Getting the best childcare possible is challenging enough for many parents. Throw a world-wide pandemic into the mix and a definite hurdle can seem like and insurmountable wall.
Throughout COVID, the conundrum for parents has been about finding new ways to balance childcare and work. Perhaps they’ve found themselves working from home or working less. Maybe there isn’t as many childcare options in their vicinity anymore, either, and it may put too much stress on the budget, anyway.
The conundrum for childcare providers is all about trying to deal with the increased operational costs necessary to keep kids and staff safe while working under new capacity (and therefore revenue) limitations.
In other words, COVID has changed the daycare, preschool, and after school programs in in many significant ways.
The following are just some of the changes recommended by the CDC that have been implemented in our daycare programs to ensure that everyone is as safe as possible and that we’re addressing the “new normal” in every possible way.
Since early childhood programs usually serve children under 12 years of age, vaccinations aren’t really an option for them at this time. That means we have to double-down on preventative measures to keep everyone safe.
Preventative programs can be different for every location, but it generally it means considering multiple factors, implementing layered strategies, and always being aware of everyone’s needs. We have to pay attention to the level of community transmission, vaccination coverage, and any outbreaks in the vicinity.
The CDC currently recommends strategies such as: promoting vaccinations for those who are eligible, consistent and proper mask usage, improving ventilation, physical distancing and “cohorting” (the practice of working/playing in small groups the entire day so the number of staff and children that actually come in contact with each other can be limited), properly washing hands, using good respiratory etiquette, staying at home with any signs of sickness, better cleaning and disinfecting, and more.
Limiting capacity has also been a major strategy – and a big challenge – but the CDC has recognized these early childhood programs as an essential service, so it has said that children should not be excluded from in-person care just to keep a minimum distance requirement.
This probably shouldn’t be a surprise, since so many activities with children in our Hoboken and Jersey City daycare programs (diapering, feeding, providing comfort, etc.) make physical distancing unfeasible. However, every precaution that can be taken will be taken in order to prevent transmission.
In fact, here are some of the new expectations put on childcare in the pandemic (further details can be found on the CDC website).
Holding, Washing, and Feeding Children
Crying kids need comfort. Anxious and angry kids need attention. Hungry kids have very specific demands.
To meet these needs while staying safe, it will require:
- Frequent handwashing
- Washing hands and anything else that has been touched by a child’s body fluids
- Washing hands before and after handling infant bottles
- Not touching eyes while holding, feeding, or washing and infant
When diapers need to be changed, there are some procedures that need to be followed.
- Wash your hands and the child’s hands before getting started
- Wear gloves
- After diapering, take off the gloves and wash your hands again
- Clean the diapering surface if necessary
- Disinfect the diapering area
Serving Food and Meals
Whether we’re handing out small snacks or providing a full meal, some procedures have to be put in place.
- Keep to physical distancing and cohorting rules as much as possible
- Use additional spaces for mealtime seating if possible/necessary
- Wash hands with soap and water before and after family-style meals
- Keep frequently touched areas clean and disinfected
- Wash hands anytime it’s likely that you’ll have to deal with food
People are going to want to visit. Sometimes there may even be family activities. In these cases, there are some things that can be done to limit any risks.
- Limit the nonessential visits and activities that involve external groups (especially in areas with a moderate-to-high community transmission)
- Do not limit access for DSPs or mothers who are breastfeeding their infants
- New families will want to see the facilities, so make plans that accommodate these meetings without increasing the risk of transmission
Daycare in Hoboken and Jersey City after the Pandemic
Going forward with daycare in these cities is not always going to be easy.
But it is going to be worth it.
Reliable and safe childcare is an essential service, and that means it is certain worth putting up with the extra safety precautions (and their associated costs) to create an environment that is safe for children and staff and still offers the head start that a growing child needs. Contact us today to find out more about our programs and how we’ve changed to keep up with the new daycare landscape.