Reopening ECIs – Physical Layout and Infrastructure

To continue our blog series outlining the protocols for reopening ECIs, in this blog article, we will be highlighting the protocols that are outlined in the Reopening Early Childhood Institutions For Children Ages 0-5 Specific Protocols document that concern the physical layout and infrastructure of early childhood institutions. All the protocols outlined below are mandatory and the full document can be found on the ECC website.

Protocols for Physical Layout and Infrastructure for Early Childhood Institutions:

  • ECIs must utilise the MoHW Self-assessment Checklist. 
  • Guidelines signs for child entry must be in accessible written and poster form on the outside of the premises
  • Guidelines signs for mandatory masks for parents on school property, physical distancing and sanitation protocols are to be accessible on the outside of premises
  • Spots on the ground outside doors of the facility should set the boundary of six (6) feet intervals where parents/guardians may wait safely to pick up their children
  • There should be fully equipped hand-sanitization stations that are within height reach for children to access or to be dispensed by ECI workers
  • Sanitizer must be made with at least 60% ethyl alcohol or 75% isopropyl alcohol or be a product recommended by the MoHW and must be available at all times
  • Hand washing posters suitable for young children should be made available and as required by ECC Standards
  • Large signs/posters suitable for young children must be placed in visible areas promoting other sanitizing protocols
  • Each child must be assigned to his/her own crib as required by ECC Standards. ECIs must ensure that clean bed linen is available and changed daily/weekly
  • Seating in the classroom should be spaced to follow ECC Standards of 20 sq. foot per child and the physical distancing standards of 6 feet
  • There must be an isolation room/corner for children who show symptoms to stay until they are collected by a parent/guardian as required by ECC Standards
  • ECIs should open doors and windows to create circulation of indoors areas
  • Temperature in the classroom must not exceed 30C/ 86F as is required by the Public Health Act
  • ECIs should rearrange seating to allow students to face the same direction
  • ECIs should discontinue use of water fountains

We continue to encourage the public to visit the MoHW website and the ECC website for more information.

Reopening of ECIs

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At the ECC, we want to assure our children, parents, caregivers, practitioners, and the general public that the safety of everyone at early childhood institutions matters. The COVID-19 protocols for the reopening of early childhood institutions (ECIs) have been developed and will be implemented in all ECIs.

Over the coming months, we will be outlining the protocols from the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the Early Childhood Commission in a series of blogs so that the public is aware of what is required of your child’s institutions as they reopen for the new school year. In this blog, we will cover some of the mandatory protocols for ECI workers.

  • ECI staff members should stay home if they become ill or have been exposed to someone who is ill
  • Staff members should complete a standardized symptom and COVID-19 exposure interview before returning to work
  • Exposure interview conducted with staff before they return to work should assess the risk at their homes
  • ECIs should text and email new work protocols to all employees before they return to work
  • ECIs are to host face-to-face sensitization/orientation of new protocols before the ECIs resume services, discuss protocols and implementation at regular staff meetings at least once per month
  • ECIs should ensure:
    • All staff are aware of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 in children
    • All staff are trained in Universal Precautions (managing body fluids) as required by the ECC Standards
    • All staff are familiar with the ECI Sanitization Plan required by the ECC; Sanitization Plans must be updated to include COVID-19 sanitation requirements
    • Sanitation Plan should include a regular cleaning schedule for indoor and outdoor furnishings, equipment, and learning resources, and adequate procedures for soap, hand sanitizers and cleaning agents
    • ECI Health Plan should be updated to include exclusion from school for staff/students for COVID-19 related symptoms

We advise parents to continue checking the for updates from the Ministry of Health and Wellness website on the status of COVID-19 in Jamaica and to check the ECC’s website  for updated information on ECIs.