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Many childcare facilities and daycare centers remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide childcare for the children of essential workers. Here are the things you should know about your daycare during the COVID-19 pandemic to make sure you feel comfortable with their modified procedures and process:
Ensure that your daycare has put health guidelines in place for the staff that are followed throughout the day. These should include things such as frequent handwashing. Ask your daycare if they have sufficient supplies of hand soap and paper towels.
Make sure your daycare has a policy and plan in place for dealing with a child who becomes sick while receiving care. This should include separating the child from the other children to isolate the illness. The daycare should also have an established plan for disinfecting the facility should a child or staff member become ill.
Ask your daycare to explain their policies for employee sick leave. You want to make sure staff receives paid sick leave (so that they don’t come to work ill) and that your daycare has a plan for providing coverage when a member of the staff is out. Be sure to ask how the substitutes will be vetted for current health status, trained on policies and what guidelines exist for staff returning to work after an illness.
Understand the daycare’s policies about sick children and/or ill family members.
Inquire about social distancing within the facility. Things you might look for are: 1. Small, consistent groups of children with the same staff member(s). 2. Staggered playground and common room times with proper cleaning between each group of children. 3. Proper spacing (6 feet or more) between mats and cots at naptime. 4. No shared mats, cots, or blankets in the sleeping spaces.
Ask about modified drop-off and pick-up procedures. Daycares should have a drop-off and pick-up process that includes hand sanitizer stations near any parent sign-in, sign-out sheets. Parents should wait six feet away from other families who are coming and going at the same time. Ideally the daycare would offer staggered drop-off and pick-up times to limit the quantity of people near the facility at any given time.
Learn about the daycare’s end of day cleaning and sanitizing routine. Childcare facilities should be undertaking additional procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic to make sure everything from toys to desks to doorknobs and cubbies are being disinfected after each day that children are present.
Understand the daycare’s procedures for communicating with families around both routine procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic and emergency communication.
While these are unchartered times for families and childcare providers, working together to stay informed about best practices and follow appropriate guidelines will help to protect the health and safety of our communities.