Pandemic Policy & Protocols

Home Child Care

TO ALL PARENTS AND PROVIDERS

September 7, 2021

Re: Updated COVID-19 Policies and Protocols effective immediately

In efforts to reduce the risk and to protect each other from COVID-19, the protocols below have been put in place. Please note all procedures below MUST be respected at all times. We all have a responsibility in ensuring each other’s safety.

 Updates include:

  • Guidance on the use of masks
  • Screening for Symptoms

Notice of Risk:

When children from multiple families attend a single home child care, there is an increased risk of the COVID-19 virus coming into the home child care. 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 child care 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.

Home Child Care have a responsibility to notify the Ministry of Education when:

A child, parent, provider, provider’s family member, home child care advisor, or visitor has a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Communication Plan:

Communication strategies are an important component in managing any infectious disease outbreak and are essential in the event of a pandemic. Accurate, timely, and consistent information at all levels is critical in order to minimize miscommunication and to maximize the effective outcome of the communication.

Should a provider, child or visitor develop COVID-19 symptoms, the persons below will be notified immediately:

  • Provider will notify: Parents, Home Child Care Advisor;
  • Home Child Care Advisor will notify: Manager/Assistant Manager of Home Child Care, parents of the ill child when necessary;
  • Manager/Assistant Manager of Home Child care will notify: Executive Director and OPH when necessary;
  • Executive Director will notify: Board of Directors when necessary.

Should a provider, child, parent or visitor test positive for COVID-19, the persons below will be immediately notified by email and/or phone and/or verbally:

  • Provider must immediately notify: Home Child Care Advisor;
  • Home Child Care Advisor must immediately notify:  Manager/Assistant Manager of Home Child Care, families attending the home child care;
  • Manager/Assistant  Manager of Home Child Care will notify: Executive Director and OPH;
  • Executive Director will notify: Board of Directors when necessary.

Sick

If you are sick or a member of your household is sick with Covid-19 or Covid-19 like symptoms or do not feel well DO NOT COME TO CHILD CARE .

Management of child(ren), provider and/or family members with COVID-19 Symptoms

All children, providers or family members who are symptomatic will be:

  • Turned away or sent home;
  • Isolate until symptoms have improved for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication (depending on symptom and OPH screening tool);
  • Will need to self-isolate and/or seek COVID-19 testing as soon as possible (depending on symptom and OPH screening tool).
  • Should a provider/family member or child refuse a Covid-19 test, determining when the child and/or provider can return to care will be done in consultation with OPH.
  • Household contacts (e.g., siblings) of the symptomatic child will not be permitted to attend child care until the symptomatic child has a negative COVID-19 test result and/or isolation period is complete.

Child, provider and/or family member who develops symptoms while at the home child care premise

  • Symptomatic child(ren), provider /family member must be immediately separated from others in a supervised area until they are able to leave child care. If a separate room is not available, the symptomatic person should be kept at a minimum of 2 meters from others;
  • Parent/Guardians will be notified to come pick up the child(ren) as soon as possible;

If the symptomatic person is a child, the provider will monitor the child until a parent/guardian arrives. If tolerated and above the age of 2, the child should wear a medical mask. The provider must wear a medical mask and eye protection at all times.

  • Environmental cleaning and disinfecting of the space in which the child was separated should be conducted immediately after the child has been picked up. All items used by the sick person will also be cleaned and disinfected. Anything that cannot be cleaned (e.g books, puzzles) will be removed and stored in a sealed container for a minimum of 7 days;
  • Clean and disinfect ill child’s bed and launder all bedding immediately
  • Providers or family members in the home that develop symptoms during hours of care, must be separated from others, wash their hands and continue to wear a medical mask as well as eye protection until the children have been picked up.

Child, provider and/or family member who are symptomatic and have a negative COVID-19 result

  • If the test result is negative (shows child/provider does not have COVID-19), the child may return to the child care home 24 hours after symptoms have been improving without the use of fever-reducing medication and the provider can provide care in her home. (Note that any time a child’s/provider symptoms include vomiting or diarrhea, then the child/provider has to be symptom free for 48 hours before returning) 
  • Consult with OPH will be done as needed.

Child, provider and/or family member who have a positive COVID-19 test result

  • The child, provider and/or family member who have a positive test result will not be permitted in care or offer care in the home;
  • A single, symptomatic, laboratory confirmed case of COVID-19 in a provider, family member or child must be considered a suspected confirmed COVID-19 outbreak, in consultation with OPH;
  • Determining when the child, provider and/or family member can return to care or offer care will be done in consultation with OPH;
  • Determining closure and re-opening of the home will be done in consultation with OPH;

Child,provider and/or family member who has been identified as a close contact of a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case

A child, provider and/or family member who has been identified as a close contact of a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case will not be permitted to attend or provide child care and a period of 10 days of self-isolation may be required. Determining when the child, provider and/or family member can return to or offer care will be done in consultation with OPH.

