Published 5 Sep 2023
Nursery and Childcare Reopening
After the Statewide school closure announcement as a repercussion of the global COVID-19 pandemic, nurseries and childcare institutions have been responsive to temporarily close their facilities, both at the beginning of the pandemic and as outbreaks occur. This closure has been a challenge not just for the business but for the parents as well. A responsibility to keep their children safe as the society pace and adapt to the “new normal”.
As outbreaks come and go, so does the reopening of nurseries and childcare. Restrictions are constantly evolving and may change depending on the number of recorded positive cases. In response to that, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends moving forward to implement safety precautions as part of daily habits to reduce the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
In this article
- How to Deal with Risks when Reopening Nurseries and Childcare
- Digital Resource to Help Implement Reopening Safety Measures
- Featured Nursery and Childcare Reopening Checklists
How to Deal with Risks when Reopening Nurseries and Childcare
Reopening nurseries and childcare is a crucial responsibility for business owners. The accountability to develop and implement a plan to prevent the risk of COVID-19 and ensure the safety of children while under the care of the institution. Here are some helpful tips on how to deal with risks when reopening nurseries and childcare:
Encourage Employees to Undergo COVID-19 Testing
Anybody can be a carrier of the COVID-19 virus, others may experience visible symptoms but some can be asymptomatic. Children are vulnerable and this is why it is advisable for nurseries and daycare employees to be tested prior to reopening. If the test shows a “positive” results, the employee should not be allowed to return to work and must be coordinated with health care as soon as possible.
Screen Employees and Children
Employees and parents of incoming children should be interviewed online to trace possible symptoms and history of exposure. It is advisable to disclose needed information to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The institution should prepare the facility to screen children and employees upon their arrival. A temperature check should be enforced before entering the premises.
Promote Healthy Hygiene Practices
The World Health Organization (WHO) alongside with Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) releases guidelines to promote frequent hand washing and employee face mask usage. Take note “cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.” Also, the institutions should conduct online health and safety training to ensure all employees are competent to follow the “new normal” precautionary measures.
Limit the Number of Children
Cap the number of children in one room to avoid close contact and increase spacing for a maximum of 2 tables apart to promote social distancing. Keep an eye on the distance between children not playing together and while having their nap time. If feasible, limit the activities of mixing between groups, playing outdoors, and sharing of items such as toys, belongings, supplies, and equipment.
Sanitize the Facility
Intensify facility cleaning, sanitization, and disinfection prior to nursery and childcare reopening.
Clean all surfaces, equipment, and supplies with soap and water to reduce the risk of exposure. Use the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved disinfectants on frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, handrails, light switches, toilet flush handles, and more. Inspect the condition of the ventilation systems and water supply to prevent diseases caused by Legionella bacteria.
Enforce a Monitoring Plan
Record children’s and employees’ health issues including signs and symptoms of illnesses encountered while inside daycare premises. Plan and implement emergency procedures on how to handle and communicate with authorities if there would be a confirmed case of COVID-19.
Digital Resource to Help Implement Reopening Safety Measures
In order to ensure the safety of the children, as well as thrive from a business perspective, compliance with precautionary measures is vital to the operation of nursery and daycare. Using a mobile software platform like SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor) institutions can implement sensible daycare safety measures easily. To get you started we have collected nursery and daycare reopening checklists designed to help businesses to get back on track after a temporary closure caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Disclaimer: Please note that this checklist is a hypothetical example and provides basic information only. It is not intended to take the place of medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should also seek your own professional advice to determine if the use of such a checklist is permissible in your workplace or jurisdiction.
Featured Nursery and Childcare Reopening Checklists
A COVID-19 childcare inspection checklist is used to ensure all necessary preventative measures were in place and followed by the organization to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. It helps in delivering care within the school setting and prepares the facility to operate safely even in the midst of an evolving pandemic.
A school cleaning checklist is a tool used to guide facility maintenance in inspecting school areas if properly cleaned, sanitized, and maintained. It helps assess the readiness of the facility as well as the availability of bathroom and school supplies.