Information current

May 14, 2021

Keep yourself and others safe: practise the Safe 6 and wear a mask. For medical questions or if you feel ill phone 811 or launch the COVID-19 self-assessment tool.

Guidance for Yukon licensed child care centres, school age programs and family day homes: COVID-19

We've based this guidance on the best evidence that's currently available.

We'll update this guidance as:

  • new evidence arises; or
  • the COVID-19 epidemiology in Yukon significantly changes.

Licensed child care programs should adapt to support public health and infection prevention and control measures. This includes:

  • regular and thorough hand washing; and
  • frequent cleaning and disinfection as described in this guidance.

Find out the current status of COVID-19  in Yukon.

Mask requirements

Who's required to wear non-medical masks

  • Children 5 years and older
  • Staff
  • Parents
  • Visitors

Where they must wear them

The entrances of:

  • child care centres;
  • school age programs; and
  • family day homes.

Who's not required to wear a mask

  • Children under 2 years old should not wear a mask.
  • Children between  2 and 4 years old are encouraged to wear a mask if they're supervised. This will depend on their ability to tolerate it, as well as their ability to put it on and take it off.

For additional information refer to wearing a mask in Yukon during COVID-19.

Safe spacing

Physical distancing and reduced physical contact is challenging to implement in child care settings and may impact early learning in relation to collaboration, sharing and building connections.

The following measures allow for a social and emotional learning environment for children. At the same time, they will help reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19.

Groups and cohorts

  • Put children into groups or cohort as much as possible. This means keeping a group of children and staff together without mixing with other groups of children. This helps reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and facilitates contact tracing if there's a need for it.
    • Groups or cohorts of children should remain consistent as much as possible.
    • The same educator should remain with their assigned group as much as possible.
  • Close contact is permitted within a group or cohort. However, general infection prevention and control practices should still be maintained where possible.

​Student and substitute educators

  • Students in early childhood education training programs doing a field placement to complete their educational requirements will be considered equivalent to the main educator assigned to a group. They should be assigned to work with only 1 group of children during their placement.
  • Substitute educators, including language teachers (i.e. that are not part of a cohort) should adhere to all public health measures, including physical distancing, as developmentally appropriate. Regular pre-COVID activities can be maintained within a cohort of children and their assigned educator.

Other measures that support safe spacing

  • Manage flow and spacing of groups in common areas especially smaller areas such as hallways and bathrooms.
  • Ensure adequate ventilation and open windows if possible.
  • Minimize the number of additional adults entering the child care centre to provide programming, unless that person is critical to the care and/or inclusion of a child in care (e.g. speech language pathologist, child care inspector, etc.). 

Note: The licensing requirement for child-staff ratios must be maintained at all times.

Hand washing and personal practices

Both children and staff can pick up germs easily from anything they touch, and can spread those germs to objects, surfaces, food and people. These germs are transferred to faces through touching of the:

  • nose;
  • mouth; and
  • eyes.

General hand hygience practices

All licensed child care centres and day homes must adhere to the following hand hygiene and personal practices.

  • Thorough hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Staff should be careful not to touch their faces.
  • With children, it's not practical to endeavour to keep them from touching their faces. Instead, we recommend teaching them to keep hands to themselves, off the faces of others as developmentally appropriate.
    • Use positive reinforcement through play to teach these messages.
  • Educators play a key role in helping children wash their hands effectively.
    • Children forget about proper hand washing so staff and children should practice often.
    • Staff should model washing hands properly in a fun and relaxed way.
    • Where possible, children should be supervised when hand washing and assisted if needed.

When to wash hands

Hand washing should be frequent throughout the day and should occur at, but not limited to, the following times.

Children

  • When they arrive at the child care centre/day home and before they go home.
  • After using the washroom.
  • Before eating and drinking.
  • Whenever hands are visibly dirty.
  • After sneezing or coughing into hands.
  • Before and after any transitions (e.g. to another room, indoor-outdoor transitions.).
  • After playing outside or handling pets.

Staff

  • When they arrive at the child care centre/day home and before they go home.
  • After using the washroom.
  • Before handling food or assisting children with eating.
  • Before and after giving or applying medication or ointment to a child or self.
  • After each diaper change.
  • After contact with body fluids (i.e., runny noses, spit, vomit, blood).
  • After cleaning tasks.
  • After removing gloves.
  • After handling garbage.
  • Whenever hands are visibly dirty.
  • Before and after any transitions (e.g. to another room, indoor-outdoor transitions).

