Communication is the key during a pandemic. St. Ann’s Childcare will send out emails to parents to let them know what is going on step by step. It is important for families to know that in the case of a pandemic our childcare can close with little or no notice. If we are unable to operate safely we will close our doors until further notice.
It is of upmost importance that our staffs are aware of new protocols during a pandemic. We will accomplish this by offering them training and supplying them with reading materials and up to date information.
Distancing and Physical Contact
St. Ann’s childcare is an Infant/Toddler program. We are a small childcare centre with a family feel environment. This along with a group code of ethics will help us keep our exposure to a minimum. While physical distancing is encouraged in the general public it becomes much more difficult with children. Some strategies can help encourage physical distancing among young children however these strategies are not an assurance that children will adhere to physical distancing and will not engage in physical contact with others. While I believe children are resilient and capable, I also believe that they naturally learn through physical contact. It is through these experiences that the children gain essential skills for life; and the context of which they experience these situations will impact their development. So all encouraged distancing practices will be implemented with great care and attention to the children’s whole wellbeing while keeping advised safety precautions intact as much as possible.
St. Ann’s childcare centre will endeavor to encourage but NOT enforce physical distancing in the childcare setting by utilizing the following methods: role modelling and reminders, positive reinforcement (verbal encouragement/affirmations, stories, books, songs and other literacy extensions) and room arrangements/furniture placement. A strong focus will be placed on emotional literacy because verbally identifying and sharing feelings becomes even more important to gaining self-regulation skills as long physical contact is seen as less acceptable. However, although physical distancing will be encouraged gently and in a developmentally appropriate way, physical contact will not be eliminated. Children will still need comfort and hugs when big emotions arise, they will still want to sit close to read a book or during learning activities, and they still need support for personal and hygiene issues such as hand washing, toileting and putting on shoes etc.
St. Ann’s Childcare will not utilize the following conduct to encourage or enforce physical distancing: negative verbal statements, physically obstructing or restraining children, rejection of children’s advances for affection during the day and at times of emotional sorrow.
Distancing at Nap time
At nap time St. Ann’s Childcare will ensure that nap cots are spaced out as much as possible. We will do our best to place children head to toe in order to further reduce the potential for viral spread. Bedding will be stored individually and laundered weekly as normal.
Only one door will be used for drop-off and pick-up. The door is located beside the playground area. WE WILL NOT BE USING ANY OTHER ENTRANCE OR EXIT!
Drop off and pickup will happen just outside the above mentioned door.
Parents are not permitted to enter the building and walk through the daycare at pick up and drop off times. Unfortunately, our open door policy will also be suspended until further notice. Children will be admitted by a staff member who will sign your child in and out to keep contact to a minimum. If you arrive at the same time as another parent we encourage you to wait in your car until that parent has left. Children and staff will wash hands upon arrival at the childcare centre.
Children’s diapers will be changed as frequently as needed and in the same way as usual. The precaution for health and safety in these instances is to wear gloves and thoroughly disinfect all surfaces and to wash hands of both the child and the caregiver. When changing a child’s diaper St. Ann’s Childcare staff will continue to use safe diapering practices.
As per the BC CDC (Center for Disease Control) child care providers can protect themselves by:
• Routinely washing hands
• disinfecting surfaces throughout the day and disinfecting at the end of the day
• wearing gloves and a mask as needed/masks are not required by Fraser Health
• staying home when ill
• Staying healthy through good nutrition, vitamins, sleep and exercise.
Talking with Children about Covid-19
At St. Ann’s Childcare centre we will talk about Covid-19 in developmentally appropriate ways. Below are some points recommended by the BC CDC.
• When talking about Covid-19 remain calm and reassuring.
• We will make ourselves available to talk to and will not shut down questions surrounding Covid-19, the pandemic or new protocols in the childcare setting
• Children will be given information that is honest, accurate, and developmentally appropriate
• Children will be taught ways to reduce the spread of Covid-19 through modelling, reminders, stories and games
• Parents should also have conversations with their children at home about Covid-19, hygiene practices and physical distancing to positively educate them with the reasons for these changes at Childcare. Non-entry for parents and need for extra hand washing are a couple topics to be discussed at home before attending for the first time.
Group Code of Ethics
Families agree to continue to physically distance themselves and their children to their family bubble and extended bubble of 1-6 extended family or friends and from there follow the recommendations of Dr. Henry as our social bubbles are allowed to get larger.
Families agree to keep their children home for a minimum of 10 days if any signs of COVID-19 develop in their children or anyone in their family. Children may be allowed to return sooner with a Dr.’s note or COVID-19 negative test. These include fever, cold, runny nose, cough, and signs of fatigue or flu. Parents agree to have anyone tested in their home that shows symptoms and to share any positive results with the St. Ann’s Childcare staff. These results will then be shared with Fraser Health and all other families who attend our childcare centre.
Parents agree that children with any underlying health concerns should not attend daycare during the COVID-19 Pandemic unless their Dr. says it is safe to do so.
