Licensed Child Care Centres Directive

Licensed child care centres can operate under the directive of the Chief Public Health Officer.

Phase 4 - June 26

Child care centres within close proximity to a vulnerable population (e.g. community care facilities) will be permitted to operate, provided they can operate independently.

The centre will be required to close if either a child or staff member tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), or any other imminent health hazard, at the discretion of a public health official. 

Child care centres, just like any other businesses, services, or organizations on PEI, are going to need to modify their operation in light of COVID-19 and will be required to create an operational plan demonstrating how they will reduce the risk. 

Measures required by all businesses, services, and organizations include:

  • Develop and follow an operational plan detailing how risk of transmission of disease will be mitigated.
  • Take every reasonable step to ensure minimal interaction of people (including employees and/or children) within two metres (6 feet) of each other.
  • Take every reasonable step required to prevent employees and children who are required to self-isolate from entering workplaces.
  • Develop and follow an exclusion policy that ensures symptomatic employees and children are immediately excluded from work activities.
  • Ensure enhanced cleaning and disinfection of shared areas and surfaces.
  • Ensure hand washing stations or hand sanitizing products are available and accessible to employees and children.

Required Public Health Measures:

  1. The total number of people permitted to congregate in any one room depends on the ages of the children. See the table below:
Ages of Children Number of Children Number of Staff Total Number of People
Under 22 months 6 2 8
22 months – school entry 10 1 11
School-age 14 1 15
  • For centres with an open concept design, the space can be modified (i.e. partition) to allow separate groups to use a portion of the space.
  • The maximum number of children permitted in a centre at one time is 42. The licensing requirement for child/staff ratios must be maintained at all times.
  • The room size must accommodate physical distancing of 2 metres (6 feet) for everyone in the space. Physical distancing is to be maintained at all times with staff, and as much as possible with children.

2. Where possible, physical distancing practices should occur, avoiding close greetings like hugs or handshakes, handholding, etc. The physical distancing requirement also applies to staff members.

Arrival and departure of children from these centres must be coordinated or scheduled to ensure social distancing of 2 metres (6 feet) can be achieved so as to reduce the potential for close contact between children and/or parents of different households.

3. Each group should remain separate and are not permitted to mix. If siblings are present, they are to be in the same group of children unless one is an infant and the other is a pre-schooler or school-aged child. The only exception is when two groups (of 11) use the outdoor space at one time (see #9).  Children from the two groups scheduled for outdoor play together may be combined to accommodate early morning and late afternoon child care only.  

4. Parents/guardians of immunocompromised children will need to determine if child-care is safe for their child. Individuals who are immunocompromised have a reduced ability to fight infections and other diseases. This may be caused by certain diseases or conditions, such as AIDS, cancer, diabetes, malnutrition, and certain genetic disorders. It may also be caused by certain medicines or treatments, such as anticancer drugs, radiation therapy, and stem cell or organ transplant.

5. Any child, employee or parent experiencing symptoms of illness should not be permitted to enter the centre.  Appendix A outlines the screening questionnaire. Symptoms to look for include, but are not limited to, fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion, headache, and a general feeling of being unwell.

  • If a child develops symptoms while at the centre, the child is to be isolated in a separate room or area away from other children. The parent is to be notified to pick up the child immediately.
  • If the child requires close contact and care, staff members can continue to care for the child until the parent arrives. Staff members should be mindful of handwashing and avoid contact with the respiratory secretions of the child.
  • All items, bedding, toys etc. used by the child that day must be removed from the play area and sanitized, or sanitized in place.

6. Adhere to the follow handwashing guidelines:

  1. Rinse visible dirt from hands with warm water
  2. Lather hands with liquid soap and warm water; rub vigorously for at least 20 seconds. Pay particular attention to under nails, between fingers, tops of hands and wrists.
  3. Rinse with running water.
  4. Dry with a single use paper towel in a dispenser, air dryer, or hand towel (single use before laundered).

7. It is essential that staff and children properly wash their hands: 

  • At the start of the day and before going home;
  • After using the washroom;
  • After assisting a child who has used the washroom;
  • After a diaper change;
  • Before preparing and/or serving food;
  • Before and after eating or feeding a child;
  • After getting hands dirty;
  • After wiping or blowing your nose or a child’s nose;
  • After sneezing or coughing;
  • Before giving medication to a child;
  • After caring for a sick child;
  • After cleaning (specific to staff members); and
  • After any other activity which may contaminate hands.

Child care staff members should help young children to ensure handwashing is done correctly. Alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) is not recommended for routine use in child care.

8. Surfaces (i.e. floor, tables, toys, etc.) in centres should be smooth, non-absorbent, durable and easily cleanable. Limit the use of shared equipment between children from different households.  Should anything be shared, take precautions such as handwashing as well as regularly cleaning and sanitizing of shared items.  Centres must engage in frequent thorough cleaning and sanitizing each day. Centres shall follow general standards regarding cleaning and sanitizing as well as the routine cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting procedures outlined in the sanitation plan developed by the centre. Appendix B outlines how to clean and sanitize and Appendix C outlines the enhanced cleaning procedures during an outbreak of gastrointestinal and other illnesses.