Other personal practices to model

We recommend that caregivers model other personal practices such as:

  • using a sleeve or tissue to catch a cough and sneeze (for example, due to seasonal allergies); and
  • staying home when even mildly ill. 

Resources

Posters about practicing hand hygiene are available here:

Frequent cleaning and disinfecting
  • All programs must follow the territorial regulations regarding cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting.
  • General cleaning and disinfecting should occur at a minimum of once a day.

Disinfecting guidance

  • Higher concentration disinfectants are not more effective and may cause irritation.
    • Use disinfectants on surfaces cleaned with soap or detergent and water.
    • Only use disinfectants approved for use in day cares and on recommended surfaces. 

Agent and concentration

Uses

1:100 dilution Chlorine: household bleach – sodium hypochlorite (5.25%)* 10 ml bleach to 990 ml water

Used for disinfecting surfaces (e.g. tables, counters, chairs, hand railings, grab handles, doorknobs, cupboard handles). Make fresh daily and allow surface to air dry naturally.

1:50 dilution Chlorine: household bleach - sodium hypochlorite (5.25%)* 20 ml bleach to 980 ml water

Used for disinfecting surfaces contaminated with bodily fluids and waste like vomit, diarrhea, mucus, or feces (after cleaning with soap and water first). Make fresh daily and allow surface to air dry naturally.

Hydrogen Peroxide 0.5%

(use ready-to-use products or mix concentrated products according to manufacturers recommendations)

Used for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces (e.g. counters, handrails, doorknobs).

Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QUATs): noted as ‘alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chlorides’ on the product label

(use ready-to-use products or mix concentrated products according to manufacturers recommendations)

Used for disinfecting surfaces (e.g. floors, walls, furnishings).

  • Clean and disinfect high touch areas at least 2 a day. This includes:
    • washrooms (toilet handles, faucets);
    • doorknobs;
    • handles;
    • tables;
    • chairs; and
    • toys.

Cleaning food contact surfaces

  • Food contact surfaces must be cleaned with a product safe for food surfaces, or immediately rinsed after disinfection.
  • The recommendation is for use of bleach that is 5.25%.
    • Mix bleach in room temperature, not hot water.
    • Do not mix bleach solutions with any other cleaners or acids as it can create toxic gases. This includes:
      • vinegar;
      • lemon juice;
      • ammonia containing products (for example, Windex);
      • or rubbing alcohol. 

Use of products near children

  • Avoid using cleaners and disinfectants within close proximity to children.
    • Use disinfectants in well-ventilated areas, for example, open windows.
    • Stream instead of mist product onto surfaces to reduce inhalation hazards.

Cleaning of toys and play tables

  • As per Environmental Health Services’ request, porous toys (e.g. wood toys, other toys with porous surfaces, texturing tables with sand or other grains) that are not easily cleaned or properly sanitized must be sanitized following the City of Toronto's Children Services Toy Washing and Disinfecting Policy and Procedures. These include toy washing procedures using a mechanical dishwasher, and also manual cleaning and disinfection procedures for both small toys and larger toys/ equipment.
  • All toys that are plush must be removed and not used in play, including stuffed animals, hand puppets, cloth toys, etc.
  • Change any water in play tables between groups.
    • After use by 1 group, the water must be discarded immediately and the basin should be washed and sanitized.

Cleaning shared staff areas and items

  • Each educator is encouraged to clean and disinfect shared staff areas such as staff bathrooms at least twice a day and objects when they are transferred between staff (for example, phones).

Cleaning after a child is sick

  • If a child becomes sick while at the child care centre, in addition to isolating the child, all items touched or used by the child must be cleaned and disinfected.
When children or staff should stay home

When children should stay home

Parents and guardians should assess their children before bringing them to the child care program. Refer to the “Can my child go to daycare?" information online for up to date information on:

  • when to keep your child home;
  • when your child should be tested for COVID-19; and
  • when they can safely go back to daycare.

If a child is 6 years and older and attending child care, school age or family day home programming refer to the “Can my child go to school?” information online.

When staff should stay home

Staff should assess themselves daily for symptoms. Refer to the “Can I go to work or resume regular activities?” information online.

To help assess symptoms, parents and staff can also use the COVID-19 self-assessment tool or contact a health care provider for additional guidance.

 

What to do when children or staff are sick

Staff

Staff who display symptoms should let their supervisor know and go home right away.

