Covid19 Safety Protocols for Childcare Centers
4/19/2021 | Dr. Tamar Andrews
As a preschool director I’m used to fielding all kinds of questions from families. A year ago the most common was about when their child would learn to read or write, but now my number one question from parents is about safety and health protocols related to Covid-19. Keeping children safe and preventing the spread of coronavirus is now the top priority for schools and childcare centers. And since parents cannot enter into most centers, what they see happening during drop-off and pick-up sets the tone for what they believe is going on inside the building as well. At our center, drop-off has gone from a 20 minute process to a 90 minute carefully orchestrated social distancing project. Below are the practices that have worked for us that I believe have contributed to our full enrollment with a waiting list.
Staggered Schedule: Each individual classroom is part of a staggered schedule. Class A operates from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM, Class B operates from 8:15 AM to 2:15 PM, and so forth. By spreading out the drop-off and pick-up times it reduces the amount of contact between families.
Multiple Drop-Off Locations: If your space allows for it, set up multiple drop-off and pick-up locations at different entrances to your facility. This allows for even further reduction of contact and crowding.
Touchless Sign In and Out: By using a touchless sign in system you can reduce contact between families and staff as well as reduce the time of each drop off dramatically. At our school each family has the Carline app loaded onto their smartphone, allowing us to become a completely touchless drop-off and pick-up center.
Daily Covid-19 Screening: Every family should complete a virtual daily health screening ensuring they are symptom and exposure free before their children can enter the facility. Our program uses the one embedded within the Carline app.
Sanitizing Stations: Each entrance should be equipped with a hand sanitizing station that all children and staff use before entering the building.
Pods: Children should be grouped into pods by classroom and kept from interacting with any other children. This minimizes the risk of spread of Covid-19 and other illnesses.
Air Flow and Filtration: At our center each classroom is equipped with both a HEPA filter and a wall-mounted oscillating fan to keep airflow moving and germs eliminated from the environment.
One Direction Hallways: Put stickers on hallway floors so that the flow of people through the building goes in only one direction.
Classroom Layout: Rearrange every classroom so that children’s play is spread out and so that all materials can be easily sanitized.
Washing Hands and Wearing Masks: All children and staff should be reminded to wash hands frequently and wear their mask whenever possible.
Remember Your Purpose: Finally, we remind ourselves often that our work is to love, care for, and nurture young children who are living through a global pandemic. It requires patience, intentionality, and a sense of humor!