Schools and Child Care COVID-19 Parent and Caregiver Information - Minnesota Dept. of Health
As we learn more about COVID-19, recommendations and guidance are updated frequently. Please check back often.

Schools and Child Care COVID-19
Parent and Caregiver Information

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) provides recommendations for schools, child care settings, youth programs, and camps to slow the spread of COVID-19. Different settings have varying requirements or processes for determining which COVID-19 prevention strategies to implement. Contact your school, child care, youth program, or camp for more information about their specific requirements, recommendations, or strategies.

On this page:
Exposures and quarantine
Testing Recommendations for K-12 schools
Recommendations for child care

Exposures and quarantine

COVID-19 can take up to 14 days to make you sick. You can spread COVID-19 to others several days before you have any symptoms, or even if you never have any symptoms, so it is important to separate yourself from others after an exposure so you don't spread the virus without knowing it.

Close Contacts and Quarantine has guidance for how to quarantine if you or your child were told you had an exposure to someone with COVID-19. Talk to your school, child care, or program if you have questions about their specific requirements.


While children usually have mild symptoms of COVID-19, they can still get very sick or spread the virus to others. If your child has any symptoms of COVID-19, use the Decision Tree to determine if your child should stay home from child care, school, or other programs.


Everyone 5 years and older should get a COVID-19 vaccination to help protect against COVID-19.

Parents can find vaccine locations and more information about the COVID-19 vaccine for their children at State of Minnesota: COVID-19 Vaccine for Children and Teens.

Find additional resources and information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at CDC: COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Teens.

Top Four Reasons to Get Your COVID-19 Vaccine (PDF)
Fact sheet for young people.
Updated 11/3/21

How to hold your child during a vaccination (PDF)
Fact sheet with images and instructions for different comfort holds. Created in partnership with Homeland Health Specialists.

Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine for People Under 18 Years Old (PDF)
Learn more about parental consent for people under 18 years old, and how to find a vaccine appointment for this age group.
Updated 11/3/21

Because children and youth with specialized health needs and disabilities may be at higher risk for more severe illness from COVID-19, families and caregivers are asked to strongly consider vaccinating children 5 years and older with any underlying health condition or disability.

COVID-19 Vaccine for Youth with Special Needs or Disabilities: Information for Caregivers (PDF)
Includes guidance for requesting accommodations when making appointments or arriving at a vaccine site.
Updated 11/16/21
(Other languages will be posted when updated versions are available.)

Learn more at Disabilities and Unique Health Needs During the COVID-19 Pandemic.


Please check with your child care provider or school district to see if they have testing requirements or if they are offering a regular testing program.

COVID-19 Testing Recommendations grid COVID-19 Testing Recommendations (PDF)
Testing grid based on vaccination status.

Where to get tested

There are several COVID-19 testing options available, including community (rapid and saliva) and at-home testing. Many COVID-19 tests are free, but a health care provider may charge for their time.

Refer to Find Testing Locations for all testing locations, including clinics or hospitals.

Recommendations for K-12 schools

MDH cannot mandate these K-12 strategies. It is up to schools, administrators, and facilities to implement and enforce these recommendations.
  • All people ages 5 years and older should get vaccinated for COVID-19 while participating in in-person school, sports, or other activities to protect themselves and people around them who cannot get vaccinated. Talk to a health care provider or Find Vaccine Locations near you.
  • All students, teachers, staff, and visitors in school buildings should wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status. Masks should also be worn in crowded outdoor settings where transmission is substantial or high regardless of vaccination status.
  • Schools should maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms whenever possible. When it is not possible to maintain 3 feet of distance between students, it is especially important to layer other prevention strategies.
  • Students, teachers, and staff should stay home if they feel sick and should contact a health care provider for testing and care.
  • Students, teachers, and staff who have been fully vaccinated or have tested positive within the last three months do not need to stay home even if they have had recent close contact with a confirmed case so long as they do not have symptoms and do not test positive. Follow CDC testing guidance for anyone exposed to a confirmed case.
  • People who are not fully vaccinated and participating in in-person school, sports, or extracurricular activities (and their families) should get tested regularly for COVID-19 according to CDC guidance.
  • Schools should encourage ventilation, contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, handwashing, respiratory etiquette, cleaning, and disinfection as important layers of prevention.

Recommendations for child care

Child care settings will continue to have both vaccinated and unvaccinated people as there is not a vaccine approved for children under 5 years of age available yet. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that child care settings continue prevention measures, including use of face coverings and physical distancing, even after staff have been vaccinated, especially in areas of moderate to high community transmission levels.

MDH recommends that child care operators follow CDC: COVID-19 Guidance for Operating Early Care and Education/Child Care Programs.

More information

CDC: Know what to Expect at Your Child's K-12 School or Early Care and Education Program

Updated Monday, 08-Nov-2021 16:24:53 CST