Children

If a child develops symptoms while at the program, please take the following actions:

  1. Isolate the child in a separate room, if possible. If a separate room is not available at that time, keep the child at least two metres away from other children. Educators should wash their hands after contact with the child and avoid contact with the child’s respiratory secretions.
  2. Notify the parents/guardians to come and pick up the child immediately.
  3. All items (toys, bedding, tables, etc.) used by the child should be immediately removed from the reach of any other children and should be sanitized right away. The areas where the child has been should be cleaned and sanitized (e.g. doorknobs, bathrooms, isolation room).

Each program is required to identify a plan for self-isolation, and if possible include a room with a closed door and designated space to hold a sick child. Supervision of children will need to be maintained at all times.

Please contact YCDC at (867) 667-8323, if absenteeism is higher than the expected level (i.e. more than 5 to 10 %) determined by the child care program, and it is thought to be due to a communicable disease such as influenza or a gastrointestinal illness.

Meals and food handling

General guidance

  • Staff and children should wash their hands before and after eating.
  • For children who can manage appropriately, or where type of food is appropriate, encourage use of utensils. This includes food from home and food prepared on-site.
  • Food from home should be stored with the child’s belongings and must not be shared with other children.

Guidance for child care programs that provide food

The following measures are recommended if child care programs provide food to children:

  • All staff handling food must practice diligent hand hygiene and must not work if symptomatic.
  • Children and visitors are prohibited from entering the kitchen.
  • Children are not allowed to prepare food that will be shared with other children and staff.
    • If children are involved in food preparation for individual consumption, ensure they have their own set of cooking equipment and an individual cooking station.
  • All food and snacks should be prepared in individual servings and provided directly to children.
  • Cutlery, napkins and other such items should be provided to children, rather than allowing them to pick out their own items.
  • Remove all shared containers from the dining areas (water/milk pitchers, snack bowls, etc.)
  • Wash dishes according to the 3 sink dishwashing method or use an approved mechanical dishwasher.

 

Outdoor activities
  • Have children outside often, including learning activities, snack time and playtime when possible.
  • Routine cleaning of outdoor spaces is sufficient. Public playgrounds and spaces may be used.
Visitors

Only specific individuals are permitted to enter the program. They must observe physical distancing of 2 metres from all persons except their own children. These include:

  • parent and/or guardians;
  • Child Care Services Unit staff;
  • special staff for learning support, such as speech language pathologists; and
  • instructors evaluating students in early childhood education training programs.

Non-essential visitors and volunteers are not permitted to enter.

Pick-up and drop-off
  • Parents should maintain physical distance from staff and other children present. Remind parents to practice diligent hand hygiene and maintain physical distance when they're in the facility.
    • Parents and caregivers that are ill, even mildly ill, must not enter the child care facility.
  • If possible, stagger the timings of pick-up and drop-off.
  • If there are multiple entrances, pick-up and drop off can be split between separate entrances to avoid parents gathering in large numbers.
  • Reduce contact during sign in/out. If there's a sign-in or sign-out sheet, parents should:
    • use their own pen and avoid touching the sheet directly; or
    • should wash their hands or use an alcohol- based hand sanitizer directly before and after touching the sheet.
Signage
  • Post signs and other visual cues throughout the facility to remind staff, children and parents and guardians to perform hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene (cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing).
  • Post signs to remind individuals not to enter if they're sick, even if their symptoms are mild. You can find COVID-19 posters here
Common questions

What do we know about COVID-19 in children?

  • The COVID-19 virus has a low infection rate in children and youth. Most children and youth are not at high risk for COVID-19 infection.
  • Children and youth typically have much milder symptoms of COVID-19, most often presenting with low-grade fever and a dry cough.
  • Evidence indicates transmission involving children is primarily limited to household settings and from COVID-19 positive adults to children.
  • Clusters and outbreaks involving children and youth are unusual and tend only to occur in areas where there are high levels of community spread.

Should children with allergies stay home?

  • Children with seasonal allergies do NOT need to stay home.
  • If parents are unsure whether symptoms are related to allergies or an infection, the child should stay home as a precaution and the family should contact their health-care provider for medical advice.

Are toys and books safe?

  • As much as possible, use toys and other items that can be easily cleaned throughout the day.
  • Like other respiratory viruses, there's no conclusive evidence that the COVID-19 virus is transmitted via textbooks, paper, or other paper products. Because of this, there's no need to limit the distribution of books or paper-based educational resources to children due to concerns about virus transmission.

