While most of the world is locked down, there are some businesses deemed essential. For those businesses to operate, many employees still need childcare. That means many YMCA daycares are still up and running, even if the student load is lighter.
How do you stay safe and keep your facility sanitary when the majority of the people using it have a hard time keeping their hands to themselves and couldn’t begin to tell you what six feet looks like? We have a few ideas. Most of them you’ve likely heard already. But when keeping things clean and sanitary is so vital, it never hurts to hear them again.
Keep in mind that these tips are good, but they are broad. Make sure you’re aware of what your individual states and municipalities are now requiring as things continue to change.
Wash Hands Often
You’ve heard this repeatedly the last month or more, but we are repeating it here because it’s critical. How often is often? At least once an hour. And how well is well? Wash them for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Don’t forget to scrub the tops of your hands. Get in between your fingers and get up past your wrists.
Same goes for the kids. They need to be washing their hands often and well. Monitor them to make sure they are doing it long enough and thorough enough.
Sanitize Hands when Unable to Wash
Any sanitizer is better than no sanitizer, but if you can pick what sanitizer you’re using, look for brands that have at least 60% alcohol.
Keep Hands Away from Face
No touching your eyes, nose or mouth. This is going to be tough with the kids, so consider having them clasp their hands behind their backs to try to keep contact to a minimum. Just the gesture of unclasping gives someone a moment of pause and makes them consider whether touching their face is necessary.
And perhaps try to make a game out of it. Everyone starts with 100 points in the morning and every time you get caught touching your face, a point gets subtracted. The child with the most points remaining at the end of the day gets a sticker or piece of candy.
You’re already doing this because, COVID-19 or not, it’s already required that you regularly disinfect the surfaces the children touch. But it’s a good idea to do it more often now. And, like we said at the beginning, depending on what your state or local governments are requiring, more frequent disinfecting may be a must.
Consider Face Masks for Staff
With the latest recommendations by the CDC being that people should wear protective coverings over their face when leaving the house, it can't hurt to have your workers wear masks. While the N95 masks are rightfully reserved for healthcare workers, there are other options that at the very least could help prevent staff members from spreading germs to others.
Isolate Anyone With Symptoms
Admittedly, this is easier said than done with kids, but separating anyone who starts to show signs of illness is essential in stopping the spread of the disease. Keep any kids who may show signs of sickness in a separate room and immediately call a family member to pick them up.
It should also be explicitly communicated with their guardians that if a child shows any signs of sickness at home, they shouldn't be brought back too daycare for 14 days.
Reduce Group Sizes or Eliminate All Together
We know that social distancing is nearly impossible with kids. You essentially have to do it for them. That’s why this may be a time to plan programming that is all individualized, and nothing that requires team or group work. This is going to make it easier to limit the distances between the kids.