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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.
When your child is sick or has been exposed
You can spread COVID-19 to others starting a couple days before you have any symptoms, and even if you never have any symptoms. If you spend time close to someone with COVID-19, you may have it, too, but you may not know it. It is important to stay home when you are sick and separate yourself from others after you have been close to someone with COVID-19 to keep from spreading the virus to others.
Schools, child care, youth programs, and camps are strongly encouraged to develop policies and protocols around reporting of positive cases, management of case follow-up, and notification of exposed persons in alignment with public health guidance. Schools, child care, youth programs, and camps should implement these strategies to the extent possible while also considering educational needs, the social and emotional well-being of children, and the importance of children's access to learning and care.
The guide below reflects current CDC recommendations regarding when to isolate and for how long depending on a person's ability to wear a mask consistently.
COVID-19 Isolation Guide for Schools, Child Care, and Youth Programming (PDF)
For people who are sick or test positive.
While the CDC no longer recommends quarantine (staying home) after an exposure to someone with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people take precautions, including getting tested and wearing a mask, regardless of vaccination status or if they have had a previous infection.
CDC recommends that people age 6 months and older receive at least one 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine.
The number of doses varies by age, vaccine, previous COVID-19 vaccines received, and whether the person has a weak immune system. For example, children age 6 months through 4 years may need more than one dose to be up to date. For more information on the vaccines, including recommended schedules visit CDC: Stay Up to Date with COVID-19 Vaccines.
Parental or guardian consent is required for COVID-19 vaccination of children 17 years of age and younger, except under rare or special circumstances. (Refer to Minnesota Statutes, sections 144.341 through 144.347.) We encourage you to go with your child so you can ask questions and learn more about the vaccine.
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.
- How to hold your child during a vaccination in Amharic (PDF)
- How to hold your child during a vaccination in Arabic (PDF)
- How to hold your child during a vaccination in Chinese (PDF)
- How to hold your child during a vaccination in French (PDF)
- How to hold your child during a vaccination in Hmong (PDF)
- How to hold your child during a vaccination in Karen (PDF)
- How to hold your child during a vaccination in Lao (PDF)
- How to hold your child during a vaccination in Oromo (PDF)
- How to hold your child during a vaccination in Russian (PDF)
- How to hold your child during a vaccination in Somali (PDF)
- How to hold your child during a vaccination in Spanish (PDF)
- How to hold your child during a vaccination in Vietnamese (PDF)
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 who have any underlying health condition or disability if they are 6 months of age or older.
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 translations will be posted when available.
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.
Where to get tested
There are several COVID-19 testing options available, including clinics, community test sites (rapid and saliva), and self-tests that you can take at home. Many COVID-19 tests are free, but a health care provider may charge for their time.
Refer to Community Testing: Which community testing site should I use for the description of the free options offered by the state of Minnesota, including options for infants and kids.
Refer to Find Testing Locations for all testing locations, including clinics or hospitals.
Operational guidance for schools, child care, youth programs, and camps
MDH recommends that schools, child care, youth programs, and camps implement a core set of infectious disease prevention strategies as part of their normal operations and layer additional prevention strategies specific to COVID-19 to the extent possible in response to changing local situations, including periods of increased community health impacts from COVID-19. While written for COVID-19 prevention, this guidance can also help prevent the spread of other infectious diseases and support healthy learning environments for all.
- CDC: Operational Guidance for K-12 Schools and Early Care and Education Programs to Support Safe In-Person Learning
This guidance applies to schools, child care, youth programs, and camps.