If a child lives with a person with confirmed COVID-19, can the child still attend child care?

  • No. People that live with a confirmed COVID-19 patient who's still infectious will have been directed to self-isolate at home.
  • For more information on living with someone with COVID-19, visit the Yukon.ca Self-isolation page.

Are pregnant women at a higher risk for COVID-19? Should they continue to work in child-care settings?

  • Pregnant staff should consult their health-care provider to assess their workplace risk and to determine if they should work.
  • For more information, visit the BCCDC Pregnancy page.

Should staff with underlying health conditions continue to work in child-care settings?

  • People with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and lung disease are at higher risk of developing more severe illness or complications if they acquire COVID-19. The risk of acquiring COVID-19 in Yukon has remained low for some time.
  • Staff with underlying health conditions should consult their health-care provider to assess their risk and to determine if they should work.
  • COVID-19 virus has a low infection rate in children.
  • For more information, visit the BCCDC Vulnerable populations page.

Is it safe for staff who have elderly household members with underlying health conditions to continue to work in child-care settings?

  • Yes. It's safe for child-care staff who have elderly family members or Elders with underlying health conditions living in their house to work in child-care settings.
  • They should follow good infection prevention and control and hand hygiene practices before work and after work, as described in this guidance.

Is there a risk to looking after children of health-care workers who work with COVID-19 patients?

There's no evidence indicating children of health-care workers (HCW) are at increased risk of COVID-19 infection than children of non-HCWs. This is likely due to diligent adherence to infection control practices in health-care settings, careful monitoring of HCWs for symptoms, and follow-up of their household contacts.

Is it safe for a child or staff to attend 2 different child-care settings?

  • Yes. It's safe for children or staff to attend more than 1 child-care setting.
  • Evidence indicates transmission involving children is primarily limited to household settings and from COVID-19 positive adults to children.
  • Children are not the primary drivers of COVID-19 spread in schools or in community settings.

Are child-care providers being prioritized for testing for COVID-19?

  • Anyone with symptoms, however mild, can be assessed by a health-care provider to determine whether testing for COVID-19 is appropriate. If you have no symptoms, testing's not recommended.
  • Use the COVID-19 self-assessment tool to help determine if you need further assessment for COVID-19 testing by a health-care provider.
General guidelines

The usual regulatory requirements for child-care centre, school age program and family day homes continue. These include Yukon Health and Social Services Regulatory Guidelines for Child Care and Family Day Home Programs. The guidelines can be found here.

For more information on COVID-19 and the most up-to-date information on the Yukon situation visit:

Who's required to wear non-medical masks

  • Children 5 years and older
  • Staff
  • Parents
  • Visitors

Where they must wear them

The entrances of:

  • child care centres;
  • school age programs; and
  • family day homes.

Who's not required to wear a mask

  • Children under 2 years old should not wear a mask.
  • Children between  2 and 4 years old are encouraged to wear a mask if they're supervised. This will depend on their ability to tolerate it, as well as their ability to put it on and take it off.

For additional information refer to wearing a mask in Yukon during COVID-19.

Physical distancing and reduced physical contact is challenging to implement in child care settings and may impact early learning in relation to collaboration, sharing and building connections.

The following measures allow for a social and emotional learning environment for children. At the same time, they will help reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19.

Groups and cohorts

  • Put children into groups or cohort as much as possible. This means keeping a group of children and staff together without mixing with other groups of children. This helps reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and facilitates contact tracing if there's a need for it.
    • Groups or cohorts of children should remain consistent as much as possible.
    • The same educator should remain with their assigned group as much as possible.
  • Close contact is permitted within a group or cohort. However, general infection prevention and control practices should still be maintained where possible.

​Student and substitute educators

  • Students in early childhood education training programs doing a field placement to complete their educational requirements will be considered equivalent to the main educator assigned to a group. They should be assigned to work with only 1 group of children during their placement.
  • Substitute educators, including language teachers (i.e. that are not part of a cohort) should adhere to all public health measures, including physical distancing, as developmentally appropriate. Regular pre-COVID activities can be maintained within a cohort of children and their assigned educator.