St. Ann’s Childcare agrees to have limited access to the daycare from anyone outside our daycare community as much as possible. Some exceptions may need to be made for Fraser Health inspections and Child Development assessments for our children who are a part of the child development program. We will require that visitors wear masks and practice social distancing and try and visit during outdoor play time.
Environmental Precautions and Frequent Cleaning
St. Ann’s childcare centre will limit the amount and type of toys that will be available to the children. These toys will be disinfected often. Toys that the children have put in their mouth will go into a bucket in the sink and will not be used until sanitized.
Soft toys, sensory bins, dramatic play costumes will be eliminated indefinitely.
St. Ann’s childcare will practice enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols that are in line with typical practices during an outbreak of respiratory illness and the recommendations of the BC CDC, Ministry of Health and Fraser Health’s Childcare Licensing Regulations. Strong attention will be given to high touch surfaces (doorknobs, tables, faucets, bathrooms, light switches etc.) that will be disinfected as often as needed and at the end of each day. We will use a bleach mixture of 2 Tablespoons of bleach per one cup of water mixture made daily as needed.
Screening Children upon Arrival
With the guidance of the Canadian Disease Control St. Ann’s Childcare has created a COVID-19 Health and Wellness statement to help with screening children before arrival at daycare. A COVID-19 Statement of Health form is attached at the end of this policy. This will not be in affect forever, but for the time being while we are still in this pandemic we are asking that you screen your children before sending them to daycare each day. We are not asking you to fill out the form but we trust that you will carry out this check before leaving your home. This is a list of the things you must check before you send your child to the childcare. If there is anything the teachers should be aware of please let them know. Please remember that you should have back up care set up in case your child does not pass this health check or in case your child becomes sick while at childcare. You must also have a backup person to pick up your child if you have a job that you cannot leave quickly because if your child gets sick while in our care they will need to be picked up right away.
Please leave all personal belongings at home. If there is a personal item your child cannot do without (eg. A stuffy for nap time) we ask that you send it in a bag and that it stays at the childcare centre and does not go back and forth.
Children will need their own sunscreen bottle to be labelled and left at the childcare centre.
We will create individual CRAFT BAG for each child.
Hand washing and Masks
Staff will assist children with correct handwashing with soap and water for a minimum of 20-30 seconds according to CDC’s guidelines. Hand sanitizer stations will be set up for staff.
Staff and parents can practice with the children good hand washing technique by singing to the tune of Row, Row, Row your Boat the following words;
“Wash, Wash, Wash your hands, thumbs and fingers too
Rub a dub Rub a dub that’s the thing to do”.
Sing this through twice to make hand washing fun.
Children and staff must wash their hands when they arrive at the daycare, after bathroom time, before meals and after outdoor play and any other time that staff feel it is necessary.
Masks are not recommended at daycares at this time. Children will not need masks to attend and teachers do not need to wear masks but may choose to if they feel the need.
Programming Curriculum and Play
Many toys and books have been removed from our daycare. With less toys, cleaning is easier and some items such as books have been removed as they are not easy to clean. Although books will not be left out at this time teachers will still read books to the children. The staff will make each child their own playdough which will be kept in a labelled Ziploc bag. Sand and water table and sensory bin play is suspended at this time as well. We will be adding more OUTDOOR play time to our childcare centre since outside is a safer place to be at this time. Please send your child with their own bottle of sunscreen and weather- appropriate clothes.
If a Child or Staff member Becomes Sick at the childcare Centre
The BC CDC states that childcare centers will need to take additional precautions to maintain the health and safety of their employees and the children they care for…Measures that will be implemented to reduce transmission in childcare settings include routine daily screenings routine and frequent environmental cleaning and an explicit policy for children and staff who have the symptoms of a cold, flu or COVID-19 not coming into the daycare.
Despite all these precautions there is no way to fully ensure that children do not get sick from common illnesses or COVID-19. It is important for us to be prepared and have a plan in place for what will happen if a child becomes sick at childcare.
St. Ann’s Childcare centre will separate a sick child as much as possible from the rest of the group, call the parents to pick up immediately, remove any toys that need to be disinfected, open windows to increase air circulation and clean and disinfect common areas. The sick child will be excluded from the daycare for a minimum of 10 days or until all symptoms are completely resolved. If the child’s symptoms are COVID-19 symptoms the child may not return until they have a note from a Dr. or a COVID-19 negative test. If neither of these is provided they must not return for 10 days and only if symptoms have subsided. Child care fees are due regardless of attendance. There will be no refunds or credits unless government funding provides for reimbursement. If a staff member becomes sick at work and a substitute is not available we will need to close the facility and all children must be picked up.
Thank you for your understanding. I realize this is a lot of information to read but we want to assure our families that we are making every effort to keep your children safe. We have your children and our staff’s health and safety as our main concern and priority and we thank you for being extra diligent and patient during this difficult time. Working collaboratively will enable us to create a safe environment.
We will come out the other side of this if we all work together. I want to add that if a parent has any concerns or questions please email me (Sr. Suzana Tairo) at firstname.lastname@example.org