Learn more about COVID-19 in Saskatchewan. Daily case numbers and information for businesses and workers.

The Re-Open Saskatchewan plan was released on April 23rd.

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Child Care Facilities Guidelines

For general workplace guidelines, please refer to COVID-19 Workplace Information. All businesses operating in Saskatchewan must be in compliance with these guidelines. The information below provides specific guidelines for operators of child care facilities.

Child care facilities must follow all of the requirements in the public health order and continue to operate in compliance with all other applicable legislation and licensing requirements, including the Child Care Guidelines and The Child Care Regulations, 2015.

COVID-19 infections in children tend to be mild and similar to other viral respiratory infections. Symptoms such as dry cough, fever and gastrointestinal concerns (e.g. nausea, vomiting, diarrhea) may be present. Skin changes and lesions are less common symptoms.

As of August 4, 2020, all child care services as defined in The Child Care Act, 2014, are limited to a maximum of 25 children per building space. This may mean 25 children per facility or, in the case of larger facilities where area permits, a facility reconfigured to allow a maximum of 25 children in one defined area. These areas must be separate for each group and need to be separated by a barrier (floor to ceiling barriers not necessary) that can prevent children, toys and other items from crossing over. The child-to-adult ratios and usable floor space requirements for the child care areas must align with the Child Care Guidelines for Care and The Child Care Regulations, 2015.

Groups of children and the staff members assigned to them must stay together throughout the day and cannot mix with other groups. Staff should remain with the same group. Groups must be within in the same room/space at the same time, including pickups and drop-offs, meal times, playtime and outdoor activities.

Children are restricted to attending a single facility to reduce transmission risks. All child care facilities located within special care or personal care homes are subject to all general restrictions and must have private entrances and separate spaces so there are no shared common areas. There must be no interaction between children and residents of the home.

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1. Guidelines for General Operation

  • Staff and parents must encourage and practise physical distancing.
  • Staff should minimize the frequency of direct physical contact with children and encourage children to minimize physical contact with each other.
  • For younger children, maintaining physical distance is less practical and the focus should be on minimizing physical contact instead.
  • Help younger children learn about physical distancing and less physical contact by creating games that include basic principles such as 'two arms lengths apart.'
  • Children from the same household (e.g. siblings) do not need to maintain physical distance from each other.
  • Avoid close greetings like hugs or handshakes, and encourage physically distant greetings such as 'air fives' and waves.
  • Plan for reduced contact activities such as shadow tag and, where possible, avoid activities that require clustering around a particular item or small area.
  • The use of play areas should be limited to one group at a time, unless physical distancing can be maintained at all times between groups and play areas are not being shared. This may include having a barrier in place. Ensure hand hygiene occurs for staff and children before, during and after outdoor play.
  • Wherever possible, physical distancing should be maintained, even within the same group. Consider modifying room configurations (e.g. separating tables) to promote physical distancing. Incorporate more individual activities or activities that encourage more space between children and staff.
  • Where possible, remove or reduce play with toys that encourage group play in close proximity or increase the likelihood of physical contact. Keep toys that encourage individual play.
  • Parents and caregivers should only bring personal comfort items (e.g. stuffed animals) if they are clean and can be laundered at the end of each day.
  • Children and staff should not share food, drinks, soothers, bottles, sippy cups, toothbrushes, facecloths and other personal items. Label personal items with the child's name to discourage accidental sharing.
  • Where possible, child care operators and staff should use telephone or video conferencing when possible to meet with staff and parents.
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2. Drop-Off and Pickup Guidelines