Other measures that support safe spacing

  • Manage flow and spacing of groups in common areas especially smaller areas such as hallways and bathrooms.
  • Ensure adequate ventilation and open windows if possible.
  • Minimize the number of additional adults entering the child care centre to provide programming, unless that person is critical to the care and/or inclusion of a child in care (e.g. speech language pathologist, child care inspector, etc.). 

Note: The licensing requirement for child-staff ratios must be maintained at all times.

Both children and staff can pick up germs easily from anything they touch, and can spread those germs to objects, surfaces, food and people. These germs are transferred to faces through touching of the:

  • nose;
  • mouth; and
  • eyes.

General hand hygience practices

All licensed child care centres and day homes must adhere to the following hand hygiene and personal practices.

  • Thorough hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Staff should be careful not to touch their faces.
  • With children, it's not practical to endeavour to keep them from touching their faces. Instead, we recommend teaching them to keep hands to themselves, off the faces of others as developmentally appropriate.
    • Use positive reinforcement through play to teach these messages.
  • Educators play a key role in helping children wash their hands effectively.
    • Children forget about proper hand washing so staff and children should practice often.
    • Staff should model washing hands properly in a fun and relaxed way.
    • Where possible, children should be supervised when hand washing and assisted if needed.

When to wash hands

Hand washing should be frequent throughout the day and should occur at, but not limited to, the following times.

Children

  • When they arrive at the child care centre/day home and before they go home.
  • After using the washroom.
  • Before eating and drinking.
  • Whenever hands are visibly dirty.
  • After sneezing or coughing into hands.
  • Before and after any transitions (e.g. to another room, indoor-outdoor transitions.).
  • After playing outside or handling pets.

Staff

  • When they arrive at the child care centre/day home and before they go home.
  • After using the washroom.
  • Before handling food or assisting children with eating.
  • Before and after giving or applying medication or ointment to a child or self.
  • After each diaper change.
  • After contact with body fluids (i.e., runny noses, spit, vomit, blood).
  • After cleaning tasks.
  • After removing gloves.
  • After handling garbage.
  • Whenever hands are visibly dirty.
  • Before and after any transitions (e.g. to another room, indoor-outdoor transitions).

Other personal practices to model

We recommend that caregivers model other personal practices such as:

  • using a sleeve or tissue to catch a cough and sneeze (for example, due to seasonal allergies); and
  • staying home when even mildly ill. 

Resources

Posters about practicing hand hygiene are available here:

  • All programs must follow the territorial regulations regarding cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting.
  • General cleaning and disinfecting should occur at a minimum of once a day.

Disinfecting guidance

  • Higher concentration disinfectants are not more effective and may cause irritation.
    • Use disinfectants on surfaces cleaned with soap or detergent and water.
    • Only use disinfectants approved for use in day cares and on recommended surfaces. 

Agent and concentration

Uses

1:100 dilution Chlorine: household bleach – sodium hypochlorite (5.25%)* 10 ml bleach to 990 ml water

Used for disinfecting surfaces (e.g. tables, counters, chairs, hand railings, grab handles, doorknobs, cupboard handles). Make fresh daily and allow surface to air dry naturally.

1:50 dilution Chlorine: household bleach - sodium hypochlorite (5.25%)* 20 ml bleach to 980 ml water

Used for disinfecting surfaces contaminated with bodily fluids and waste like vomit, diarrhea, mucus, or feces (after cleaning with soap and water first). Make fresh daily and allow surface to air dry naturally.

Hydrogen Peroxide 0.5%

(use ready-to-use products or mix concentrated products according to manufacturers recommendations)

Used for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces (e.g. counters, handrails, doorknobs).

Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QUATs): noted as ‘alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chlorides’ on the product label

(use ready-to-use products or mix concentrated products according to manufacturers recommendations)

Used for disinfecting surfaces (e.g. floors, walls, furnishings).

  • Clean and disinfect high touch areas at least 2 a day. This includes:
    • washrooms (toilet handles, faucets);
    • doorknobs;
    • handles;
    • tables;
    • chairs; and
    • toys.

Cleaning food contact surfaces

  • Food contact surfaces must be cleaned with a product safe for food surfaces, or immediately rinsed after disinfection.
  • The recommendation is for use of bleach that is 5.25%.
    • Mix bleach in room temperature, not hot water.
    • Do not mix bleach solutions with any other cleaners or acids as it can create toxic gases. This includes:
      • vinegar;
      • lemon juice;
      • ammonia containing products (for example, Windex);
      • or rubbing alcohol. 

Use of products near children

  • Avoid using cleaners and disinfectants within close proximity to children.
    • Use disinfectants in well-ventilated areas, for example, open windows.
    • Stream instead of mist product onto surfaces to reduce inhalation hazards.

Cleaning of toys and play tables

  • As per Environmental Health Services’ request, porous toys (e.g. wood toys, other toys with porous surfaces, texturing tables with sand or other grains) that are not easily cleaned or properly sanitized must be sanitized following the City of Toronto's Children Services Toy Washing and Disinfecting Policy and Procedures. These include toy washing procedures using a mechanical dishwasher, and also manual cleaning and disinfection procedures for both small toys and larger toys/ equipment.
  • All toys that are plush must be removed and not used in play, including stuffed animals, hand puppets, cloth toys, etc.
  • Change any water in play tables between groups.
    • After use by 1 group, the water must be discarded immediately and the basin should be washed and sanitized.

Cleaning shared staff areas and items

  • Each educator is encouraged to clean and disinfect shared staff areas such as staff bathrooms at least twice a day and objects when they are transferred between staff (for example, phones).

Cleaning after a child is sick

  • If a child becomes sick while at the child care centre, in addition to isolating the child, all items touched or used by the child must be cleaned and disinfected.

When children should stay home

Parents and guardians should assess their children before bringing them to the child care program. Refer to the “Can my child go to daycare?" information online for up to date information on:

  • when to keep your child home;
  • when your child should be tested for COVID-19; and
  • when they can safely go back to daycare.

If a child is 6 years and older and attending child care, school age or family day home programming refer to the “Can my child go to school?” information online.

When staff should stay home

Staff should assess themselves daily for symptoms. Refer to the “Can I go to work or resume regular activities?” information online.

To help assess symptoms, parents and staff can also use the COVID-19 self-assessment tool or contact a health care provider for additional guidance.

 

Staff

Staff who display symptoms should let their supervisor know and go home right away.

Children

If a child develops symptoms while at the program, please take the following actions:

  1. Isolate the child in a separate room, if possible. If a separate room is not available at that time, keep the child at least two metres away from other children. Educators should wash their hands after contact with the child and avoid contact with the child’s respiratory secretions.
  2. Notify the parents/guardians to come and pick up the child immediately.
  3. All items (toys, bedding, tables, etc.) used by the child should be immediately removed from the reach of any other children and should be sanitized right away. The areas where the child has been should be cleaned and sanitized (e.g. doorknobs, bathrooms, isolation room).

Each program is required to identify a plan for self-isolation, and if possible include a room with a closed door and designated space to hold a sick child. Supervision of children will need to be maintained at all times.

Please contact YCDC at (867) 667-8323, if absenteeism is higher than the expected level (i.e. more than 5 to 10 %) determined by the child care program, and it is thought to be due to a communicable disease such as influenza or a gastrointestinal illness.

General guidance

  • Staff and children should wash their hands before and after eating.
  • For children who can manage appropriately, or where type of food is appropriate, encourage use of utensils. This includes food from home and food prepared on-site.
  • Food from home should be stored with the child’s belongings and must not be shared with other children.

Guidance for child care programs that provide food

The following measures are recommended if child care programs provide food to children:

  • All staff handling food must practice diligent hand hygiene and must not work if symptomatic.
  • Children and visitors are prohibited from entering the kitchen.
  • Children are not allowed to prepare food that will be shared with other children and staff.
    • If children are involved in food preparation for individual consumption, ensure they have their own set of cooking equipment and an individual cooking station.
  • All food and snacks should be prepared in individual servings and provided directly to children.
  • Cutlery, napkins and other such items should be provided to children, rather than allowing them to pick out their own items.
  • Remove all shared containers from the dining areas (water/milk pitchers, snack bowls, etc.)
  • Wash dishes according to the 3 sink dishwashing method or use an approved mechanical dishwasher.

 

  • Have children outside often, including learning activities, snack time and playtime when possible.
  • Routine cleaning of outdoor spaces is sufficient. Public playgrounds and spaces may be used.

Only specific individuals are permitted to enter the program. They must observe physical distancing of 2 metres from all persons except their own children. These include:

  • parent and/or guardians;
  • Child Care Services Unit staff;
  • special staff for learning support, such as speech language pathologists; and
  • instructors evaluating students in early childhood education training programs.

Non-essential visitors and volunteers are not permitted to enter.

