Unlicensed Child Care Centres Guidance
Unlicensed child care centres, just like any other businesses, services, or organizations on PEI, are required to have a COVID-19 Operational Plan.
The continued operation of unlicensed child care centres will be dependent on local epidemiology and the ongoing impact of the Omicron variant in PEI. Cases of COVID-19 are anticipated at unlicensed child care centres, however, public health measures to minimize risk and increase safety in child care settings will be in place.
An unlicensed child care provider must operate within the allowable numbers for unlicensed child care:
- You can provide child care for up to 5 children if you have infants and no more than two of them can be infants.
- If you have all preschool and school age children you can have up to 6 children, and
- If you have all school-age children you can have a maximum of 7.
Enhanced Public Health Measures in Unlicensed Child Care Centres
The guidance that follows expands on guidance that was previously in place. Public health directives to individuals supersedes all guidelines contained here.
|Enhanced Public Health Measures|
Recommend everyone eligible get vaccinated with a complete series of Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccines.
Vaccination is the best protection against COVID-19 and its variants. Evidence on vaccine effectiveness against the Omicron variant continues to be gathered. Although breakthrough infections among vaccinated individuals occur, current vaccines approved for use in Canada appear to provide good protection against serious outcomes and hospitalization from this variant.
|Screening and Management of Symptoms of COVID-19||
All children and staff must complete daily home screening for symptoms of COVID-19 using the screening tool. Parents and caregivers are responsible for assessing their children daily before sending them to a centre.
If a child or staff person is feeling unwell or experiencing new or worsening symptoms of COVID-19, however mild, they should stay home and access testing at a drop-in testing clinic at the earliest opportunity and self-isolate until the results are back.
Parents and caregivers may use an at-home rapid antigen screening test if a child is exhibiting a single mild symptom of COVID-19.
When assessing for COVID-19 symptoms, it is important to think about the time of year and what is usual for that person.
Testing guidance may evolve over time, refer to the most up to date information on the testing webpage.
Centres should follow their standard procedures for children, staff and essential visitors who become sick during the day. For example:
Ensure hand washing stations or hand sanitizing products are available and accessible to staff, children and all persons who enter and exit the centre (including parents/guardians at drop-off and pick-up).
Regular hand washing with soap and water is the most effective way to reduce the spread of illness. Encourage and make it easy for staff and children to practice good hand hygiene.
Staff should help young children wash their hands to ensure it is done correctly.
It is very important that staff and children properly clean their hands often, including:
Alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) is not recommended for routine use in child care centres.
Staff and children should avoid touching their face, eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands and if they do touch these areas, they should then wash their hands immediately.
Cough or sneeze into the elbow or a disposable tissue. Dispose of used tissues immediately and then wash hands.
Child care centres should ensure that signage on hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette is clearly posted throughout the centre.
|Cleaning and Disinfection||
Maintain enhanced cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces.
Toys should be cleaned when visibly soiled and sanitized as required (at least once weekly). Mouthed toys, or toys that were handled by a sick child or a child exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 should be cleaned and sanitized after each use.
There are four steps to properly clean and sanitize an object or surface:
Mix 100ppm household bleach OR 200ppm quaternary ammonia for use in the kitchen, or on food contact surfaces and toys.
Mix 200ppm household bleach OR 400ppm quaternary ammonia for use in washrooms, diaper change areas, or on cribs, cots, mats and furniture.
A 1:10 solution of either product must be used to clean surfaces contaminated with blood or bodily fluids.
|Ventilation||Open windows when possible, and when weather permits.|
All staff and visitors, including parents and caregivers, and regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear good quality masks (preferably 3-layer masks) in all indoor areas of child care centres.
Children age 2 and older are recommended to wear a mask in all indoor areas of child care centres.
Masks are not required outdoors.
Exemptions to mask requirements include:
See the Wearing Masks in the Community and Workplace guidance for further information on mask use.
Centres must create space between people wherever possible:
|Gatherings and Events||No in-person gatherings at child care centres, including but not limited to children’s concerts, family engagement events, etc.|
|Vulnerable Children and Staff||Vulnerable children and staff can attend; they may want to consult with their health care provider.|
Unlicensed child care centres are being provided rapid antigen tests to supply to children and staff to facilitate testing at home. Home testing is intended to aid in early detection of positive cases and reduce incidence and impacts of outbreaks in child care centres.
Information on how to use rapid antigen tests is available online.
In the event of a positive rapid antigen screening test, the child or staff person must have a confirmatory test at a drop-in testing clinic at the earliest opportunity, and not attend the centre until they’ve received a negative result from a testing clinic. If a confirmatory test at a drop-in clinic is not available, the child or staff person must isolate at home for 24 hours and take another rapid antigen test. If this follow-up test is negative the student or staff person may attend the Unlicensed child care centre.