Caring for our children in and around Covid-19
Over the past six weeks there have been many webinars on education, many ‘experts’ offering opinions and a huge amount of discussion on what Early Learning Centres should or should not be doing.
It is armed with this information that we can make an informed decision as to the way forward.
With the NZ government advising children to stay home in level three, and with only a very small number of children with parents in ‘essential services’, we made the decision to remain closed until level 2.
Whilst our centre is not open over Level 3, our teachers have been keeping in touch with their children daily. The communication flow from teachers to children, to children’s parents and back has been heart-warming.
When we all return in Level 2, there will be a real connection that continues to exist between all the Kiddywinkles’ whanau. We are one big family and we all want the very best for our children.
Our child’s health is paramount. This is what we are doing.
Current Hygiene Policy:
Kiddywinkles currently has a best practice Hygiene Policy and Health and Safety Policy.
Hand sanitisers: Each room and our reception have hand sanitisers. Kiddywinkles also carries good back up supply on site.
Hand washing: Children’s hands are washed when they arrive at our centre as well as before and after meals, after bathroom visits and regularly throughout the day.
Cleaning: Kiddywinkles is professionally cleaned everyday by a contract company to ensure maximum hygiene for when you return the following day. In addition, our teachers clean and sanitise tabletops and toys throughout the day.
No soft toys: If toys cannot be washed or sanitised, they are not used.
Classroom temperatures: Kiddywinkles operate each room at the required temperature. As per the MoE regulations, all our classrooms will beset at 18 degrees Celsius.
Teachers safety: There is a full Work and Safety Policy in place to ensure our teachers are always looked after and can in-turn look after your little ones.
New Covid-19 prevention rules:
Our teachers are 100% on board in ensuring that when we return in level 2, Kiddywinkles can give you peace of mind in knowing we have left no stone unturned in ensuring your child is safe.
In addition to our already stringent hygiene procedures, we have introduced additional processes to ensure the safety of your child.
1. CONTACTLESS THERMOMETER CHECKS FOR ENTRY
· All staff, parents, whanau,children, directors will be checked outside the front entrance/door for high temperature ('at least 38degC" as specified by the Ministry of health);
· If there is a queue then please observe physical distancing while you wait;
· If anyone has a high temperature, they will not be allowed in the centre;
· Turning children away like this will be managed kindly, respectfully, and sensitively. Any mat time,singing or group activities within the centre may be live on ZOOM so that the unwell child can at least connect and participate with us;
· We want to be as inclusive as we can, while enforcing this strict rule for the health and safety of everyone in the centre as well as our nation;
· The parent should then contact Healthline on 0800 358 5453. for their next steps, before returning to our centre.
2. ON ARRIVAL (DROP OFF) TO OUR CENTRE:
· Parents will not be able to enter our classrooms. Instead parents will be asked to bring their child to the outer front door or reception, where a teacher will greet you, take both your temperatures, and if under 38degC will welcome your child inside and sign them into our safe "bubble"classrooms and playgrounds;
· Parents will then fill out and sign our contact tracing register.
· your child will wash their hands immediately upon arriving and be ready for a day of "clean fun";
· Only one family member should bring your child to the front door (this is to limit crowding and apply social distancing at our entrances).
3. ON PICKUP AT OUR CENTRE
· Parents will not be allowed to enter our centre and classrooms. Instead parents will wait outside the front door/reception. One of our teachers will wash your child's hands and bring your child to you for you to sign them out.(i.e. transfer your child from our safe centre bubble into your safe home bubble.
4. "BUBBLES" COMPRISING 10 CHILDREN:
· Kiddywinkles' indoor spaces are separated by age groups and the ability to make "bubbles" is easier for us than other "open plan" style buildings. We will have the ability to have four bubbles, three over 2's and one under 2's. These bubbles have their own access to the required facilities, meal spaces, bathrooms, playgrounds, excluding the need to share spaces at any point during level 2.
