Guidance for child care during COVID-19

As of March 31, 2022, the public health emergency and all public health orders in the Northwest Territories (NWT) were lifted.

With the public health emergency ending, there are some important updates for early learning and child care programs to be aware of.

Masking Recommendations

As of April 1, 2022

In centre-based locations:

  • Early learning and child care staff are not required to wear masks in their classroom spaces or “bubbles.”
  • It is recommended that anyone visiting from outside the bubble (i.e., parents picking up their children, guest speakers, etc.) continue to wear a mask.
  • It is recommended that masking remain in place for staff in communal areas outside of the “bubbles;” this includes common spaces such as shared bathrooms between classrooms or “bubbles.”

In family day homes:

  • Family day homes operate in “bubbles” and do not have communal areas with other programs. As such, masks do not need to be worn.
  • Parents picking up their children are not required to wear a mask.
  • Like centre-based programs, if anyone from outside the “bubble” attends the family day home, it is recommended that they wear a mask (i.e., guest speakers).
  • Please keep in mind that individuals are welcome to continue wearing masks if they prefer.

Exposures

  • Early learning and child care staff and children who attend the programs are not required to isolate, regardless of their vaccination status when there is an exposure, however they should monitor for symptoms.

Symptoms

  • It is recommended that early learning and child care staff and children continue to use the Daily Symptom Screening Tool for Students, School Staff and Early Childhood Care Workers. 
  • It is recommended that anyone with symptoms stay home until they are symptom free.
  • The Chief Public Health Officer recommends that masks be worn and that contact with others be minimized for a full ten days after the onset of symptoms.

Testing Positive

There are no longer legal requirements under Public Health Orders to isolate or report results when an individual tests positive for COVID-19, however in accordance with the Child Day Care Standards Regulations:

  • An operator shall not permit a child with a communicable disease to attend a child care facility. This includes COVID-19.
  • Child care staff and/or volunteers are not permitted to attend the child care facility when they are infected with a communicable disease. This includes COVID-19.

The Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority (NTHSSA) recommends people who test positive for COVID isolate until:

  • It has been at least 5 days since your positive test or symptoms started and 
  • Your symptoms are improving, and you have had no fever for at least 24 hours.  

If someone in your household tests positive, the NTHSSA recommends that you isolate, as well. Self-monitor for symptoms, avoid going to work or out in public. If you must leave your home, please wear a mask and physically distance from others. 

For more information, visit:

Travel

Licensed program staff and operators in a child care centre/family day home who travel outside the NWT require testing on Day 0 or Day 1 and Day 4. Rapid antigen at-home tests can be used for these purposes.

Vaccination

Everyone working or volunteering in the early learning and child care sector is encouraged to get their COVID-19 vaccine or booster doses.

To find out if you are eligible for vaccination or testing in Yellowknife and to schedule an appointment, please use the NTHSSA's online booking system.

Practice Healthy Habits

Remember to follow proper hand hygiene, healthy respiratory practices and habits.

Continue to disinfect high touch surfaces frequently and utilize recommended hand-washing and healthy respiratory practices throughout the programming day.

Thank you to all early learning and child care providers across the territory

We recognize that the pandemic has been a difficult time for anyone working in the early learning and child care sector. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the essential role that these individuals have in our lives. Thank you for your hard work and dedication.

If you have questions about operating a licensed early learning and child care programs, please contact your regional Early Childhood Consultant.