The purpose of this policy is to provide clear direction to staff, home childcare providers and parents to follow during an epidemic or pandemic. This policy sets out steps to follow to support the safety and well-being of everyone involved.
Notice of Risk:
When children from multiple families attend a single home childcare, there is an increased risk of the COVID-19 virus coming into the home childcare. Children who are infected with the COVID-19 virus are more likely than adults to have very mild infections or to have no symptoms at all, but these children can still transmit the infection to other children and to adults in the home child care. This means that children can bring home an infection acquired in the home child care and put other persons at risk. The home childcare follows Ottawa Public Health’s screening process to help detect infections when there are symptoms; however, this screening process will not detect infected children or adults who do not have symptoms at the time of screening.
- Active screening is required for anyone entering the home childcare.
*Active screening is the process of proactively checking for symptoms and asking questions that would indicate possible exposure to COVID-19
(see Screening Questions for details)
- Only one point of entry and exit to be used.
- Following Screening, only children in care, childcare provider(s), their household contacts and essential visitors are allowed to enter the home.
- Only one parent at a time at entry for drop-off and pick-up of children.
- When screening: take appropriate precautions including maintaining a distance of at least 2 meters (6 feet) or wear PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) or be separated by a physical barrier (door/window) from those being screened.
- Alcohol-based sanitizer containing 60-90 % alcohol should be at entrance or at screening station, not accessible by children. Hand washing with soap is the preferred method over alcohol-based hand rub for children, if possible.
- Any child with a fever of 37.8°C/100°F or any other symptom of COVID-19 (as per Ottawa Public Health guidelines) will not be permitted to enter the home child care premises.
- Ensure documentation is completed for every person entering the childcare provider home, in the event that contact tracing will need to be completed by Ottawa Public Health.
- Please contact your agency immediately if anyone (child, parent, childcare provider, childcare provider’s family members or household contacts) displays any COVID-19 symptoms (as per Ottawa Public Health guidelines).
Health and Safety Measures:
The following procedures MUST be followed during an epidemic or pandemic:
- All agency Policies and Procedures must continue to be followed.
- Policies and Procedures related to Communicable Diseases should be followed, with some increased conditions.
- All adults in a child care setting are required to wear medical masks and eye protection (i.e. face shield, goggles) while inside the child care premises.
- All children in Grades 1 and above are required to wear a non-medical or cloth mask while inside the child care premises.
- All children in Kindergarten or younger are encouraged but not required to wear a mask while inside the child care premises.
- The use of masks is not required outdoors for adults or children if physical distancing of at least 2-meters can be maintained.
- Reasonable exceptions to the indoor mandatory mask requirement are expected to be put in place by the childcare provider. Exceptions may include: medical exceptions or children in care not able to tolerate masks, etc.
- Providers must secure and sustain cleaning supplies and PPE to support their operation.
- Increased sanitization of high touch surfaces (door handles, handrails, faucets, tables) as well as toys and other furnishing used for childcare (high chairs, playpens, and mats) at least twice a day, using an enhanced cleaner/disinfectant for outbreaks and documented in the daily cleaning log.
- Perform and promote frequent, proper hand hygiene (including supervising and assisting children with hand hygiene) using soap and water.
- Washroom use must be limited to one child at a time and cleaned between each use.
- Avoid sensory play (i.e. water or sand activities, use of play-dough), unless individual based and single use items.
- Remove shared items such as toys that cannot be easily cleaned and disinfected.
- Reduce clutter and limit toys to those that can be disinfected daily.
- Personal belongings (i.e. backpack, clothing, etc.) should be minimized. If brought, belongings should be labelled with child’s name and kept in a child’s cubby/designated area.
- There should be no food provided by the family unless special diets are required (i.e. children under the age of one, dietary restrictions.)
- No self-serve or sharing of food at meal times. Meals to be served in individual portions to the children and individual utensils used at all times.
- Where possible:
- Maintain physical distancing of at least 2 meters between children
- Use visual cues to promote physical distancing
- Spread children out into different areas, particularly at meal, transition and dressing times
- Avoid singing activities.
- Incorporate more individual activities or activities that encourage more space between children.
- Ensuring 2-meter physical distance between cribs/playpens.
- Increase the distance between sleep mats. If space is tight, place children head-to-toe if lying parallel to each other or toe-to-toe if lying in a line.
- Extend outdoor play as much as possible, following physical distancing as much as possible.
Disclosure of Illness or Exposure:
- Parents and providers are to disclose if they or anyone in their household has travelled abroad or to the US since March 1, 2020.
- If they have traveled, they must remain out of care or not provide care for 14 days.
- Parents and providers are to disclose if they or anyone in their home has any symptoms of COVID-19 or has been in contact with anyone with presumed or confirmed COVID-19. If so, they are to remove their child(ren) from care for 14 days, or not deliver care for 14 days (considerations taken for parents working in the Medical field following direction from public health).
- If a provider, household member or child in care has a confirmed case of COVID-19 or direct exposure to someone with a confirmed case, all parents of other children in care will be notified.
- Children’s Village will, when applicable, contact Public Health regarding disclosures or incidents of exposure.
- Determining closure and re-opening of the home will be done in consultation with Ottawa Public Health.
- Determining when the child or provider can resume care will be in consultation with Ottawa Public Health.
- The Ottawa Public Health manager will provide further direction as needed.
Home Child Care Ratios:
- Child care ratios in child care providers home will be limited to a maximum of 4 children at one time, during an epidemic or pandemic;
- Exceptions may be made on an individual bases and MUST be approved by the Director.
- If they do not pass screening they are not permitted to attend the program and must stay home.
- An ill individual who has a known alternative diagnosis provided by a health care provider may return to child care if they do not have a fever and their symptoms have been improving over the past 24 hrs.
- Children, child care providers or household members that have symptoms that persist or worsen, need to contact their health care provider or Ottawa Public Health for further advice or assessment, including if a COVID-19 test is required.
- Children, child care providers or household members must stay home or self-isolate while waiting for results of a COVID-19 test.
- If not tested, the child(ren), child care providers or household members must stay home and self-isolate for:
- 14 days
- have no fever
- and their symptoms have been improving for at least 72 hours
- Determining when the child(ren), child care providers or household members can return will be done in consultation with Ottawa Public Health.
- Closure and Re-opening of child care home will be determined in consultation with Ottawa Public Health and Ministry of Education and the Director.
Home Child Care Advisor:
- Must follow all guidelines in regards to Children’s Village Pandemic Policy: Notice of Risk, Mandatory Screening, Health and Safety Measures, Physical Distancing, Disclosure of Illness and Exclusion from work.
- If an advisor has symptoms or potential exposure to COVID-19, they should self-isolate and notify their manager immediately.
- If an advisor has a confirmed case if COVID-19, the agency will notify Ottawa Public Health, providers and parents that may have had potential exposure.
- Consultation done with Ottawa Public Health, and Advisors agree to follow their guidelines.
- All home visits will be conducted in the safest manner possible during an epidemic or pandemic as advised by the Ministry of Education and Ottawa Public Health.
- Report any closure of homes due to exposure or confirmed cases of COVID-19 to CCLS.
- Follow all Health regulations as per Ottawa Public Health and Health Canada for the prevention of spread.
- Follow all Children’s Village Policies and Procedures in addition to policies listed above
- Notify management of any children who have not attended daycare or have been denied access due to screening immediately.
- Notify management of any information about exposure or confirmed cases of COVID-19 immediately.
- The agency will communicate directly with providers and parents when the return to regular care procedures can commence.