These are guidelines for the re-introduction of child care provision for Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Centres which are permitted to reopen as of 5 July 2020.
These guidelines help to ensure that as many children as possible are enabled to safely receive childcare and safely return to childcare settings at the earliest date on which it is safe to do this.
During the reopening of ECCE centres in the Cayman Islands, it is expected that ECCE centre owners will make modifications to their services and setting to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and cater to the needs of the children and staff.
As ECCE centre owners make modifications to their services and setting to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, they should do so with consideration for the assessment of risk as measured by activity setting, physical distancing and level of interaction.
The more people a child or staff member interacts with, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. The risk of COVID-19 spread increases in settings as follows:
- Low Risk: Small groups of children stay together all day, each day (i.e. in a bubble ). Children remain at least 6 feet apart and do not share objects. Outdoor activities are prioritised; limit indoor activities to only those where adequate physical distancing can occur.
- Medium Risk: Physical distancing observed between all children who are not in the same bubble; no physical distancing among children in the same bubble. Minimise sharing of objects. Outdoor activities are prioritised; limit indoor activities to only those where adequate physical distancing can occur.
- High Risk: Indoor and outdoor activities; no physical distancing; no bubbles.
Communication & Education
For ECCE centres to operate as safely as possible, families will need to play a key role in risk mitigation. Owners should contact parents/caregivers who wish their child to attend the centre to:
- Discuss concerns or questions families have about attending the ECCE centre and how you can address them together.
- Educate parents/caregivers on the response plan and new expectations related to COVID-19:
- Explain that health screenings will be conducted daily and responding honestly to the questions will help keep the children and staff safe. Educate parents/caregivers on the response plan and new expectations related to COVID-19:
- Set the expectation that parents/caregivers should screen their children at home before arriving at the centre. Children with a fever or other COVID-19 symptoms should stay home.
- Explain that arrangements must be made to collect their child from the centre immediately upon notification should he/she become ill during the course of the day.
- Explain the centre’s communication plan including how the centre will communicate with parents about regular operations and health emergencies. Parents/caregivers should provide multiple forms of contact information to allow ECCE centre owners to quickly contact parents/caregivers if a child gets sick and needs to be picked up.
- Discuss any health concerns/conditions which may make the child at higher risk for complications if exposed to COVID-19. Remind families that immunocompromised children and children with chronic health conditions should consult with their primary care provider regarding decisions about ECCE centre attendance.
- Payment structure/expectations in the event the ECCE centre must close unexpectedly due to COVID-19.
Signs highlighting key messages such as physical distancing, covering cough, and frequent handwashing should be posted at all entrances/exits and other key areas of the facility. Signs should be age appropriate, and where possible utilise pictures or illustrations to help ensure children understand the intended message.
ECCE centre policies, guidelines and relevant government documents/information should be shared to all staff and parents/caregivers, as appropriate. Given the drastic change in the delivery of operations, a meeting with staff prior to reopening, and as changes are introduced, is encouraged to ensure everyone is clear on the arrangements in place. Consistency in the execution of these arrangements across the staff is critical.
It is recommended that a staff member be designated as the primary COVID-19 ECCE centre contact. The contact information of this member should be communicated to all parents/caregivers and all enquiries related to COVID-19 and the ECCE centre should be answered by that person. Having an identified point person for parents/caregivers to contact will help to alleviate their concerns about sending their child to an ECCE centre and will facilitate a direct path of communication between parents and the centre with respect to COVID-19.
An effective method of communication with staff as well as parents/caregivers needs to be established in order to keep them abreast of any changes in policy and on any operational updates. This communication should be two-way communication which provides the opportunity for staff as well as parents/caregivers to communicate with the centre leadership and voice any concerns.
The centre should consider a communication plan in the event that the centre has to close unexpectedly due to COVID-19. This plan could include maintaining communication with parents/caregivers/staff during closure, maintaining contact with Public Health during closure, communicating reopening plans and public messaging regarding response to COVID-19.
Staff should be trained on all safety protocols and in the identification of COVID-19 symptoms. Children should be taught in an age appropriate way to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouths, and to cough/sneeze inside their elbow.
Information on topics such as hand washing, the importance of not sharing items, respiratory etiquette, the avoidance of touching one’s face, and physical distancing should be shared with children in an age appropriate way.
Cleaning & Disinfection
While research into the COVID-19 virus is ongoing, we know the virus is transmitted through direct contact with respiratory droplets of an infected person (through coughing and sneezing), and touching surfaces contaminated with the virus. The virus may survive on surfaces for a few hours up to several days. Cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces regularly is an important precaution to lower the risk of infection.
Learn more. Download the full guidance below.
Learn more about the responsibility of parents, emergency care plans, what to do if children, staff or volunteers present with symptoms during the day, mental health, field trips, meals, considerations for special needs and high-risk campers and programme delivery in our full guidance document below.