Distribution of Rapid Antigen Tests to Community-Based Child Care

Ministry of Education
Early Years and Child Care Division

315 Front Street West, 11th floor
Toronto ON M5V 3A4

TO: Consolidated Municipal Service Managers and District Social Service Administration Boards (CMSMs and DSSABs)
FROM:  Holly Moran, Assistant Deputy Minister, Early Years and Child Care Division
DATE:  January 6, 2022
SUBJECT:  Distribution of Rapid Antigen Tests to Community-Based Child Care

Thank you for your ongoing collaboration, partnership and continued efforts in keeping children, families, and child care staff safe.

On December 30, the Province announced updates to its COVID-19 testing and isolation guidelines (an updated COVID-19 school and child care screening tool is expected to be released shortly). This was followed by additional time-limited measures (modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen), including:

  • the move to virtual learning for schools to help curb the spread of COVID-19; and
  • Emergency Child Care for school aged children for eligible front line staff while child care for non-school aged children remains open.

I want to thank you for your leadership and efforts to implement this 4th round of emergency child care, especially during the holiday break.

Rapid Antigen Testing for Child Care

In light of the recent updates, the province is also working to deploy rapid antigen tests to child care programs for use where a staff, provider, or child in care is symptomatic.

As discussed on today’s call, the ministry is seeking your support to help ensure rapid antigen tests are distributed as quickly as possible to our community-based child care programs (i.e. not located in schools). We are seeking your help to:

  • Receive and store rapid antigen tests from the province
  • Distribute tests to community-based child care programs in your area

Rapid Antigen Test Delivery Location

As an immediate first step, we are asking each CMSM/DSSAB to provide a minimum of one location (and up to 3 locations) where rapid tests could be delivered for distribution to community-based child care programs in your area.

  • Tests must stored in a temperature controlled environment (between 2 and 30 degrees Celsius)
  • While we continue to finalize orders, we anticipate a large space will be required to store the delivery of tests.
  • A contact individual would need to be available at the location between 9am and 5pm everyday, including weekends, to accept deliveries. Scheduled deliveries are not available.
  • It is anticipated shipments should start to arrive across the province beginning mid-January.

Kindly provide the requested information by noon tomorrow, Friday January 6, 2021. Information can be entered in the link below: https://forms.office.com/r/rFS0a2VEbK

Next Steps – Distribution to Community Based Child Care Programs

The ministry is currently finalizing the list of community-based child care programs and their rapid antigen test allotment for each of the 47 regions.

We recognize that distribution approaches will vary by service system manager (e.g. pick up at community centres, libraries, firehall, vaccine clinics).

The ministry will be responsible for notifying licensees about their assigned pick up locations, how to administer the tests and other information. We will work with all of you on the communication approach to ensure there is clear messaging on how community-based licensees can access their tests.

Please note, you are not required to collect data related to the use of tests / test results.

If you have any questions, please Odelia Tsang at Odelia.tsang@ontario.ca or 647-292¬1074.

This initiative builds on additional measures that were recently announced to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in child care including the provision of non-fit-tested N-95 masks for staff and providers.

I want to thank you again for your ongoing commitment and partnership in delivery safe, high-quality child care to families.

Please continue to let us know how we can support your efforts during this challenging time.

Thank you, 

Holly Moran