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:
When your child is sick or has been exposed
Recommendations for K-12 schools
Recommendations for child care

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.


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

On Jan. 5, 2022, FDA and CDC authorized emergency use of a single booster shot for people 12-17 years of age at least five months after completing their primary series of Pfizer vaccine. Refer to Vaccine doses for more information.

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 at CDC: COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Teens.

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.

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

About COVID-19 Vaccine has more information about getting vaccinated, including a section on "If you have had recent close contact or mild illness."


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 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.

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.
  • People and communities, including schools, should follow recommendations based on CDC: COVID-19 Community Levels to help inform decisions about masking based on their local context and unique needs.
    • High COVID-19 community level: Wear a well-fitting mask indoors in public spaces, regardless of vaccination status.
    • Medium COVID-19 community level: People who are immunocompromised, more likely to develop severe disease, or who have contact with a person who is immunocompromised or more likely to develop severe disease should wear a mask indoors in school/child care settings.
    • Low COVID-19 community level: Schools may choose to implement added prevention as needed in the event of a facility outbreak.
    • At all COVID-19 community levels, people can also choose to wear a mask based on personal preference or personal level of risk. People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask when recommended by isolation and quarantine guidance.
  • 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 are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines 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.
  • 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 to implement layered prevention measures 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.

More information

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

Updated Monday, 09-May-2022 07:58:50 CDT