Schools and Child Care COVID-19 Parent and Caregiver Information - Minnesota Dept. of Health
CDC has updated their COVID-19 guidance to help you better understand how to protect yourself and others, and what to do if you test positive or are exposed. More information is available at CDC: How to Protect Yourself and Others. MDH is actively working on updating our website and materials.

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
Operational guidelines for schools, child care, youth programs, and camps

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.

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.


Children age 6 months and older are recommended to get vaccinated. Children age 5 years and older should also get a booster, when eligible. The vaccine that your child gets and how many doses they need depends on their age on the day they are vaccinated. Refer to Vaccine doses for more information.

Data from Pfizer and Moderna vaccine studies show the vaccines are safe and effective for children and teens.

Children can get very sick from COVID-19—even children who do not have underlying health conditions. The available COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to be very good at helping to protect children from severe disease, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. Getting your child vaccinated helps protect them, your family, and your community. Talk to your health care provider about which vaccine your child should get and to ask any questions you might have.

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.

Parental or guardian consent is required for COVID-19 vaccination of children younger than 17 years of age, 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.

  • NOTE: For state-run vaccine clinics, children age 15 and under must have a parent or guardian with them.

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 6 months of age 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.

Poster: What to Do While You Wait for a COVID-19 Test Resut What to Do While You Wait for a COVID-19 Test Result (PDF)
Updated 2/25/22

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.

Updated Thursday, 22-Sep-2022 09:06:19 CDT