Infection prevention and control measures during outbreaks of illnesses

Exclusion of ill children and/or staff

Children and/or staff should stay at home when they have: 

During an outbreak, staff should be vigilant about monitoring children for symptoms of illness. Children returning to the child care centre or school after illness should be able to resume all regular activities.

Cohorting of ill children

If possible, ill children should be kept in a separate, supervised area that can be easily cleaned and disinfected, until a parent or guardian takes them home. 

Cleaning and disinfection

Routine cleaning and disinfection is essential to prevent the spread of germs. During outbreaks, you may need to take additional measures, including, but not limited to, the following: 

  • Ensure that the disinfectant used during an outbreak is effective to kill Norovirus, a virus which often results in enteric outbreaks
  • Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces at least twice a day
  • Avoid sensory play during outbreaks (e.g. water or sand activities, use of play-dough)
  • Remove shared items such as toys that cannot be easily cleaned and disinfected for the duration of the outbreak

Hand Hygiene

Hand hygiene is essential for all staff and children to prevent the spread of germs. Infants and young children should be supervised when performing hand hygiene to ensure it is done properly. Hand hygiene includes both hand washing and hand sanitizing and should be done more frequently during outbreaks.

You must ensure that:

  • Hands are washed with liquid soap and running water for at least 15 seconds if visibly soiled
  • Hands should be rubbed with 70-90% alcohol-based hand sanitizers for at least 15 seconds if not visibly soiled


Appropriate notices and posters should be posted at all entrances to advise parents, guardians, and visitors of an outbreak at the child care centre or school.

For more information, call the Ottawa Public Health Outbreak Reporting Line at 613-580-6744 ext 26325

Contact Us