  • Parents should maintain physical distance from staff and other children present. Remind parents to practice diligent hand hygiene and maintain physical distance when they're in the facility.
    • Parents and caregivers that are ill, even mildly ill, must not enter the child care facility.
  • If possible, stagger the timings of pick-up and drop-off.
  • If there are multiple entrances, pick-up and drop off can be split between separate entrances to avoid parents gathering in large numbers.
  • Reduce contact during sign in/out. If there's a sign-in or sign-out sheet, parents should:
    • use their own pen and avoid touching the sheet directly; or
    • should wash their hands or use an alcohol- based hand sanitizer directly before and after touching the sheet.

  • Post signs and other visual cues throughout the facility to remind staff, children and parents and guardians to perform hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene (cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing).
  • Post signs to remind individuals not to enter if they're sick, even if their symptoms are mild. You can find COVID-19 posters here

What do we know about COVID-19 in children?

  • The COVID-19 virus has a low infection rate in children and youth. Most children and youth are not at high risk for COVID-19 infection.
  • Children and youth typically have much milder symptoms of COVID-19, most often presenting with low-grade fever and a dry cough.
  • Evidence indicates transmission involving children is primarily limited to household settings and from COVID-19 positive adults to children.
  • Clusters and outbreaks involving children and youth are unusual and tend only to occur in areas where there are high levels of community spread.

Should children with allergies stay home?

  • Children with seasonal allergies do NOT need to stay home.
  • If parents are unsure whether symptoms are related to allergies or an infection, the child should stay home as a precaution and the family should contact their health-care provider for medical advice.

Are toys and books safe?

  • As much as possible, use toys and other items that can be easily cleaned throughout the day.
  • Like other respiratory viruses, there's no conclusive evidence that the COVID-19 virus is transmitted via textbooks, paper, or other paper products. Because of this, there's no need to limit the distribution of books or paper-based educational resources to children due to concerns about virus transmission.

If a child lives with a person with confirmed COVID-19, can the child still attend child care?

  • No. People that live with a confirmed COVID-19 patient who's still infectious will have been directed to self-isolate at home.
  • For more information on living with someone with COVID-19, visit the Yukon.ca Self-isolation page.

Are pregnant women at a higher risk for COVID-19? Should they continue to work in child-care settings?

  • Pregnant staff should consult their health-care provider to assess their workplace risk and to determine if they should work.
  • For more information, visit the BCCDC Pregnancy page.

Should staff with underlying health conditions continue to work in child-care settings?

  • People with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and lung disease are at higher risk of developing more severe illness or complications if they acquire COVID-19. The risk of acquiring COVID-19 in Yukon has remained low for some time.
  • Staff with underlying health conditions should consult their health-care provider to assess their risk and to determine if they should work.
  • COVID-19 virus has a low infection rate in children.
  • For more information, visit the BCCDC Vulnerable populations page.

Is it safe for staff who have elderly household members with underlying health conditions to continue to work in child-care settings?

  • Yes. It's safe for child-care staff who have elderly family members or Elders with underlying health conditions living in their house to work in child-care settings.
  • They should follow good infection prevention and control and hand hygiene practices before work and after work, as described in this guidance.

Is there a risk to looking after children of health-care workers who work with COVID-19 patients?

There's no evidence indicating children of health-care workers (HCW) are at increased risk of COVID-19 infection than children of non-HCWs. This is likely due to diligent adherence to infection control practices in health-care settings, careful monitoring of HCWs for symptoms, and follow-up of their household contacts.

Is it safe for a child or staff to attend 2 different child-care settings?

  • Yes. It's safe for children or staff to attend more than 1 child-care setting.
  • Evidence indicates transmission involving children is primarily limited to household settings and from COVID-19 positive adults to children.
  • Children are not the primary drivers of COVID-19 spread in schools or in community settings.

Are child-care providers being prioritized for testing for COVID-19?

  • Anyone with symptoms, however mild, can be assessed by a health-care provider to determine whether testing for COVID-19 is appropriate. If you have no symptoms, testing's not recommended.
  • Use the COVID-19 self-assessment tool to help determine if you need further assessment for COVID-19 testing by a health-care provider.

The usual regulatory requirements for child-care centre, school age program and family day homes continue. These include Yukon Health and Social Services Regulatory Guidelines for Child Care and Family Day Home Programs. The guidelines can be found here.

For more information on COVID-19 and the most up-to-date information on the Yukon situation visit: