Unlicensed Child Care Centres Guidance

To help break the chain of COVID-19 transmission in PEI, Updated COVID-19 Post Circuit Breaker Holiday Measures are in effect from January 6 to January 25th, 2021.

These CIRCUIT BREAKER measures impact businesses and gatherings and are different from the restrictions PEI residents were asked to observe during the New Normal phase.

The circuit breaker phase restrictions override all other existing sector specific public health guidance. Government of Prince Edward Island COVID-19 recommendations and guidances may be impacted by the CIRCUIT BREAKER measures.

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

Unlicensed child care centres, just like any other businesses, services, or organizations on PEI, are required to have a COVID-19 Operational Plan.

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.

Public Health Guidance for Unlicensed Child Care Centres on PEI

Required Public Health Measures:

  1. An unlicensed child care provider must operate within the allowable numbers for unlicensed child care:
    1. You can provide child care for up to 5 children if you have infants and no more than two of them can be infants.
    2. If you have all preschool and school age children you can have up to 6 children, and
    3. If you have all school-age children you can have a maximum of 7.
  2. To the greatest extent possible, physical distancing practices should occur.
  3. Visitors to the unlicensed child care centre should wear a mask at all times while indoors.
  4. Any child or parent experiencing symptoms of illness should not be permitted to enter the centres. Unlicensed child care centres are asked to screen individuals before permitting them to enter. See Appendix A below for a sample 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.
    1. 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, for as much as possible. The parent is to be notified to pick up the child immediately.
    2. If the child requires close contact and care, the child care provider can continue to care for the child until the parent arrives. The child care provider should be mindful of handwashing and avoid contact with the respiratory secretions of the child.
    3. All items, bedding, toys etc. used by the child that day must be removed from the play area and sanitized, or sanitized in place.
  5. 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).
  6. It is essential that the child care provider and children properly wash their hands:
    1. At the start of the day and before going home;
    2. After using the washroom;
    3. After assisting a child who has used the washroom;
    4. After a diaper change;
    5. Before preparing and/or serving food;
    6. Before and after eating or feeding a child;
    7. After getting hands dirty;
    8. After wiping or blowing your nose or a child’s nose;
    9. After sneezing or coughing;
    10. Before giving medication to a child;
    11. After caring for a sick child;
    12. After cleaning (specific to child care provider); and
    13. After any other activity which may contaminate hands.
      1. The child care provider should help young children to ensure handwashing is performed correctly.
      2. Alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) is not recommended for routine use in child care centres but it may be necessary when children and care providers are participating in outdoor activities.
      3. Surfaces (i.e. tables, toys, etc.) in centres should be smooth, non-absorbent, durable and easily cleanable. 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 recommended enhanced cleaning considerations during an outbreak of gastrointestinal and other illnesses.
  7. Outdoor play time is encouraged as long as the following precautions are followed:
  8. Physical distancing is is considered and maintained to the best extent possible.
  9. Children and the child care provider wash their hands before and after the outdoor play time.

Appendix A: Screening Questionnaire

This 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

Has your child been told to self-isolate by the CPHO?

Yes    No

Have you or your child(ren) attending the centre had close contact (face-to-face contact within 2 metres/6 feet) in the last 14 days with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19?

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.

Exception:  If your child has on-going, existing conditions and symptoms that would not be new or unusual for that individual (example, chronic allergies), this alone will not require the child to not attend.  However, if the existing symptoms become more extreme than usual or are accompanied by the onset of new symptoms, it would be important to consult with a health care providerto determine if staying home or getting a COVID test is recommended.

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 Child Care Provider:
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: 
December 7, 2020