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Important update: Healthcare facilities
CDC has updated select ways to operate healthcare systems effectively in response to COVID-19 vaccination. Learn more
To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, get vaccinated as soon as you can and wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
Given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant, CDC has updated the guidance for fully vaccinated people. CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place.

What To Do If A Child Becomes Sick or Receives a New COVID-19 Diagnosis At Your Child Care Program

What To Do If A Child Becomes Sick or Receives a New COVID-19 Diagnosis At Your Child Care Program
What To Do If A Child Becomes Sick Or Receives A New COVID-19 Diagnosis At Your Child Care Program

Scenario based on geographic area with community transmission of SARS-COV-2 the virus that causes COVID-19.

  • Child shows signs of an illness that could be COVID-19.**
  • Arrange for child to be escorted from classroom or area. Alert the COVID-19 POC. COVID-19 POC escorts child to isolation room/area and ensures child is properly supervised. The parent, guardian, or caregiver is called. Arrangements are made for child to either go home or seek emergency medical attention.
    Note: If two or more children must be in the same room/area at the same time, ensure that all children 2 years or older wear masks and stay at least 6 feet apart while supervised.
  • Parent, guardian, or caregiver picks up child. Parent, guardian, or caregiver contacts healthcare provider for evaluation and possible COVID-19 test.
  • Clean and disinfect areas that the ill child occupied. Ventilate the area(s), wait as long as possible before cleaning to let virus particles settle (at least several hours), and use personal protective equipment (including any protection needed for the cleaning and disinfection products) to reduce risk of infection.

Child negative COVID-19 test result.***

  • Child returns to child care following program’s existing illness management policies.

Child positive COVID-19 test result.

  • Child is found to have COVID-19 and begins home isolation.
  • COVID-19 POC starts a list of close contacts of the ill child and informs staff, parents, guardians, or caregivers of close contacts of possible exposure.****
  • COVID-19 POC works with local health officials to assess spread and support follow up with staff, parents, guardians, or caregivers of children that had contact with the ill child. *****
  • Parents, guardians, or caregivers of close contacts are advised to keep their children home (quarantine for 14 days) and to consult with the child’s healthcare provider for evaluation and possible COVID-19 test.
  • Members of the ill child’s household and any child care provider or staff who had close contact with the child are advised to quarantine for 14 days. Options to shorten quarantine are described here [1], but keep in mind this increases risk of spread.
  • The ill child can return to child care and end isolation once the following are met:
    • 10 days out from the start of the symptoms, AND
    • Fever free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication, AND
    • Symptoms have improved.

Note: COVID-19 POC = the designated point of contact (a staff person that is responsible for responding to COVID-19 concerns, such as director)


**The most common symptoms of COVID-19 in children include fever or chills, cough, nasal congestion or runny nose, new loss of taste or smell, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, diarrhea or vomiting, stomachache, tiredness, headache, muscle or body aches, and poor appetite or poor feeding (especially in babies under 1 year old)

***With no known close contact

****Close contact is defined as someone who was within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more within 2 days prior to illness onset, regardless of whether the contact was wearing a mask.

*****To the extent allowable by applicable laws regarding privacy.