Please note, close contact means:

  • Being within 2 metres (6 feet) for 15 minutes or more, this includes having multiple short encounters totaling 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (without the use of
  • a medical grade mask and eye protection as minimum personal protective equipment which you have been trained to use)
  • Physical contact such as shaking someone’s hand, hugging, kissing, being sneezed or coughed on
  • Living in the same household (this excludes individuals who live in a completely separate unit such as a self-contained basement apartment)
  • Providing care to someone (e.g., taking care of an elderly parent)

Entering the Home Child Care Premise

  • Children will access the Child care through the front door;
  • All children, visitors entering the home will be screened for Covid-19 symptoms;
  • All children, visitors entering the home must sanitize their hands with the hand sanitizer prior to moving past entranceway; a hand sanitizing station will be set up.

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Providers, all family members and visitors are required to wear medical masks while inside the home;
  • Eye protection (e.g. face shields or googles) is required for individuals working in close contact with children who are not wearing face protection;
  • Eye protection is not required for individuals working with children who wear face protection; 
  • All Kindergarten and School Age children, are required to wear a non-medical or cloth mask while inside the child care premises;
  • Parents or Guardians are responsible for providing their children with a mask(s) each day;
  • Parents must provide a way to store children’s mask(s) when not in use;
  • The use of masks or face shields is not required outdoors for adults or children if physical distancing can be maintained at all times;
  • Exceptions to wearing masks indoors and outdoors may include/situations where a child cannot tolerate wearing a mask safely, reasonable exemptions for medical conditions, etc.
  • If a provider or child received a COVID-19 vaccination in the last 48 hours and has mild headache, fatigue, muscle aches and /or joint pain that only began after immunization, and no other symptoms, they are to wear a properly fitted mask for their entire time in the child care setting. Their mask may only be removed to consume food or drink and the individual must remain at least two meters way form others when their mask has been removed.

Consideration for immunization – Screening for Symptoms

In alignment with the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Fully Immunized and Previously Positive Individuals: Case, Contact and Outbreak Management Interim Guidance, asymptomatic individuals who are fully immunized (equal to or more than 14 days after receiving their second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series or their first dose of a one-doseCOVID-19 vaccine series) or who were previously positive within the past 90 days and have since been cleared, are not required to isolate if they are in contact with an individual who is symptomatic or who tests positive for COVID-19, unless otherwise directed by the public health unit or by the Children’s Village of Ottawa-Carleton.

As reflected in the updated screening tool, if the child, provider and/or family member received a COVID-19 vaccination in the last 48 hours and is experiencing mild headache, fatigue, muscle aches, and/or joint pain that only began after vaccination, and no other symptoms as indicated in the Screening Tool, they may continue to attend/offer the child care program if they are feeling well enough to do so.

These individuals (child, provider and/or family member) are to wear a properly fitted mask for their entire time in the child care setting. Their mask may only be removed to consume food or drink and the individual must remain at least two metres away from each other when their mask has been removed.

If the mild headache, fatigue, muscle aches, and /or joint pain symptoms worsen, continue past 48 hours, or if the individual develops other symptoms, the child will be asked to be picked up from the child care home immediately, to self-isolate and seek COVID-19 testing.

In addition, if any household members are experiencing any new COVID-19 symptoms and/or are waiting for COVID-19 test results after experiencing symptoms, the child, provider or family members, must not attend/provide child care. (This direction does not pertain to those who received a COVID-19 vaccination in the last 48 hours and are experiencing mild headache, fatigue, muscle aches, and/or joint pain that only began after vaccination, and no other symptoms.) (see Monitoring and Responding to Reports of COVID-19 Symptoms in a Child Care Setting section below for isolation and quarantine requirements)

You will not be permitted access to the home child care premise:

  • If you have travelled outside Canada in the last 14 days;
  • If you live with, or provided care for (without appropriate PPE) or spent time with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, is suspected to have COVID-19, has an inconclusive laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19, or who has symptoms that started within 14 days of travel outside of Canada;
  • If you or your child(ren) lived in or worked in an institution, group home, or other facility known to be experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19.

Mandatory Screening:

  • Active screening is required for anyone entering the home child care.

*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, child care 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 child care 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, child care provider, child care provider’s family members or household contacts) displays any COVID-19 symptoms (as per Ottawa Public Health guidelines).

Food Provision:

  • Proper hand hygiene will be practiced when preparing food and for all individuals before and after eating;
  • 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, children should practice physical distancing when eating;
  • Masks can be temporarily be removed to eat or drink, but 2-meter distance should be maintained. 

Cleaning/Disinfecting:

  • Increased sanitization of high touch surfaces (door handles, handrails, faucets, tables) as well as toys and other furnishing used for child care (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.
  • If  sensory materials i.e. water, sand, playdough, etc. are offered, emphasis should be placed on hand hygiene before and after use of materials;
  • Reduce clutter and limit toys to those that can be disinfected daily;
  • All toys that cannot be easily cleaned and disinfected, will be removed as much as possible;
  • 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.

Physical Distancing:

  • 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.

Home Child Care Ratios:

  • Child care ratios in a provider’s home may be limited during an epidemic or pandemic;
  • Exceptions may be made on an individual bases and MUST be approved by 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.

Home Visits:

  • 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.

Serious Occurrences:

  • Report any closure of homes due to exposure or confirmed cases of COVID-19 to CCLS.

Prevention:

  • 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.

Recovery:

  • The agency will communicate directly with providers and parents when the return to regular care procedures can commence.


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