Our Covid Best Practices Started with a Carline
8/12/2021 | Tamar Andrews
Prior to March 2020, parents asked me a variety of first questions like, “when will my child will learn to read and write?” Now my number one question from parents is about health and safety protocols related to Covid-19. Because parents still cannot enter many childcare centers, what they see happening during drop-off and pick-up sets the tone for what they believe is going on inside the building, too.
In our center, the drop-off process grew from a 20-minute quickie to a 90-minute, carefully orchestrated social distancing project. This change kicked off a series of improvements that gave our families full confidence their children were in an environment taking every possible safety measure. I’m glad to share here what has worked for our center and what I believe has contributed to a full enrollment with a waiting list.
-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. We have 14 classes currently operating with 168 children so you can easily deduce how we operate.
-We have a building on a major boulevard with an alley so while one carline operates on the boulevard, a second one operates simultaneously in the alley.
-Each family has the carline app loaded onto their smartphones so that we have become a touchless drop-off and pick-up center. We love the app because it has also eliminated the time we used to spend checking to see if someone was an authorized pick-up for the child. It has changed each individual pick-up from 1 minute to just seconds.
-Each family also uses the app to complete the Covid-19 screening to ensure that everyone is symptom and exposure-free before dropping off a child at our center.
-We have installed sanitizing stations at the entrance to the building for each carline. This means that children get a pump of hand sanitizer when walking in to ensure that germs don’t follow them into the building from their hands.
-We keep each group of children as a standalone “pod” and not intermingling with any other group of children to minimize the risk of the spread of the Covid-19 virus as well as any other viruses.
-Each classroom is equipped with both a HEPPA filter and a wall-mounted oscillating fan to keep airflow moving and germs eliminated from the environment.
-We put stickers on all hallway floors so that the flow of people through the building only goes in one direction.
-Each classroom has been Covid-19 retrofitted so that children’s play is more spread out and so that all materials are easily sanitized.
-Each child and teacher is reminded to wash hands frequently and to wear their masks as much as a child can be reminded to do so.
Finally, we must often remind ourselves that our work is to love, care for, hold and nurture young children who are living through a pandemic. It requires patience, intentionality, and a sense of humor!