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

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.

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.

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.

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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.

1  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.html

2  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/contact-tracing/contact-tracing-plan/appendix.html#contact

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What you should do if you are exposed to COVID-19:

If you have never had a COVID-19 vaccine:


Quarantine at home and get tested for 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:


Quarantine at home and get tested for COVID-19.

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:


Quarantine at home and get tested for COVID-19.

How long do children and employees have to quarantine?

You may end quarantine:

  • 10 days after your exposure if you don’t get tested and don’t have symptoms. 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.
  • 7 days after your exposure if you have a negative test result. You can get tested on day 7. 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.
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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.

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 at home for 10 days from the last day of exposure to the person who tested positive, unless they are fully vaccinated or tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 180 days. They must finish the entire 10-day quarantine, even if they do not have symptoms or test negative.

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.

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What happens if children or employees are exposed to COVID-19 after testing positive?

If it has been less than 180 days (about 6 months) since you tested positive for COVID-19, you don’t have to quarantine again. We know there is a chance people can get re-infected. 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 because 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 between 90-180 days (3-6 months) since you tested positive, you should get tested again 5-7 days after your exposure.

You should follow these guidelines for 14 days from the date of your last exposure:

  • Check for symptoms of COVID-19 every day.
  • Wear a face 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.


Do these guidelines change if someone is vaccinated?

You are considered fully vaccinated if it has been 2 weeks since your final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Fully vaccinated people do not need to quarantine and can continue to go to work, school, and participate in events. Children ages 5 and older can now get vaccinated against COVID-19. We know there is a chance vaccinated people can get COVID-19 (called a breakthrough case) and pass the virus to other people, so to be very safe we suggest vaccinated people get a COVID-19 test 5-7 days after they were exposed.

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. Only leave your home if you have to.
  • Wear a face mask around other people or if you need to leave your home for medical care.
  • 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.
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Recommendations From Child Care Licensing (CCL)
About Face Masks For Utah Child Care

Published (8/13/2020)

Download PDF

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)

Recommendations:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Consider special precautions and adaptations for children and staff with severe cognitive or respiratory impairments and those who are immunocompromised.
  5. 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.
  6. Child care providers must be in compliance with each applicable local law and ordinance in order to remain open.

Important links

Coronavirus.utah.gov
CDC – Considerations for Wearing Masks
Utah health guidance levels
CCL Phase 3 – Emergency Conditions for Child Care

Get more information about:


Why is it important to keep child care facilities open?

Keeping your facility open if a child or employee is exposed to or tests positive for COVID-19

COVID-19 vaccines

Case investigations and contact tracing



Parents

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 Parent FAQs

Businesses

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.

Businesses FAQs