Reopening your childcare center and enforcing safety measures

By Erika Rivera 21 June 2020

Securing your teachers' and students' health and safety is probably your main concern as you reopen your child care center. Below is a list of the most accurate safety measures you can follow to ensure you can securely operate your center and lessen the risk of COVID-19.

Continue your routine cleaning and hand-hygiene behaviors

The importance of cleanliness can never be stressed enough during this COVID-19 outbreak. Cleaning and personal hygiene can slow or even prevent the spread. Therefore, both teachers and students must continue to enforce a disease-free atmosphere where it’s safe for everyone to engage in. Set a routine where both teachers and students can implement cleanliness. Incorporate cleanliness into your lessons so that kids can understand why frequent cleaning and handwashing must continue and how it’s going to help them and their classmates. Taking the time to inform your students about these precautions helps them be aware of the current circumstances and encourages them to be more eager to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

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Work with the same group of children each day

Working with the same group of children each day can lessen the spread of COVID-19. Start by creating a plan that details who is working with what group as a reminder to teachers of the measures they must follow to secure everyone's safety. Ensure that these safety practices are also being followed during activity times by encouraging each teacher to create a lesson plan with specific dates and times so that everyone can learn each other's plans and avoid mixing the kids with a different group. One convenient way for teachers to stay in the loop of their plans is to use Child Journal to register lesson plans and activity times. Child Journal is an excellent option if you want to stay connected, work productively, and ensure safety practices are properly implemented.

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Screen for symptoms and illness

There are three ways you can implement screening at your facility to secure everyone's health and safety at your center. You can begin by involving the parents and communicating with them before they arrive at your school to learn details of their child’s health and encourage them to check for symptoms that may be of concern or present a threat to your facility. Ensure that each parent confirms with you that their child has no temperature, shortness of breath, or cough to ensure the child is disease- free.

The second option involves utilizing glass barriers that can help screen a child who is arriving at school. These barriers can serve as protection to you and your staff when checking for a temperature or any other signs and symptoms. Before each inspection, ensure that your teachers and staff are following safety practices. Washing their hands, wearing gloves, and reaching around the barrier to conduct temperature screening should always be implemented. If you are using the same thermometer for each student, it’s vital that you thoroughly sanitize it in between each check as well as use a new pair of gloves.

The third option is to wear personal protective equipment like face masks if you have them. Ensure that you are protecting yourself by adequately adjusting your mask in a way that fully covers the front and the side of your face, thoroughly washing your hands before and after each screening, and following safety guidelines as you conduct a visual inspection.

Once you’ve learned that each child can be admitted safely to school, encourage your parents to check them in using the Child Journal kiosk. The Child Journal kiosk eliminates the need to handle paper check-in/out logs and lessens person to person contact so that you can feel more confident about checking in/out your child to school.

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Encourage teachers to discuss the importance of wearing masks and help children feel confident about the new normal.

As adults, we don’t have much trouble adjusting to new atmospheres or accepting new changes. But changes don’t always come easily and can be frightening to children, especially young kids. Which is why teachers need to implement opportunities where kids can learn why they are wearing face masks to minimize any fear or tension that may be brought on due to the use of protective equipment. Young children usually rely on people’s faces to obtain signals that help them feel safe. And face coverings can make kids feel nervous and uneasy. Therefore, teachers need to find ways to teach children that facemasks are a normal part of their everyday world. For example, creating activities where children can engage in dramatic play and pretend that they are doctors and nurses. These creative engagements can encourage children to get used to face masks and understand that they are harmless and nothing to be afraid of. Keep in mind that the health and safety of your students and staff should be on the top list of your priorities. Therefore, if it’s necessary to involve your parents on your mission to make masks feel normal at your center, have them engage in activities at home where they can talk about face masks and make a few personalized ones with their kids to make the idea fun. Teachers can ensure that these at-home activities are considered by contacting parents through Child Journal and encouraging them to take part in these efforts to continue exposing them to positive patterns while at home.

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