Child Care Resources
The CDC Community Levels can help child care providers make decisions about when to recommend employees and children wear masks. If your community is at a "high" level, it's recommended to wear masks indoors.
Confused about the new quarantine and isolation guidelines? Learn how long you need to stay home after testing positive or being exposed to COVID-19.
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:
- Hourly centers
- Out-of-school time programs
- Commercial preschools
- Licensed family
- Licensed exempt (LE) Department of Workforce Services (DWS) approved programs
- Family, friend, and neighbor (FFN) DWS approved homes
- Residential certificate facilities
- Other child care facilities Facilities exempt from child care licensing
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 was exposed to COVID-19.
- An employee is exposed to someone in her personal life who tests positive for COVID-19.
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
What you should do if you are exposed to COVID-19:
If you are partially vaccinated. This means it
has been less than 2 weeks since your final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine:
If you are fully vaccinated. This means it has been at least 2 weeks since your final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine:
Get tested for COVID-19. You don’t have to quarantine at home but you should wear a mask around other people for 10 days after your exposure. Isolate at home and get tested again if you get symptoms of COVID-19 within the 2 weeks after your exposure.
If it’s been less than 180 days since you tested positive for COVID-19:
You don’t have to quarantine at home but you should wear a mask around other people for 10 days after your exposure. Isolate at home if you get symptoms of COVID-19 within the 2 weeks after your exposure. The CDC and Utah Department of Health recommends you not get tested again if it’s been less than 90 days (about 3 months) since you first tested positive for COVID-19. However, if it’s been between 90-180 days (3-6 months) since you tested positive, you should get tested again.
If it’s been more than 180 days since you tested positive for COVID-19:
How long do children and employees need to stay home if they test positive for COVID-19?
Stay home if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive, even if you are vaccinated or had COVID before. Stay at home except to get medical care. You should not come to the child care facility, work, travel, or go to other activities or gatherings.
If you have symptoms, stay home until:
- You have been fever-free for 24 hours without using medicine to lower your fever,
- Your symptoms have improved for 24 hours,
- It has been at least 5 days from the day you were tested. The day you test positive is called day 0. Stay home until it has been 5 full days after you test positive (days 1-5). You must stay home for at least 5 days.
You may need to stay at home longer than 5 days if your symptoms have not gotten better. Some symptoms, like losing your sense of taste or smell, can last for weeks or months even though you are no longer infectious and don’t need to stay home anymore. Learn more here.
Wear a well-fitting mask around others and in public for another 5 more days after you end your isolation at home.
If you never had symptoms, stay home until:
- It has been at least 5 days since the day you were tested. The day you test positive is called day 0. Stay home until it has been 5 full days after you test positive (days 1-5). You must stay home for at least 5 days.
If you get sick or develop symptoms, your 5-day isolation at home starts over. Learn more here.
Wear a well-fitting mask around others and in public for another 5 more days after you end your isolation at home.
You are infectious and can spread the virus to others starting up to 2 days before you first had symptoms until your isolation period is over. If you never had symptoms, you are infectious starting 2 days before the day you were tested for COVID-19. Anyone who came into close contact with you during this time is exposed.
How long do children and employees need to stay home after being exposed to COVID-19?
Everyone needs to wear a well-fitting mask around other people for 10 days after they are exposed to someone with COVID-19.
Some people may also need to quarantine at home for 5 days. You don’t need to quarantine at home if you tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days (about 3 months). You also don’t need to quarantine at home if you are up-to-date with your COVID-19 vaccinations. This means you’ve had:
- A booster dose of any COVID-19 vaccine, or
- A 2nd dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in the last 5 months, or
- A Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in the last 2 months.
- Children younger than 18 are considered up-to-date if they’ve had 2 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. A booster dose is not included in the definition of up-to-date yet for children.
You need to quarantine at home for 5 days if:
- You are unvaccinated. This means you haven’t had any doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
- You are not up-to-date with your COVID-19 vaccinations.
- It’s been more than 90 days since you tested positive for COVID-19 and you’re not up-to-date with your vaccinations.
If you can’t wear a mask after being exposed or after ending a 5-day quarantine at home, the CDC recommends you stay at home for 10 days instead of 5.
We also recommend you get tested 5 days after your last close contact with the person who has COVID-19 to make sure you’re not possibly spreading the virus to others. If you test positive or develop symptoms, isolate at home right away. If it’s been less than 90 days (about 3 months) since you first tested positive for COVID-19 and you don’t have any new symptoms, you don’t need to get tested again during this 90-day timeframe.
