We are following best practice (Employers Checklist 1-7) as laid out by the Health & Safety Authority this includes the Infection Prevention and Control guidance for settings providing
childcare during the COVID-19 Pandemic. See Document attached at the end of this post.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) can affect children as well as adults. But very few cases have been reported in children around the world. Children also seem to get a milder infection than adults or older people do. Coronavirus though is a new virus. We are still learning about it.
If you are worried about your child’s health, phone your GP.
Children may play a big role in spreading the virus. This is why they should stay away from people at higher risk from coronavirus, such as people over the age of 60. Older people, or people at a higher risk from coronavirus, might have a harder time fighting the virus.
Read about what to do if your child has symptoms of coronavirus
If your child does not feel well
If your child has symptoms of a viral respiratory disease, even if they are mild, they must not attend the early learning and childcare service.
Parents must not take their child to the service if a parent or anyone else in your home is suspected or known to have COVID-19. If your child becomes ill while in attendance, you must collect them as quickly as possible, contact your GP straight away and follow HSE advice.
Is it safe for children to return to early learning and childcare services?
Early learning and childcare services have implemented a number of measures to limit the risk of infection including measures to prevent the virus being brought into the service and to reduce the chance of spread of the virus in case the virus is inadvertently brought into the service. They will focus on ensuring appropriate infection prevention and control. In this regard, it is important that services and parents follow advice of the Health Prevention Surveillance Centre (HPSC).
Services will focus on the following in particular:
- ensuring those with symptoms do not enter the service
- not allowing any unnecessary visitors to the service
- hand-washing and ensuring that children learn good hand-washing techniques
- respiratory hygiene and ensuring that children learn good techniques
- ensuring good cleaning procedures in services
- washing toys regularly
- spending more time outside with the children
- grouping children together in smaller groups with the same staff members (‘play-pods’)
Services will continue to safeguard children’s needs for physical care and ensure that they all feel safe, that they belong and enjoy their experience. It will still be important to cuddle and comfort them and enjoy each other’s company in a safe and caring environment with supportive and positive interactions.
Parents should follow the drop-off policy
A child-friendly designated drop-off and collection area will be used. During this period, it is important that parents and guardians are physically distanced from each other and from staff when dropping off and collecting their children.
What should I do to prepare my child in returning to crèche/preschool/childminder or starting for the first time?
It is important that you talk to your child to support them to prepare for the transition from home. It is also important to talk to your service provider and discuss what changes they are making to the environment and, their practice in response to public health guidance. Chat to your child about what might be different about the setting, such as drop off or collection, lots of handwashing, the idea of play pods, or that staff might have changed. Also, explain to them what will be the same such as playing indoors and outdoors, reading stories, doing art projects, dressing up, music and exploring nature. More information on supporting your child’s transition is available on our Gov.ie website [Coming soon]
What is a Play Pod?
The “play pod” model is a safe and playful approach to restricting interactions between closed groups of children and adults as an alternative to social distancing, which is not possible with young children. The purpose of ‘play-pods’ is to limit the number of people a child has contact with, to facilitate tracing, and to support close, positive interactions between children and their adult caregivers, like in a key-worker system, which is characteristic of many childcare settings. This system will also reduce the amount of contact adults have with each other. Where possible, there should be two adults in a ‘play-pod’, to enable staff to take breaks without the need for floating staff.
Do not bring any toys from home.
Children must not bring their own toys from home. You can bring a comfort toy that helps your child to fall asleep. However, it is more important than ever that this toy is not shared with other children. It may be useful to provide a duplicate comfort toy to the setting where possible.
Young children will not be expected to remain socially distanced from each other or the adults caring for them. Neither will they be expected to wear masks or be cared for by adults wearing masks. Adults may wear masks when they are not caring for children i.e. interacting with parents, during breaks. Infection risk should be minimised through children remaining within a small group (‘play-pod’) through the day.
Guidance on supporting your child for their return to early learning and care (Barnardos).
Working together with your child’s setting (DCYA).
FAQs for Parents, (DCYA)
City/County Childcare Committee (CCC)
Link to City/County Chlidcare Committees (CCC’s).
- Short animated video on returning to childcare for children, (DCYA) [Watch here].
- Guidance on Terminology for shared understanding
FAQ’s will continue to be update at appropriate intervals
Protecting your child
The most important things you can do to protect your child are:
- encourage your child to wash their hands regularly and properly
- clean and disinfect surfaces in your home and things people touch a lot. Coronavirus can live on surfaces so it’s important to do this. Don’t forget door handles and the toilet flush.
- follow advice to prevent your child from catching or spreading viral infections
- look out for symptoms of coronavirus – if your child has symptoms, they will need to self-isolate
COVID19 – From 11th March 2020
Our Policy on dealing with Covid-19 in conjunction with its Policy on the control of Infectious Diseases.
Aim. By following the advice contained below we aim to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in any of our afterschool.
Responsibilities. While we endeavours to reduce the risk of infection it reminds all of those who are involved in the provision and use of its services that they have a responsibility to do likewise by following the guidelines and recommendations of the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Department of Health.
Advice and Guidelines. To ensure that all who provide and use the services have the most accurate information in relation to what they should do to ensure best practice, everyone is advised to read the advice provided by the HSE, Department of Health and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on their respective websites:
THE PLAY HOUSE stresses that the most important advice to be followed relates to very practical issues, such as hand washing and observing good respiratory health practices. We would also like to remind all who may have returned from travelling in countries listed on the respective government websites, regarding Covid-19, to follow the advice given, if in particular you do not feel well.
- In addition, if you have returned from travelling in a country affected by Covid-19 and listed on the Department website, we would ask that you do not bring your child to the after-school, but to request your wife/husband/partner/other care giver or guardian to do so.
- We wish to reduce the amount of footfall in the after-school and would appreciate it if you could arrange to meet your child at the entrance and not come in-side the building.
Note: It is each person’s responsibility to keep up to date in relation to the advice being offered by government agencies in relation to Covid-19. As the situation is evolving, sometimes on an hourly basis, this would be the best way for all to comply with our aim to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in our Afterschool.
We will be continually updating and reviewing this policy.
Infection Prevention and Control guidance for settings providing
childcare during the COVID-19 Pandemic. > DOWNLOAD DOCUMENT
See Also: https://first5.gov.ie/practitioners/reopening