· As per the Ministry of Education's new COVID rules, each child's micro-bubble" (3 sqm per child) may occupy space inside a "bubble" of 10 children and their teachers in our rooms. These "mini-bubbles" will remain together during each day as a tight group;
· Our Adult child ratios will remain during each day as we have always maintained to ensure highest quality care and education;
· We will work with parents on needs basis (i.e. essential workers, parents who must return to work etc) in determining the priority based makeup of each "bubble" group.
5. NO ENTRY IF SYMPTOMATIC: if any teacher or parent or child feels any of the COVID 19 symptoms as stated on the Ministry of Health website:
· a cough
· a high temperature (at least 38 degrees Celsius)
· shortness of breath
· sore throat
· sneezing and runny nose
· temporary loss of smell,
they will not be allowed into our centre. See guidelines here:https/covid19.govt.nz/.
6. NO ENTRY IF SYMPTOMATIC: if any parent starts to feel any of the COVID 19 symptoms while at work during the day, and if there is no other pickup option for the child, then before entering into our centre to pickup their child, they must call our centre and wait outside the front gate. One of our teachers will sign out and bring their child to them. They parent should then contact Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for their next steps, before returning to our centre.
7. NO FEES IF FORCED TO BE AWAY: We understand that the entire world is in uncharted waters, so we are lifting up to the "spirit of the law", rather than the "letter of the law". We want to be as kind and as respectful and as supportive as we can to help you through this if you and your child need to stay at home due to having COVID19 symptoms.
8.CANCELLATION OF ENROLMENT: if any parent is found negligent, or puts our community at risk or fails to follow our rules and Ministry of Health guidelines, then their enrolment will be cancelled and we may be required to report them to the Ministry of Health.
9. NO ENTRY FOR VISITORS: we have shifted all non-essential meetings at our centre into ZOOM meetings for the foreseeable future.
10. NO ENTRY FOR WALK-INS: we do not allow walk-ins by anyone with no-enrolled children in our centre for the foreseeable future.
11. NO EXCURSIONS: we have postponed all centre excursions for the foreseeable future to eliminate contact with strangers or unclean surfaces.There is ample exciting discovery, exploration and fun awaiting our children.
12. CENTRE TOURS: New parents wishing to enrol must be asymptomatic and must use our hand sanitisers or wash their hands on site before the tour. We will maintain a 1m distance rule as per requirements here https://covid19.govt.nz/. New parents being toured will not need to touch/contact anything. Once enrolled, rules #1-#13 continue to apply for the foreseeable future.
13.GREETINGS: Friendly waves will be practiced at our centre from now on.
14. OTHER HYGIENE PRACTICES
The following will be removed during Level 3:
· toys and equipment that cannot be easily sanitized,
· food role play items,
· play dough and clay,
· some sensory and messy play,
· finger paints,
· blankets, pillows and dress-ups,
The centre shall continue to be professionally cleaned daily at the end of each day. During the day door handles, commonly touched surfaces and in-use resources shall be sanitised regularly.
Children shall be well spread out at meal times. If necessary meal times will be staggered. No food or drink may be shared. Children’s hands and faces must be cleaned both before and after eating. Staff shall eat separately from the children, remembering to wash their hands first.
All normal hygiene practices shall be followed.
Further information for you:
Just to remind you also that COVID-19 is not an illness that impacts heavily on tamariki and young people. An article by Dr Gary Payinda in the NZ Herald highlights this:
- The young are less likely to get infected, less likely to get seriously ill, and less likely to spread the infection to others
- When kids are affected, the illness is almost always mild. Luckily, unlike flu or many other infectious diseases, tamariki with Covid are not super-spreaders
- Covid is not measles or chickenpox, it doesn't hang in the air for hours waiting to infect passers-by. It travels on invisible drops of spit. You don't have to cross the street to avoid anyone. Just avoid getting in their 'moist breath' zone
- Make hand hygiene a habit - more than being scared of runners passing by, touching groceries, or standing in queues at the supermarket, we should be afraid of our own hands.
You will also be interested to know there have been no confirmed instances of a person with COVID-19 who did not go on to develop symptoms,spreading the virus. For more information on how COVID-19 is spread go to the Ministry of Health website