  • Checking temperatures, detailed screening or requiring COVID-19 testing of children and staff are not required or recommended at this time based on current evidence.
  • Modify procedures for drop-off and pickup that support physical distancing and separate groups to the greatest extent possible. Possible strategies include separate group entrances, limit pickups and drop-offs to one parent/guardian, staggering entry or limiting the number of people in entry areas. Ensure parents are informed of all procedures.
  • Where possible, the pickup and drop-off of children may occur outside the child care setting, unless there is a need for the parent or caregiver to enter the facility (e.g. very young children). If a parent must enter the facility, they should maintain physical distance from staff and other children and be reminded to practice diligent hand hygiene.
  • Parents and caregivers should use their own pens and avoid touching the sign-in/out sheet directly. They should practise hand hygiene before and after touching the sign-in/out sheet. Consider switching to a contactless or electronic sign-in/out method.
  • Parents picking up children from more than one group should not be allowed to intermingle with children in the groups.
  • Place alcohol-based hand sanitizer approved by Health Canada (DIN or NPN number) in dispensers or soap and water handwashing stations near doors for use by staff, parents and other essential visitors. Make disinfectant wipes available for wiping down diaper bags and strollers, as well as trash bins for disposing of the wipes.
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer dispensers should not be in locations that can be accessed by young children, as alcohol-based hand sanitizers are not generally recommended for use by young children.
  • Vehicles used by child care facilities for transporting children should be cleaned and disinfected as per transportation guidance in the COVID-19 workplace guidelines. Transportation should be limited to the transport of children to and from care. Recreational travel requiring vehicles, such as field trips, is not permitted at this time.
  • Neighbourhood walks are permitted as long as they are limited to a single group, with physical distancing maintained from members of the public.
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3. Guidelines for Illness in Care

  • Children who are ill are not permitted to attend child care. Staff can remind parents and guardians of this at drop-off to confirm that the child does not have symptoms of COVID-19. All parents, guardians, children and staff who are under mandatory self-isolation must not attend the child care facility. Instead, they must stay home and self-isolate. Children can return to care once they are cleared by public health.
  • Parents and caregivers must assess their children daily for symptoms of the common cold, influenza, COVID-19 or other infectious respiratory diseases before sending them to child care.
  • Signage may be used to remind parents and guardians not to enter the facility if they are sick. Signs should be posted at the entrances to child care facilities.
  • If a parent or guardian is unsure if they or a child should self-isolate, they should be directed to use the online Saskatchewan COVID-19 self-assessment tool or contact HealthLine 811 prior to attending the child care facility.
  • If a child develops symptoms at the facility, the child should be isolated from other children and the parent or guardian should be notified to pick up the child immediately. If a separate room is not available, the child needs to be kept at least two metres away from other children.
  • If the sick child is young and requires close contact and care, staff can continue to care for the child until the parent is able to pick up the child. Staff must wear a procedure/surgical mask and eye protection during all interactions with the sick child, and should try to avoid contact with the child's respiratory secretions. Once the child leaves, staff must wash their hands and ensure all areas that the sick child touched are cleaned and disinfected. All items used by the child while isolated should be cleaned and disinfected as soon as the child is picked up. Items that cannot be cleaned and disinfected (e.g. paper, books, cardboard puzzles) should be removed from the program and stored in a sealed container for a minimum of three days.
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4. Guidelines for Employees

  • Non-essential visitors to facilities are not permitted at this time. Parents or guardians, essential services, and persons supporting a child in care (e.g. referring professionals, inspectors, etc.) are permitted.
  • If staff are unable to maintain two-metre distancing from other staff, other measures should be used, such as self-monitoring of personal health, supervision by Infection Prevention and Control Officers or Occupational Health and Safety staff in the workplace, or implementing appropriate measures such as:
    • Staggering activities to limit the number of staff in a confined area during the same period.
    • Moving activities to another room, wherever possible.
    • Altering shift and break times to minimize the number of staff working in close quarters.
    • Using markings or dividers in common areas to ensure physical distancing.
    • Wearing personal protective equipment.
  • Proper and frequent hand hygiene by staff and children is a vital component in preventing the transmission of illnesses. Ensure staff and children are practising proper hand hygiene and coughing/sneezing etiquette. Parents and staff can teach and reinforce these practices.
    • Hand hygiene stations should be set up at the entrance, so that children can clean their hands when they enter. If a sink with soap and water is not available, provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer approved by Health Canada (DIN or NPN number). Keep hand sanitizer out of the reach of children and supervise its use.
    • Incorporate additional hand hygiene opportunities into the daily schedule.
    • Ensure the child care facility is well stocked with handwashing supplies at all times, including soap, paper towels, waste bins and, where appropriate, alcohol-based hand sanitizer approved by Health Canada (DIN or NPN number).
    • Children regularly forget about proper handwashing. Staff and children should practise often, with staff modelling washing hands properly in a fun and relaxed way.
  • All workers must self-monitor for symptoms and use the online Saskatchewan COVID-19 self-assessment tool.
  • Infection Prevention and Control or Occupational Health and Safety staff in the workplace can assist in monitoring employee symptoms and provide advice in line with the provincial public health order.
  • It is recommended that child care facilities review their employee illness policies to ensure staff are able to remain home when ill (as is required).
  • Workplaces should have a workplace illness policy. If policies do not exist or are not in line with COVID‑19 recommendations, facilities should ensure that all sick employees must stay home or be sent home from work.
  • If employees go home sick, their group areas and any areas they had contact with must be cleaned and disinfected.
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5. Cleaning and Sanitation Guidelines

  • The COVID-19 virus can survive for several days on different surfaces and objects. Frequent cleaning and disinfection is important to prevent spread of the disease.
  • Maintain a cleaning schedule and ensure staff are adequately assigned and trained for additional cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection required for COVID-19 transmission mitigation.
  • Increase cleaning and disinfection of commonly contacted areas. Common touch areas include those accessed by children, parents and/or employees. Examples of common touch surfaces include 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 and cribs.
  • Due to the increased amount of cleaning required during an outbreak situation, it is best practice to decrease the number of toys available to children.
  • All items (bedding, toys, etc.) used by children that day must be removed from the play area and disinfected, or disinfected in place.
  • Indoor shared spaces and structures that cannot be cleaned and disinfected between groups should not be used. If play structures are to be used by more than one group, the structures can only be used by one group at a time and must be cleaned and disinfected before and after use by each group.
  • Ensure the disinfectant used in the facility is adequate for the elimination of viruses and is approved by Health Canada (DIN).
  • Any food contact surfaces must be disinfected with a product safe for food surfaces or immediately rinsed following disinfection.
  • Ensure washrooms are cleaned and disinfected with increased frequency, always well stocked with liquid soap and paper towels, and that warm running water is available.
  • Clean and disinfect diapering stations after each use.
  • Garbage bins should be emptied frequently.
  • Remove toys and other items that cannot be easily cleaned and disinfected. Launder plush/stuffed toys following use.
  • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning blood or body fluids (e.g. runny nose, vomit, stool, urine). Wash hands before wearing and after removing gloves.
  • Clean and disinfect cots and cribs after each use, and launder crib linens between children. If parents are providing their own crib linen, the linens should be laundered and placed in a sealed plastic or washable bag before bringing to the child care facility. Do not shake the linens.
  • Programs that utilize a space with other user groups (e.g. programs in museums, community centres, etc.) must ensure the space is cleaned and disinfected before and after using the space.
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6. Program Operator Guidelines

  • No self-serve or family-style meal service. There should be no common food items (e.g. salt and pepper shakers). Meals should be served in individual portions to each child by a designated staff member.
  • Utensils should be used to serve food items (not fingers).
  • If meals or snacks are provided, ensure all children have their own individual meals or snacks. Reusable utensils must be cleaned and sanitized after each use.
  • Food provided by the family should be stored with the child's belongings or, if refrigeration is required, should be kept in an area designated for the child's group and should not be handled by staff from other groups. Food from home must not be shared with other children.
  • Children are not allowed to participate in food preparation.
  • Where possible, children should practise physical distancing while eating. Consider staggering snack or meal times to allow spacing between children during meals.
  • Consider using books and individual games as a part of learning, so children can sit independently and distanced from each other.
  • Where possible, sensory play should be discontinued. If necessary, sensory play should be conducted as an individual activity (e.g. each child gets a ball of playdough and tools, one at a time at the sand table). Handwashing must occur before and after using shared sensory items, children must be supervised and discouraged from touching their faces, and items must be disinfected or discarded between uses by different groups.
  • When possible, increase the distance between nap mats. If space is tight, place children head to toe.
  • Each group should have designated equipment (e.g. balls, loose equipment) or clean and disinfect equipment between group uses.
  • Establish a plan to prevent mingling of groups in washrooms, and to minimize the number of shared surfaces in washrooms.
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7. Personal Protective Equipment

  • Except when in close contact with a sick child, masks and eye protection are not required in the child care setting, beyond those used by staff as part of their regular precautions for hazards normally encountered in the workplace. They should only be used when all other controls have been fully explored.
  • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning blood or body fluids (e.g. runny nose, vomit, stool, urine). Gloves must be changed after every interaction and when changing tasks. Hand hygiene must be performed between every glove change (hand sanitizer or handwashing with soap and water).
  • Other than the above situations, glove use is not required nor recommended.
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8. Further Information

For additional information, please call the Business Response Team at 1-844-800-8688 or email supportforbusiness@gov.sk.ca.

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