All Connecticut schools and businesses will reopen eventually. In the meantime, we continue to rely on COVID-19 guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC regularly updates their recommendations to help address the spread of this devastating virus. As we contemplate how we will continue to protect our most vulnerable citizens, we will rely on the CDC’s framework to help keep them safe.
Strategies to Help Keep Our Children Healthy
CDC COVID-19 Guidelines are a multifaceted approach for schools and daycare centers with students from infancy to grade 12. They provide guidance for schools operating before, during, and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidelines stress a series of simple but critical steps.
Prepare and Plan
The CDC recommends that every child care center and school implement a plan to protect their staff, children, and families from the disease. Facility administrators should coordinate with local health officials, licensing boards, and other community partners.
Prevent the Spread of COVID-19
Schools and daycare centers must ensure that they have adequate supplies and support to prevent the virus from spreading. CDC COVID-19 Guidelines recommend “everyday preventive actions.”
- Frequent Hand Washing: If soap and water aren’t available, use 60% alcohol hand sanitizer. Supervise young children using hand sanitizer to prevent swallowing.
- Disinfecting and cleaning frequently used or touched surfaces
- Proper coughing and sneezing behaviors
- Mouth and nose coverings in public (No face coverings for children under age 2 as they’re a suffocation hazard.)
- Require parents to keep sick children at home.
- Sick staff members must meet home isolation guidelines.
Plan For Managing Sickness
Your plan should include arrangements for managing sick staff and children.
- Set up an isolation room for potentially sick staff or students.
- Disinfect your entire location following CDC guidelines.
- If you isolate a sick person, clean and disinfect the area after they leave the premises.
- If you confirm COVID-19, close off the room and open windows for increased airflow. After 24 hours, clean and disinfect any office, play space, or other areas where the person worked or played.
Plan for Staff Absenteeism
Create a backup staffing plan to substitute for sick staff members. Recommend that vulnerable staff members—those with underlying conditions or over age 65—discuss their risks with their physicians.
Plan Social Distancing Strategies
Social distancing is critical to stopping the spread of disease.
- Eliminate mass or group gatherings, seating, and play arrangements.
- Try to maintain classes with the same teachers and students.
- Cancel or delay planned events and celebrations.
- Stagger playtimes.
- Space naptime mats appropriately.
Child Drop-off and Pick-Up
Daycare centers and schools are busy places. It’s difficult but necessary to maintain protocols that keep children safe. CDC COVID-19 Guidelines recommend the following strategies.
- Stagger child drop-off and pick up times.
- Maintain a hand hygiene stop at the entryway with soap and water and/or hand sanitizer.
- If possible, care providers should greet arriving children outside.
- Vulnerable family members should not pick up children or drop them off.
Screen Children as They Arrive
A school should never admit a child with a 100.4 or higher fever or other signs that they’re ill. Ask parents about COVID-19 symptoms each day as they arrive: temperature, shortness of breath, cough.
Additional CDC COVID-19 Guidelines
COVID-19 is such a significant problem, the CDC has developed pages of guidelines to manage every conceivable situation. Here are a few additional recommendations for schools and daycare providers to consider.
- Barriers and Partitions: Protective devices to protect care workers and teachers from droplets expelled during coughing and sneezing
- Personal Protective Equipment: Face masks, face shields, goggles, and gowns for times when barriers and petitions are impractical
- Cleaning and Disinfecting: Following Caring for Children’s national standards
- Cleaning and Sanitizing toys and disinfecting bedding
Contact The Learning Center
If you have any questions about the steps we’re taking to help keep your children healthy and safe, give us at a call at (860) 643-8639.