Childcare providers face unique challenges when designing a plan to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Telling five-year-olds to stay six feet apart has a different result than giving adults the same instruction. Many parents are concerned about sending their children to child care facilities and exposing them to the risk of infection. So how do we create a safe environment and system for childcare and ease parents’ concerns? Careful planning and the establishment of procedures can go a long way. Communicating those procedures with parents through a number of outlets and posting them at the front of the facility will offer a sense of clarity and help answer questions. We can take steps to provide children with proper care and healthful practices.
The CDC lists specific advice for child care facilities as we move forward with reopening or maintaining during this testing time. More detailed suggestions can be found on the CDC website. Below are some basic guidelines:
Arrival and Attendance
- Implement screening procedures upon arrival for staff and children. The CDC recommends that individuals with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher should not be admitted.
- Establish a plan for what to do if a child is sick, and design an isolated space the child can stay in until a parent arrives.
- Create a hand hygiene center at the front of the building so children can sanitize before entering.
- Require sick children and staff to stay home.
- Recruit extra caregivers to cover shifts of those who must stay home.
- Adults and children should wash hands often with soap and water. If soap and water is not available, a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can be used. Monitor hand sanitizer use with children.
- Create a plan for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, especially those that are used most frequently. Toys and nap mats should be disinfected regularly.
- Cloth toys should be used by only one child or not used at all.
- Instruct children to cover coughs and sneezes.
- Consider using face masks for staff and children over the age of two.
- Keep children in small groups. If possible, use the same room for the same group all day with the same caregiver. Limiting exposure to other groups helps minimize the risk of transmission.
- Stagger recess so that each group plays individually. Disinfect equipment after each group.
Drop-Off and Pick-Up
- Limit direct contact between parents and staff members as much as possible. Designate a few staff members to greet children outside, and consider staggering drop-off times.
- Try to ensure that the same person is responsible for drop-off and pick-up each day.
Childcare is an essential and crucial component to the fabric of our daily lives. Enforcing social behaviors and cleaning practices at this level will achieve great strides in mitigating the effects of COVID-19. Diligence in following the procedures and guidelines outlined by public health officials are vital. While providers face a set of daunting challenges, many resources are available to provide assistance. As always, please contact us if we can help.
Our goal at Benee’s Inc., is to be a resource to our clients during this time of change. As always, we remain committed to providing you with customized furniture solutions, even as we are constantly adapting to the new requirements of COVID-19 preparedness. If you have an idea, Benee’s is here to help fulfill that idea – if you dream it, we can build it.