9. The children can have outdoor play time as long as the following precautions are followed:

  • A schedule is developed and followed to ensure only two groups of 11 use the outdoor space at one time.
    • Centres are encouraged to schedule outdoor play time with the same two groups to limit the number of interactions between children and staff
  • For school aged centres, a schedule is developed and followed to ensure only one group of 15 uses the same outdoor space at one time.
  • Children can use the outdoor play equipment, and school-aged children can use school playgrounds.
  • Children and staff are to wash their hands before and after the outdoor play time.
  • Children (1 group of 10 children with 2 adults) can go on a walk outside. The children should walk single-file, and hand sanitizer needs to be available.

Regulated child care must ensure the child’s overall well-being is maintained.  An important part of every child’s learning and development includes interactions and play with other children.  This can happen within each designated group.  The physical space must allow enough room for children to move freely and not be crowded.  By maintaining the required minimum of 3.5 sq metres per child of usable floor space this allows children to engage with each other and remain safe.

Appendix A: Screening Questionnaire

The screening questionnaire is provided as a resource for centres who wish to perform screening of individuals before having them enter a centre. 

Risk Assessment: Initial Screening Questions

Do you have any of the following symptoms:

  • New or worsening cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose, sneezing, congestion
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Unusual fatigue 
  • Acute loss of sense of smell or taste 
  • Other (includes symptoms not listed above)
Yes No

Is there anyone in your home that is required to self-isolate?

Yes No
Have you or your child(ren) attending the centre had close contact (faceto-face contact within 2 metres (6 feet) with someone who is ill with any of the above noted symptoms?  Yes No
Have you or anyone in your household been in contact in the last 14
days with a person under investigation or confirmed to be a case of
COVID-19?
Yes No
If you have answered “Yes” to any of the above questions, please DO NOT enter at this time.
If you have answered “No” to all of the above questions, please sign in and out and practice hand hygiene (wash hands for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer) before and after your visit.
Our goal is to minimize the risk of infection to the child care provider and children, thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
Name of Screened Individual:
Name of Parent or Guardian (if applicable):
Signature:                                                                  Date:
Name of Staff Member
Signature:                                                                  Date:

Appendix B: How to Clean and Sanitize

There are four steps to properly clean and sanitize an object or surface:

  1. Wash: Remove all visible dirt with warm soap and water.
  2. Rinse: Rinse to remove any dirt and soap on the object.
  3. Sanitize: Either soak smaller items or wipe larger items/surfaces with an approved sanitizer. The sanitizer must remain on the item/surface for approximately 2 minutes to allow it to destroy any harmful microbes present.
  4. Dry: Items should be air dried only. This is to avoid possible recontamination from using a reusable towel and to increase the contact time for the sanitizer. If an item cannot be air dried, use a clean single use paper towel. 
Mixing a Sanitizer
Area to Sanitize Dilution (Mixture of Sanitizer)
Household Bleach Quaternary Ammonia
Kitchen, food contact surfaces & toys 100ppm 200ppm
Washrooms, diaper change areas,
cribs/cots/mats & furniture
200ppm 400ppm
Surfaces contaminated with blood or bodily fluids 1:10 solution 1:10 solution
  • Use potable water.
  • Always pour the chemical into the water. 
  • Do not use clear bottles for bleach solutions as the sunlight will weaken the strength quickly. 
  • Always use the appropriate test strips to verify the concentration of sanitizer. 
  • Label all containers. 
  • Prepare sanitizer as often as necessary to ensure the sanitizer is available at the appropriate strength.  
  • Store solutions in an area not accessible to children.  

Appendix C: Enhanced Cleaning During an Outbreak

High touch surfaces are most likely to be contaminated and are to be cleaned and sanitized at least twice daily, or when visibly soiled.

Examples of high touch surfaces are:

  • table tops;
  • light switches;
  • telephones (including personal cell phones);
  • door knobs;
  • sink taps;
  • toilet handles;
  • kitchen counter tops;
  • gates;
  • hand rails;
  • hand sanitizer bottles/dispensers;
  • toys;
  • sleep cots/mats & cribs.

A two-step cleaning and sanitizing process is to be used.

  • CLEAN – wipe surfaces to remove visible dirt
  • SANITIZE – wipe surfaces again with a cloth saturated with sanitizer

Due to the increased amount of cleaning required during an outbreak situation, it is best practice for a centre to decrease the number of toys available to the children.

 

Published date: 
September 4, 2020
Health and Wellness

General Inquiries

Department of Health and Wellness
4th Floor North, Shaw Building
105 Rochford Street
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-368-6414
Fax: 902-368-4121

DeptHW@gov.pe.ca