Today’s blog is the last in the series of blogs outlining the COVID-19 protocols for reopening ECIs as presented in the Reopening Early Childhood Institutions for Children Ages 0-5 Specific Protocols document on the ECC’s website. We presented this series to provide parents, practitioners, principals, ECI owners/operators and the general public with bite-sized information on the specific protocols to be put in place by ECIs to ensure the health and safety of our children, ECI staff, parents and community members.
The protocols were developed by a team of stakeholders including representatives from the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), the University of the West Indies (UWI), the ECC and other government partners and were guided by considerations for maintaining COVID-19 protections, children’s psychological and development needs, and the economic viability of Early Childhood Institutions.
As we close out the series, here are a few reminders for maintaining health and safety in ECIs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Hands to be washed or sanitized on entry to school and frequently throughout the day; sanitizer must be made with at least 60% ethyl alcohol or 75% isopropyl alcohol or be a recommended product by the MoHW.
- ECI workers and students must be monitored daily for symptoms of COVID-19 including taking temperature checks upon entry to ECIs and requiring those ill or showing symptoms (fever, shortness of breath, cough) to stay home.
- There must be an isolation room/corner for children showing symptoms to stay until collected by a parent/guardian, as required by ECC Standards.
- Teach and engage children in hygiene such as washing hands regularly, covering mouth when coughing and sneezing and not touching face, nose and eyes.
- Clean and sanitize frequently used surfaces and commonly used areas, including children’s mats, play equipment and toys.
- Masks are required for entry to school property; masks must cover the nose and mouth fully. Masks are to be worn throughout the day when physical distancing is not possible. Masks can be removed when teachers are physically distanced from children, such as at the front of a classroom or on the playground as facial expression is important for young children’s development.
- Masks should NOT be worn by children 2 years and under. Children who are 3-5 years of age should also not wear masks as this is not practical.
- Guideline signs to ensure safety from COVID-19 should be posted and visible for all, including, posters for children.