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Reopened for Essential Services

On March 23, 2020, EHW Child Care Society’s early learning program reopened with reduced capacity for children of core essential service workers during the COVID-19 crisis. Our current hours of operation are Monday-Friday, 6:45 am to 5:30 pm. As things stand, we have temporary availability up until April 17, 2020 for children between the ages of 12 months and 6 years. After April 18, we have a temporary waitlist for these spaces only.

Please note: Using our centre at this time will not alter anyone’s waitlist position or enrollment status. Once life goes back to something resembling “normal” and the closure order on child care facilities is lifted, all families whose children were enrolled on or before March 16, 2020 will get their spaces back. Any spaces that become vacant after that point will be filled from our pre-existing waitlist as usual.

Reopening Update

As of September 1, 2020, we have fully reopened. Here’s what we’re doing to maintain the health and safety of children families, and employees during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic (based on the latest relaunch guidance for child care):

  • Cohorting: We are operating two separate cohorts — one for each classroom. Educators and children are assigned to one cohort or the other long-term. Cohort reassignments are kept to a minimum. The total number of people in each cohort is less than thirty.
    • Both rooms have mixed age groupings in order to keep sibling groups together.
    • Educators are avoiding contact with other educators or with children and families assigned to a different cohort than themselves.
    • Anyone who must have contact with both cohorts (e.g. Melissa or Adrien; sanitising support; relief educators) wear non-medical masks whenever in the presence of other employees or children.
    • There is no mixing of cohorts at all; the two rooms alternate days using the Small Park and going on an outside walk (TR uses the park on odd numbered days, PR on even numbered days).
    • The boot room is sanitised 5 times each morning: Before the first cohort goes outside, before the second cohort goes outside, before the first cohort comes back in, before the second cohort comes back in, and after the second cohort comes back in.
  • Health and Illness Policy and Screening: Anyone who has even very mild symptoms cannot attend the program. This includes parents, employees, and children. This is much more strict than our usual health and illness policy.
    • Parents must take children’s temperatures at home each morning before bringing them in to the program. If a child’s temperature is greater than 37.5°C (99.5°F) as measured by mouth or underarm, or 38.0°C (100.4°F) as measured by forehead or ear (ear measurements not recommended for children under 2 years old), the child must not be brought to the program.
    • Employees and parents must fill out a screening survey upon arrival at the program. If the answer to any of the questions is “yes”, that person must immediately leave the premises and isolate for a minimum of 10 days or until symptoms are gone for 48 hours without the aid of medication (whichever takes longer), or if a COVID-19 test is administered, until the test comes back negative AND symptoms are gone for 48 hours without the aid of medication.
    • Children who develop symptoms whilst in our care will be sent home as soon as possible, and must isolate until the above-listed conditions are met.
    • If a parent, sibling, or other household member is isolating, the child is considered to have been in close contact with that family member and must also isolate for a minimum of ten days.
    • Children and employees who have ongoing medical conditions which present with symptoms that overlap with COVID-19 (e.g. environmental allergies, asthma, IBS, migraine disorder, etc.) will need to do a COVID-19 test the first time the symptoms appear. Once the initial symptoms are determined not to be related to covid, the employee or parent should submit in writing a description of what baseline symptoms look like; any new symptoms or worsening of existing symptoms beyond the baseline description will be considered an illness, and will require isolation/exclusion from the program as described above.
  • Physical Distancing: All adults must maintain a distance of 2 meters from each other whenever possible, and wear masks when not possible.
    • Parents/family members entering the program must wear masks while in the building.
    • As much distance as is reasonable/possible should be maintained between children while eating.
    • Room occupancy limits in both classrooms and in the boot room are set in order to allow for appropriate distancing.
    • Families are reminded that children (and families) from different classrooms/cohorts must maintain 2 meters of distance from each other.
    • Adults must wear masks whenever in the hallways or other public areas of the hospital.
    • Educators may remove their masks when in their classrooms, provided they only have contact with that cohort.
    • Children attending the program are exempt from masking rules.
  • Personal Belongings: Children’s personal belongings coming into the program should be kept to a minimum, but comfort objects, etc. are welcome. These must be taken home each evening, ideally, or kept in a designated space (child’s cubby, parent mailbox, blanket bag) overnight, and must be taken home along with the child’s bedding to be laundered each weekend.
    • Please label all personal belongings, including lunch containers, water bottles, outerwear, blankets, blanket bags, etc.
  • Food: Parents are asked to supply all food for their children at this time. The refrigerator and microwave are still available in each room.
    • All food and drink containers must be clearly labeled with the child’s name.
    • If possible, please include any utensils or other dishes your child will need.
    • Educators will follow correct food handling procedures when handling children’s food items (opening packages and containers, warming things up in the microwave, etc.). Educators wash their hands in between handling each child’s food items.
    • While we are not currently preparing or providing snacks, our food handling surfaces and sinks must be maintained, as we are still handling children’s food from home.
  • Activities and Materials: The activities and materials provided for the children’s exploration and learning are limited in much the same way they are during a gastro-intestinal illness outbreak:
    • Sand, water, and sensory tables, along with materials such as playdough are not being used, unless we can provide individual bins/tables/kits and tools for each child and ensure they do not share with each other.
    • Any fabric items that are used in play (e.g. blankets, dress-up clothes, stuffed toys) are removed and placed in the laundry at the end of each day.
    • Items that cannot be effectively sanitised are removed from the classrooms until further notice.
    • Materials are thoroughly washed and sanitised before being used by another cohort.
    • Materials that cannot reasonably be washed and sanitised (e.g. books, puzzles) will be stored in a sealed container for a minimum of ten days before being used by another cohort.
  • Outings: Outings to communal/shared spaces are cancelled until further notice. this includes inside walks, use of the gymnasium, swimming, the big park, and use of neighbourhood playgrounds.
    • Outside walks around the hospital grounds, through the neighbourhood, and to play in open fields nearby are used as alternate outings when it is the other cohort’s turn to use the small park.
  • Picking up and dropping off: Parents/guardians are to use the Bill Black entrance to enter the building (this is the hospital’s designated staff entrance). Any door maybe used to exit the building.
    • Parents/guardians must use hand sanitiser and don a non-medical mask (provided at the screening table) upon entry to the building. The hand sanitiser may contain technical-grade alcohol, which should not be used by children.
    • Upon arrival at the classroom, parents/guardians must fill out the health survey described above, and show the completed survey to an educator. The child must then wash hands in the bathroom. Parents/guardians are welcome to assist the child with handwashing as part of the dropping-off routine.
    • Parents/guardians are asked to limit their time spent in the classroom, and to maintain physical distance from educators and from parents and children from other families as much as possible.
    • Only one parent/guardian from each family may enter the program at any given time. If multiple adults from your family are coming to pick up or drop off, we kindly ask that all but one waits in the hallway.
    • Posted room occupancy limits must be adhered to.
    • If a sibling is coming along for pick up or drop off, the sibling and parent/guardian must wait in the hallway and ask the room educators to bring the health survey to the door, if applicable, and sign the child in or out without entering the classroom. Siblings under the age of 13 years may not be left unattended in the hallway, but are considered non-essential visitors and so must also not enter the program.
    • If a child is being dropped off or picked up while the group is on an outing, parents/guardians must complete the health survey immediately prior to educators taking the child into their care, and must sign the child in or out on the paper “out of room” sheet, in accordance with the usual procedure. As a reminder, children must not be signed out on the laptop unless the parent/guardian currently physically has that child in their own care.