child care setting photo
print header

Child Care

COVID-19 Information

The information on this page is meant to provide childcare operators in Simcoe Muskoka with information and resources to help keep your centre safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We all have a role to play in reducing the spread of COVID-19 in childcare.

  • All children, childcare employees and visitors must complete the daily  COVID-19 school and child care screening before coming to the centre each day.
  • Remind parents/guardians to complete this with their children, and to notify the centre if their child does not pass the daily screening. 


If a child, employee or visitor does not pass the daily screening:

  • They are asked to follow the instructions listed in the screening tool and should advise the child care of absence due to illness per centre policy.


REMINDER: if a child or employee has had symptoms in the past and now has new or worsening symptoms, these symptoms should be included in screening response. If a child or employee develops COVID-19 symptoms over the weekend that resolve, they are still required to isolate, as per the instructions in the screening tool, before returning to the centre.

Rapid antigen testing (RAT) for symptomatic children and childcare employees

To provide an additional layer of protection for COVID-19, rapid antigen tests will be made available to children and employees (based on provincial testing supply) when present with symptoms at the centre.

When to use the take-home RAT (s):

Children and employees regardless of vaccination status, can use the rapid antigen test(s) if they have symptoms of COVID-19 (as per the Ontario COVID-19 school and child care screening). Rapid antigen tests can help find out the likelihood that their symptoms are related to COVID-19. 

How to use the RAT test:

Instructions are provided with the RAT.

Test results: 

Results of rapid antigen tests are available within 15 minutes.

If the test is positive:

A positive result on a rapid antigen test is a good indication that the person has COVID-19. The result does not need to be confirmed by a PCR test.

If a child or employee tests positive for COVID-19 (or refuses to test but is symptomatic with COVID-19 symptoms), they must stay home and isolate. The amount of time will depend on their age and whether they are fully vaccinated:

  • Fully vaccinated or aged 11 or younger: must stay home (isolate) for 5 days from the day symptoms started. After 5 days and when symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours (if still symptomatic) they may return to the centre.
    *NEW* individuals who are returning after 5 days must wear a mask if over the age of 2 (unless exempt) until 10 days after the the start of their symptoms.


  • Not fully vaccinated and aged 12 or older, OR immunocompromised (regardless of age or vaccination status): must stay home (isolate) for 10 days from the time their symptoms started. 

There is no need to do another rapid antigen test if your first test was positive. A negative test is not required to return to work after your isolation period is complete.

If the test is negative

  • A negative result on one rapid antigen test does not rule out COVID-19. If a child or employee tests negative on one rapid antigen test but has symptoms of COVID-19 they must continue to stay home and isolate as per the time frame listed above.
  • If two rapid antigen tests (RATs) collected 24-48 hours apart are both negative, children and/or employees can return to the centre when their symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours (48 hours for nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea).

Disposal of rapid antigen tests:

  • Put COVID-19 home testing devices into the garbage. This includes small plastic components. You can recycle cardboard and paper packaging. 


If a child or employee is positive on rapid antigen testing or is symptomatic with COVID-19 symptoms (and does not test) their household members must self-isolate while the ill individual is isolating unless:

  • Household member has previously tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days;
  • Household member is 18 years or older and has received booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine; OR
  • Household member under 18 years and is fully vaccinated **

*NEW* if self-isolation is not required or is complete after 5 days, ALL household members must continue to ear a well-fitted mask in all public settings (including child care centres) until 10 days after the last exposure to the COVID-19 case.

 Household members of individuals whose symptoms don't meet the COVID-19 screening criteria or who test negative twice on  rapid antigen testing (24-48 hours apart) are not required to self-isolate.


* fully vaccinated = received a full series of a Health Canada authorized vaccine (e.g. two doses of AstraZeneca/Moderna/Pfizer or 1 dose of Janssen) at least 14 days ago.

 ** Immunocompromised examples include cancer chemotherapy, untreated HIV infection with CD4 T lymphocyte count <200, combined primary immunodeficiency disorder, taking prednisone >20mg/day (or equivalent for more than 14 days and taking other immune suppressive medications. Factors such as advanced age, diabetes and end-stage renal disease are generally not considered immunocompromised for the purposes of isolation.

Most members of the general public, including children and employees, are no longer eligible for publicly funded PCR testing. Eligibility for PCR testing has changed to ensure that PCR tests are available for people most at risk for severe COVID-19 illness.

A positive result on a rapid antigen test is a good indication that the person has COVID-19. The result does not need to be confirmed by a PCR test.

Did you find what you were looking for today?
What did you like about this page?
How can we improve this page?

If you have any questions or concerns that require a response, please contact Health Connection directly.

Thanks for your feedback.
Failed to submit comment. Please try submitting again or contact us at the Health Unit.
Comment already submitted ...