your home. People who are living with a person who tests positive for COVID-19 may have ongoing exposures and may need to quarantine longer than 10 days. Every time a household contact comes into close contact with a person who is positive while they are infectious, his or her quarantine starts over.
What happens if children or employees are exposed to COVID-19 after testing positive?3
If you are exposed to COVID-19 again (a new exposure) within 90 days of testing positive for COVID-19 and do not have symptoms of COVID-19, you don’t need to quarantine or be tested again during this 90-day timeframe.
You should follow these guidelines for 14 days from the date of your last exposure:
- Take your temperature before care or work.
- Check for symptoms of COVID-19 every day.
- When feasible, wear a face mask when you are at child care, work, or around people you don’t
- If you get sick or have symptoms of COVID-19, isolate for at least 10 days after your symptoms start and call a doctor or healthcare provider to find out if you should get tested for COVID-19 again.
If you are exposed to COVID-19 again (a new exposure) and it has been more than 90 days since you tested positive for COVID-19, you should quarantine and get tested again.. If you get sick or have symptoms while on quarantine, isolate and call a doctor or healthcare provider. However, you may meet the criteria to end quarantine.
Safety precautions for people who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19
- Check for symptoms of COVID-19 every day, including taking your temperature if possible. If you do not have a thermometer, check your skin to see if it feels warm or looks red. A helpful booklet called, “What to do if you are on quarantine or self-isolation,” can be downloaded at https://coronavirus.utah.gov/protect-yourself/.
- Stay home and away from other people as much as possible. Do not go to school, work, extracurricular activities, religious services, family gatherings, or other activities until your quarantine is over.
- Wear a cloth face covering or mask if you need to leave your home for essential errands like getting groceries or to get medical care. Only leave your home if you have to.
- Limit the number of visitors to your home. This is especially important if you or someone you live with is at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- Clean surfaces that are touched often (phones, doorknobs, light switches, toilet handles, sink handles, countertops, and anything metal).
- Wash hands with soap and water often. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.
- Open the windows as much as you can to improve the ventilation and increase air exchanges in rooms.
- Do not share food or utensils with other people.
- Do not share personal items like a toothbrush with other people.
Recommendations From Child Care Licensing (CCL)
About Face Masks For Utah Child Care
It is important to understand that many people, including children, may have COVID-19 without showing any symptoms, and that wearing cloth face coverings reduces the chance of transmitting the virus through the spray of respiratory droplets. It is also crucial to recognize that facial expressions and lip movements during child care interactions are an important part of children’s development, so adaptations should be allowed to address children’s needs without compromising the general health of the public.Therefore, due to the serious current public health circumstances and the potential lethal consequences of COVID-19, the benefits of wearing face masks in child care have to be taken seriously.
Please know that wearing a face mask is not the only way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Small groups of children, constant hand washing, keeping physical distance when possible, proper sanitation practices, screening for symptoms, not allowing symptomatic individuals in the facility, and constant hygiene education are also essential to make sure child care facilities can continue to operate safely. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have determined that the practice of “cohorting” groups of children and caregivers is a very effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in child care settings. “Cohorting” means keeping groups of children and their caregivers together throughout as much of the day as possible and not intermixing the groups. (Read more from CDC)
- Staff who have direct contact with parents or the public, such as front desk workers, should be required to wear face masks while working. Also, staff who “float” between classrooms, such as those used to give breaks to caregivers, should also be required to wear face masks.
- Every child two years old and older and each staff member should wear a face mask as they arrive to their classroom and when in public settings. They should be encouraged to wear a mask throughout the day as circumstances allow.
- Face masks should NOT be worn by children younger than two, anyone who has trouble breathing, sleeping children, and anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated, or unable to remove a mask without assistance.
- Consider special precautions and adaptations for children and staff with severe cognitive or respiratory impairments and those who are immunocompromised.
- Face shields may be a temporary alternative for situations in which intentional facial expressions are needed to allow for developmentally appropriate communication with children. However, face shields are not a substitute for masks. Those who choose to wear a face shield should also wear a mask.
- Child care providers must be in compliance with each applicable local law and ordinance in order to remain open.
Get more information about:
- Everyone must help to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in child care facilities
- What do we know about how COVID-19 is spread?
- What do we know about COVID-19 and children?
- Some children and employees may be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19
- What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?
- Safety precautions for people who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19
- If a child or employee tests positive for COVID-19, do I need to shut down my child care facility?
- Children and employees who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate
- Probable cases for COVID-19
- Children and employees who are exposed to COVID-19 should quarantine
- Wearing face masks will reduce the spread of COVID-19 in child care facilities and the number of children and employees on quarantine
- Do the quarantine guidelines change if someone is vaccinated?
- What happens if children or employees are exposed to COVID-19 after testing positive?
- How do COVID-19 vaccinations affect quarantine and isolation guidelines?
- Do people still need to quarantine if they are exposed to COVID-19 after being vaccinated?
- Do people still need to get tested if they develop symptoms of COVID-19 after being vaccinated?
- Do people still need to isolate if they test positive for COVID-19 after being vaccinated?
- Is there a law that requires me to give the health department information about children or employees who may have been exposed to or tested positive for COVID-19?
- You may be asked to do your own contact tracing
- How do I protect confidentiality during contact tracing?
- What does a close contact mean?
- Child care facilities may need to determine close contact exposures
- Understanding the date of exposure
- How to determine when someone can end quarantine
- Children and employees with symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested
- Is COVID-19 testing free?
- What are the types of COVID-19 tests?
- Testing for COVID-19 is most accurate when someone has symptoms
- What is the difference between cleaning and disinfecting?
- Cleaning tips for child care facilities
- Cleaning products
- How to clean different surfaces
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) for cleaning staff
- Cleaning after a positive case of COVID-19
- Prepare your child care facility
- Engineering and ventilation controls
- Find risks in your facility
- What is a COVID-19 hazard?
- The 4 health behaviors everyone should practice in your child care facility
- Creating a hazard assessment for your facility
- Cafeterias and food services
- Drop off and pick up
- Face masks
- Hygiene practices and symptom checking
- Recess and playground
- Symptom checking
- Visitors, volunteers, and non-regular employees
Visit Parent FAQs for:
Child Care Options: Options for your family including where to find child care, whether you should send your child to child care, and what to do if your child’s child care facility has closed.
Child Care Assistance (Subsidies): Eligibility requirements and information on the state’s existing child care subsidy program, including how to change providers and eligibility for part-time and full-time care.
Safety Measures: Answers to safety questions, such as:
- Can I trust emergency child care programs?
- Is the government shutting down facilities with more than 10 children?
- What practices are in place to protect the health of my child?
- Can I send my healthy children to child care if a family member is confirmed to have COVID-19?
Visit Business FAQs for:
Establishing Temporary Child Care Services for Employees: The rules, responsibilities and laws regarding the establishment of child care services by a business, including contact information for Utah Child Care Licensing. Information is also included about health and safety requirements, available resources.
Resources for employees to Address Child Care NeedsRESOURCES FOR EMPLOYEES TO ADDRESS CHILD CARE NEEDS: Information employers can pass on to employees regarding child care needs following school or child care program closures.