What child care centers can do to avoid the spread of the Coronavirus in their facility

By Erika Rivera 11 March 2020

Will the Coronavirus outbreak affect your child care center?

As Coronavirus cases continue to rise, many child care centers and public schools have attempted to take preventative measures to avoid the spread of the virus and try to safeguard the health and well-being of their students and teachers. But, exactly what actions will secure the safety of those you care for and serve? Below are five essential steps every school and child care center should apply to keep this horrible virus from multiplying and causing disease.

Generate or update emergency operation plans

Preparation is always essential when and if you encounter a safety concern. It doesn’t matter whether this emergency involves an influenza case, the coronavirus, or any other infectious diseases. As with any emergency, it’s always important for everyone to know how to respond to safety concerns when they happen so that we can assist the sick individual and protect the health of everyone else. Having an emergency operation plan always gives people the knowledge to act on a situation and avoid worsening any scenario. For instance, The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention encourages child care centers to always have an emergency plan in place that includes strategies to reduce the spread of any disease. These strategies should cover: calling a child’s parents/doctor by locating the student emergency information through Child Journal, encouraging students and staff to appropriately wash their hands before and after eating, covering their mouth when coughing and sneezing, frequent cleaning of surfaces, and staying home at the start of any flu-like symptoms. People are much more productive when they know what to do. And being proactive can make a big difference in the health of everyone at your daycare center.

Monitor absences and have a plan in place for absenteeism

As with any debilitating disease, you may start to notice changes in attendance and unusual absent patterns that you may not want to ignore. Make sure that you note who’s been calling in sick and who’s trying to show up to work/school to meet their duties when not entirely healthy to do so. These individuals could be the source that put the rest of your students and staff at risk, as they attempt to show up to avoid losing their job or missing out on important educational activities. Make sure that you reassure them that it’s ok to stay home to prioritize their health and protect the health of others. If you know that teacher absences will affect the proper operation of your daycare, ensure that you make arrangements to temporarily cover these roles so that someone is available to fulfill their duties and children are appropriately cared for while they’re away.

Have students and staff follow a cleaning routine

Following a cleaning routine should be on the top list of your duties during this outbreak. Make sure you generate a cleaning routine that students and teachers could follow to kill germs and bacteria. You could have your teachers implement this routine between classes to ensure frequently touched surfaces are getting cleaned off, and people are not carrying any germs after handling these surfaces. Teachers could also involve the children in these cleaning practices so that the kids could understand why they’re cleaning and how keeping a sanitary environment will help secure their health. If you feel the need to include the children’s parents, don’t hesitate to message them through Child Journal and explain your cleaning plans so that they could promote these measures at home and possibly donate cleaning products that could help you fulfill this routine.

Keep the school community informed of the measures you’re taking to promote a safe environment

There’s no doubt that the coronavirus has raised plenty of tension and fear among people. Which is why you must attempt to transmit information that will generate comfort and ease. Ensure you and your staff are developing ways to inform your parents about the safety steps you’re taking to keep the daycare disease-free. Sending parents a few pictures of their child’s healthy routines through Child Journal could be a great way to showcase safety precautions and help bring calmness to each parent. You could also send newsletters to keep the school community updated about safety plans so that parents are in the loop of every activity.

You discovered a case of coronavirus at your school, what should you do?

Discovering a case of coronavirus at your school could be alarming, but there’s no need to begin feeling defenseless. Contact your local health officials so they could help you stop the transmission. They’ll evaluate the case and determine what actions need to be taken, including whether or not your school and childcare programs should cancel. Health official guidance is imperative during these situations and schools and childcare centers should always refer to their local health officers for information and advice. Your local health officials take pride in improving the health and safety of their communities, and they’re always ready to help you.

Click here to download the fact sheet provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.