Sunday 9 August, 2020

Coronavirus: Day care centres, summer camps get green light

Little boy playing mathematics wooden toy at day care. (Photo: iStock)

Little boy playing mathematics wooden toy at day care. (Photo: iStock)

Day care centres, which have been closed since March to limit the spread of COVID-19 on the island, will reopen as of Tuesday, July 21 for an initial 10 days.

Also, summer camps will be allowed to operate for a period of 10 days from July 21.

The announcement was made Tuesday afternoon by the Minister of Local Government, Desmond McKenzie, during a ministerial statement in the House of Representatives.

The minister said the reopening of day care centres will allow parents to return to work. He said the facilities must be fully compliant with COVID-19 protocols.

McKenzie stressed that parents and guardians are not compelled to take their children to day care facilities.

The following protocols must be observed by the operators of day care centres:

- Must be fully compliant with COVID-19 testing protocols. Where possible, staff should be tested before being approved to work. There must be temperature checks of all persons on each entry to the day care centre.

- There must be adequate staff supervision of children, using the following ratio: Children up to 12 months: one adult to five children. Children 13 – 35 months: one adult to eight children. Children three to five years: one adult to 10 children.

- There must be multiple thermometers available for screening children, and these devices should be cleaned and disinfected after each use. Anyone with a fever (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit/38 degrees Celsius or higher) must be sent home. 

- Children must be observed for signs of runny nose, cough, fever, or gastro-intestinal symptoms. There must be an isolation area for anyone who exhibits symptoms.

- All rooms must be cleaned and sanitised ​at least twice daily. Restrooms are to be cleaned and disinfected every hour.

- Frequently touched areas as well as toys must be sanitised frequently. Toys made from cloth must not be used.

- Seating and sleeping areas must be rearranged to ensure at least three to six feet between each child. Large groups must not be allowed in common areas. 

As it relates to summer day camps, McKenzie said these will be allowed to operate subject to compliance with the health protocols. They will be allowed to operate from 8am to 5pm daily.

- The use of touchless trash cans is encouraged so as to provide a hands-free way to dispose of tissues and contaminants.

- Seating and sleeping areas must be rearranged to ensure at least three to six feet between each child.

- Large groups must not be allowed in common areas.

- Play equipment must be spaced at least six feet apart otherwise such equipment must not be used.

- Exercise and play must only be done outdoors with the necessary supervision.

- Physical distancing and the washing of hands before and after with soap and water must be observed.

- Bus trips and other excursions must be done in compliance with physical distancing, mask-wearing and sanitisation protocols. Buses will only carry seated passengers and hand sanitisation must be done before entering the vehicle.

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: