Utilizing Your Organization as a Child Care Center
If your organization is approached to be used as a feeding location, or if you are serving as a child care provider for healthcare and emergency workers…
First and foremost, continue to communicate with your local health department and stay up-to-date using reliable news sources. Situations may change hour-to-hour, and leadership will need to stay flexible and be prepared to communicate changes.
Follow CDC Guidelines & State Mandates
Redwoods is recommending the following CDC guidelines should you choose to remain open for this purpose. Please refer to the following CDC guidelines and checklists as you prepare:
- Guidance for School Settings
- Environmental and Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations
- Checklist for Teachers and Parents
It’s also important that you follow the recommendations and mandates of your health departments and State and Local government entities. If you are a licensed childcare program, and you would like to run a program in a facility that hasn’t been approved by the state, consult with your local state childcare licensing agency.
Implement Existing Policies
If you do stay open, even for limited use, review and implement all of your existing policies, including emergency action plans and health related policies. It’s important to treat this program as you would any other program during normal operation. Emphasize the following:
Cleanliness & Sanitation
- Stay home when sick. Staff and children should not return to work/programming until 48 hours fever-free without any medical intervention (including over-the-counter fever reducing medication). Adhere to your standard sick-child policy. Please note that the CDC does not require you to screen youth.
- Frequently wash hands. Stock and encourage staff and children to frequently use hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol per CDC recommendations.
- Frequently clean and sanitize surfaces. This includes toys, play surfaces, restrooms, diapering surfaces, etc.
- Use additional Personal Protective Equipment. This includes gloves and masks (if appropriate) with infants (diapering, runny nose, etc.).
- Designate quarantine spaces. Use this space when a child or staff feels ill.
- Practice social distancing (Source American Academy of Pediatrics). Even when children are present.
- Follow proper cleaning protocols. Consider the following:
- Who is responsible for cleaning the organization? Will that be contracted out?
- Have any cleaning crews been trained on the chemicals they are using?
- Will your cleaning contractor be providing your organization with appropriate cleaning supplies to perform regular cleanings throughout the day?
- Clearly identify who you will serve. Essential workers—some examples include, but not limited to, civic, public safety, first responders, hospitals and nursing home employees.
- Limit the number you serve. Follow any public health guidelines in your area regarding group size and maintain your standard best practices regarding ratios at a minimum. We recommend groups be limited to no more than 10 per space—2 staff and 8 children max (less children if the age group requires it to maintain ratio).
- Follow all of your established policies regarding supervision of youth. Reiterate and retrain as needed on those pertaining to abuse prevention strategies, age-appropriate programming, bathroom supervision policies, ratios and prohibiting 1:1 interaction.
- Have a contract or Memorandum of Understanding in place. This is done if you are operating in partnership or using a third-party facility. Be sure to get a Certificate of Insurance if possible. Have your written agreement reviewed by your local counsel, and Redwoods is happy to review (for risk/liability sharing purposes only).
- Follow all standard employment practices. Specifically concerning sick time.
- Follow your normal registration process. Have all required forms and waivers completed including the needs of the child, important information staff should know and emergency contacts.
- Vet new locations. If you are serving in a new location, ask yourself if it’s suitable and safely set up for age-appropriate programming. Be sure the space meets insurance and licensure standards.
- Implement a comprehensive communication plan. This will allow you to quickly and frequently communicate with parents/guardians and your staff.
- Report positive COVID-19 cases. All confirmed cases of COVID-19 of a child in programming must be reported to local health officials.
- Communicate with the children. Continue to communicate with youth in your care about COVID-19 in age appropriate ways (Source American Academy of Pediatrics)
Thank you for your patience as we all work together to serve our communities in new and different ways during this ever-evolving situation. Should there be new guidance, we will let you know as soon as we have more information.
Additional Reputable Sources