Watch for symptoms of COVID-19 and get tested if you get sick. It is important to keep checking for symptoms and take extra safety precautions.
If a child or employee lives with someone who tests positive for COVID-19, how long does he or she have to quarantine?
People who live with someone who has COVID-19 are called household contacts. Household contacts are at a much higher risk of getting infected with the virus.
You will need to quarantine at home for at least 5 days if you live with someone who has COVID-19 and you are unvaccinated, or not up-to-date with your COVID-19 vaccinations, or it’s been more than 90 days since you had COVID-19. It can be very hard to stay away from people who have COVID-19 and live in your home. This means you may need to quarantine at home longer than 5 days if you can’t stay away from the person who has COVID-19. Every time you come into close contact with the person who tested positive while they are still in isolation, your quarantine starts over.
Keep yourself and others in the house safe by wearing a mask around the person who has COVID-19. Get tested if you get sick or have symptoms.
Do children or employees have to quarantine at home if they’ve already had COVID-19?
If it has been less than 90 days (about 3 months) since you tested positive for COVID-19, you don’t have to quarantine at home. The CDC and Utah Department of Health recommends you not get tested if it’s been less than 90 days (about 3 months) since you first tested positive for COVID-19, as long as you don’t have new or worsening symptoms. Call a doctor to see if you may have gotten reinfected if you have new or worse symptoms during this 90-day timeframe. We know there is a small chance you could get reinfected with COVID. Some people will continue to test positive even though they are no longer able to spread the virus to others. However, if it’s been more than 90 days since you tested positive and you are not up-to-date with your COVID-19 vaccinations, you need to quarantine at home and get tested 5 days after your exposure.
You should follow these guidelines for 10 days from the date of your last exposure:
- Check for symptoms of COVID-19 every day.
- Wear a well-fitting mask when you are around people you don’t live with.
- If you get sick or have symptoms of COVID-19, isolate and call a doctor or healthcare provider to determine if you should get tested for COVID-19 again.
Take these safety precautions after being exposed to COVID-19
- Limit the number of visitors to your home while you are in quarantine.
- Wear a mask around others. It’s important to wear a mask in public and around others until it has been 10 days since you were exposed to COVID-19. Avoid going to places where it is hard to wear a mask during these 10 days, such as a gym or restaurant.
- Check for symptoms of COVID-19 every day for 10 days after your exposure, including taking your temperature if possible. A helpful booklet called, “What to do if you are in quarantine or isolation” can help you know how to check your symptoms and what to do. Get tested right away if you have symptoms of COVID-19 during quarantine.
- Get tested at least 5 days after you last had close contact with the person who has COVID-19. If you test negative, you can leave your home as long as you wear a mask around others. If you test positive, isolate at home.
- Stay away from people who are immunocompromised or at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19. You should not visit a long-term care facility, nursing home, or other high risk setting until it has been at least 10 days since you were exposed to COVID-19.
- Don’t travel until your quarantine is over. Get tested at least 5 days after you were exposed and make sure your test result is negative before traveling. Don’t travel if you have symptoms of COVID-19. Wear a mask around others if you travel.
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:
Why is it important to keep child care facilities open?
- 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
Keeping your facility open if a child or employee is exposed to or tests positive for COVID-19
- What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?
- Take safety precautions after being exposed to COVID-19
- If a child or employee tests positive for COVID-19, do I need to shut down my child care facility?
- Probable cases for COVID-19
- Do children and employees need to stay home after testing positive or being exposed to COVID-19?
- Do children and employees need to quarantine at home if they are living with someone who has COVID-19?
- Are my employees required to get vaccinated?
- Do children and employees still need to stay home if they test positive for COVID-19 after being vaccinated?
Case investigations and contact tracing
- 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 needs to take precautions (wearing a mask, getting tested) after being exposed to COVID-19
- Children and employees with symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home and get tested
- Testing for COVID-19 is most accurate when someone has symptoms
- Children and employees who are exposed to COVID-19 should get tested
- Is COVID-19 testing free?
- What are the types of COVID-19 tests?
- What is the difference between cleaning, sanitizing 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
- Engineering and ventilation controls
- Face masks
- Hygiene practices and symptom checking
- Symptom checking
Considerations for child care facilities as employers
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.