Covid-19-Policies and Procedures-Pandemic Plan
At Harmony we are committed to continue to provide a welcoming and safe environment for all our children, families and staff. With direction from the Ministry of Education and the Brant County health Unit we have implemented the following policies and procedures:
Maximum Cohort Size and Ratio
-For the purposes of this document, a cohort is defined as a group of children and the staff members assigned to them, who stay together throughout the duration of the program for minimum 7 days.
-Maximum cohort size for each room in a child care centre will consist of no more than 24 preschool and 15 toddlers in each room (when at max capacity) plus staff (space permitting)
- Maximum capacity rules do not apply to Special Needs Resource staff on site ie. Lansdowne Enhanced Staffing or coverage staff.
- Each cohort must stay together throughout the day and are not permitted to mix with other cohorts.
-Coverage staff are allowed to work in up to 2 cohorts/rooms
-Frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected at least twice a day (for example, doorknobs, water fountain knobs, light switches, toilet and faucet handles, electronic devices, and tabletops).
-All surface, toys and equipment will be cleaned and disinfected daily and/or if they become soiled
-All common areas will be cleaned and disinfected daily and/or when they become soiled
-All shared outdoor equipment will be cleaned and disinfected after each use
Use of Masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
-Masks are not recommended for children; particularly those under the age of two (see information about the use of face coverings on the provincial COVID-19 website).
- Masks, gloves (if needed) and eye protection will be worn by the staff in the screening area and when accompanying children into the program from the screening area. -Masks and eye protection (face shield or goggles) must be worn by ALL staff while inside the centre. Masks are not required while outside if social distancing can be maintained.
Mask Exceptions While Indoors: 1.If a staff member is alone in a room (ex. Office, Kitchen, Cleaning classroom while no other children/staff are in the room) and will practice respiratory etiquette 2. If a staff member can maintain 6ft social distancing while in program (ex. meal times) and will practice respiratory etiquette
- When wearing a mask, staff will wash hands before donning the mask and before and after removing the mask.
- We will perform and promote frequent, proper hand hygiene (including supervising or assisting children with hand hygiene)
-Hand washing using soap and water is recommended over alcohol-based hand rub for children.
Screening for Symptoms
-All individuals including children attending child care, staff and child care providers, parents/guardians, and visitors must be screened for symptoms, recent travel and contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 each day before entering the child care setting, including daily temperature checks. -If a child or guardian answers “yes” to any screening questions or if the child has a fever the child will not be permitted to attend.
-All individuals will be asked to follow floor markers and stay 6ft back from the screening station.
-Alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol content will be placed at all screening stations. -Staff completing the screening will complete a screening log for each individual and wear a face mask, eye protection, gloves if in contact with families and wash hands before and after each screening.
Protocols When a Child or Staff Demonstrates Symptoms of Illness or Becomes Sick
-Staff, parents and guardians, and children must NOT attend the program if they are sick, even if symptoms resemble a mild cold.
- Symptoms to look for include but are not limited to: fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion, headache, and a general feeling of being unwell, vomiting or diarrhea.
-Children will be monitored for atypical symptoms and signs of COVID-19 and staff will self-monitor as well as participate in daily screens.
- If a child or child care staff/provider becomes sick while in the program, they will be isolated and parents/guardians contacted for pick-up.
-The sick person will be provided with tissues and reminded of hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and proper disposal of tissues.
- If the sick person is a child, a child care staff will remain with the child until a parent/guardian arrives.
-If tolerated and above the age of 2, the child should wear a surgical/procedure mask.
- As soon as the dedicated isolation staff is with the child in isolation, the child care staff will wash their hands and wear a new medical mask and eye protection. Staff will also not interact with others while child is in isolation. Once the child has gone home, the staff will wash their hands and is required to put on new PPE (mask, eye protection etc.)
-The child care staff should also avoid contact with the child’s respiratory secretions.
-All items used by the sick person should be cleaned and disinfected. All items that cannot be cleaned (paper, books, cardboard puzzles) should be removed and stored in a sealed container for a minimum of 7 days.
-Public health will be notified, and their advice will be followed. -Where a child or staff is suspected of having or has a confirmed case of COVID-19, the local health unit and Ministry of Education will first be notified. Other children, including siblings of the sick child, and child care staff/providers in the program who were present while the child or staff member/provider became ill will be identified as a close contact and further cohorted (i.e., grouped together) until they can be picked up by parents/guardians to self-isolate at home. The local public health unit will provide any further direction on testing and isolation of these close contacts. All other families will then be notified.
-If a child or staff has 1 or more symptoms and is not permitted to attend, it will be recommended that the child see a physician to see if a doctor’s note can be provided for them to return once symptom free or if Covid-19 testing is required.
Drop-Off and Pick-up Procedures
-Drop-off and pick-up will happen at a screening station located at the back entrance by the playground.
-Upon arrival, families will be instructed to wait outside the doors on ground markers or in vehicle until a staff member lets them into the screening area. If no staff member is at the screening area please call/text for entry.
-Only one family will be permitted in the screening area at a time. In the case of multiple families present during drop-off or pick-up, families waiting to enter the screening area are asked to wait outside on the ground markers or wait in their vehicle and call or text for entry. -Parents/guardians will not be permitted past the screening area and your child will be escorted to the classroom by a staff member.
-In the event your child is outside in the playground, parents/guardians are still required to be screened at the main entrance screening area before proceeding to the playground.
-Personal belongings (e.g., backpack, clothing, etc.) should be minimized. If brought, belongings are required to be labeled and kept in the child’s cubby/locker. Only bring items that are absolutely necessary.
-There will be no non-essential visitors at the program.
- Use of video and telephone interviews/meetings will be used to interact with families where possible, rather than in person.
-Ministry staff and other public officials (e.g. fire marshal, public health inspectors) are permitted to enter and inspect a child care centre and premises at any reasonable time. - Parents will not be allowed past the screening area unless deemed absolutely necessary
Equipment and Toy Usage and Restrictions
-We will only provide toys and equipment which are made of materials that can be cleaned and disinfected (e.g. no toys or equipment with cloth/plush material)
-Mouthed toys will be cleaned and disinfected immediately after the child is finished using it.
-Any shared outdoor toys/equipment will be cleaned and disinfected after each cohort has used it
-We will not be using shared sensory materials (e.g., play dough, water, sand, etc.)
-Play structures can only be used by one cohort at a time. (Only one class in each side of the playground at a time)
Space Set-Up and Physical Distancing
-The ministry recognizes that physical distancing between children in a child care setting is difficult and encourages child care staff to maintain a welcoming and caring environment for children.
-When setting up the play space, physical distancing of at least 2 meters will be maintained between cohorts and will be encouraged, where possible, between children within the same cohort: spreading children out into different areas, particularly at meal and dressing time, incorporating more individual activities or activities that encourage more space between children and using visual cues to promote physical distancing.
-Increase the distance between cots or place the children head to toe or toe to toe
.-Recognizing that physical distancing is difficult with small children and infants, some additional measures include: planning activities that do not involve shared objects or toys; when possible, moving activities outside to allow for more space; and avoiding singing activities indoors.
-All children are required to bring their own sunscreen and ensure it is properly labeled (there will be no sharing of sunscreen).
-No outside food is permitted at the centre at this time (Snacks, breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc.)