Reopening Update

Last updated July 5, 2021

As of September 1, 2020, we have fully reopened. Here’s what we’re doing to maintain the health and safety of children families, and employees during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic (based on the latest relaunch guidance for child care):

  • Vaccination: We strongly recommend that all Educators and family members receive COVID-19 vaccination when eligible to do so. As of early July, the majority of our Educator team has received at least one dose.
  • Cohorting: We continue to operate two separate cohorts — one for each classroom. Educators and children are assigned to one cohort or the other long-term. Cohort reassignments are kept to a minimum.
    • Educators are avoiding contact with other educators or with children and families assigned to a different cohort than themselves.
    • Anyone who must have contact with both cohorts (e.g. Melissa; sanitising support; relief educators) wear non-medical masks whenever in the presence of other employees or children.
    • There is no mixing of cohorts at all; the two rooms alternate days using the Small Park and going on an outside walk (TR uses the park on odd numbered days, PR on even numbered days). The Small Park and any outdoor materials used are sanitised daily.
    • One cohort at a time may use the Big Park, provided it is unoccupied. Educators supervise and assist children in sanitising their hands upon entry to the Big Park and again immediately before exiting.
    • The boot room is sanitised 5 times each morning: Before the first cohort goes outside, before the second cohort goes outside, before the first cohort comes back in, before the second cohort comes back in, and after the second cohort comes back in.
  • Health and Illness Policy and Screening: Anyone who has even very mild symptoms cannot attend the program. This includes parents, employees, and children. This is much more strict than our usual health and illness policy.
    • Parents must go through the screening survey each morning and take children’s temperatures at home before bringing them in to the program. If a child’s temperature is greater than 37.5°C (99.5°F) as measured by mouth or underarm, or 38.0°C (100.4°F) as measured by forehead or ear (ear measurements not recommended for children under 2 years old), the child is considered to be experiencing a fever and must not be brought to the program.
    • Employees and parents must fill out a screening survey upon arrival at the program, or use the online screening tool (families should select “Visitor” and then “Household”; educators should select “Contractor or Vendor”) and show a valid results screen to an educator upon arrival. Parents and children must each be screened separately using the appropriate form. If the answer to any of the questions is “yes”, that person must immediately leave the premises and follow the appropriate isolation, testing, and/or quarantine instructions on the form. If you are unsure whether your child is displaying symptoms that would prevent them from attending, please contact our office to double check.
    • Children who develop symptoms whilst in our care will be sent home as soon as possible, and must isolate until they are able to pass the screening checklist, AND have had no major symptoms for a minimum of 24 hours, without the aid of medications. A primary educator will be assigned to care for that child and keep the child separated from the other children as much as possible while waiting for the child to be picked up. The designated educator will wear a mask and eye protection, and change both once the child has been picked up. Anything the child has used or touched in the preceeding 48 hours will be immediately sanitised or removed from the environment.
    • If a parent, sibling, or other household member is experiencing symptoms and awaiting covid test results, or has tested positive and is isolating, the child is considered to have been in close contact with that family member and must also isolate for a minimum of ten days.
    • Children and employees who have ongoing medical conditions which present with symptoms that overlap with COVID-19 (e.g. environmental allergies, asthma, IBS, migraine disorder, etc.) will need to do a COVID-19 test the first time the symptoms appear. Once the initial symptoms are determined not to be related to covid, the employee or parent should submit in writing a description of what baseline symptoms look like; any new symptoms or worsening of existing symptoms beyond the baseline description will be considered an illness, and will require isolation/exclusion from the program as described above.
  • Picking up and dropping off: Parents/guardians are to use the Bill Black entrance to enter the building (this is the hospital’s designated staff entrance). Any door maybe used to exit the building.
    • Parents/guardians must use hand sanitiser and don a non-medical mask (provided at the screening table) upon entry to the building, and display the access card issued by EHW to the staff screener.
    • Upon arrival at the classroom, parents/guardians must show that day’s screening sticker to the educators. If the parent/guardian does not have a sticker from that day, educators must then screen the parent/guardian at the classroom door, along with any child(ren), if they are dropping off. The child must then wash hands in the bathroom. Parents/guardians are welcome to assist the child with handwashing as part of the dropping-off routine, as long as the family only has children in a single cohort.
    • Parents/guardians are asked to limit their time spent in the classroom, and to maintain physical distance from educators and from parents and children from other families as much as possible.
    • Parents/guardians with children in more than one cohort/classroom are not permitted to enter the classrooms, and must wait in the hallway for educators to sign the child(ren) in or out.
    • Posted room occupancy limits must be adhered to.
    • If a non-enrolled sibling is coming along for pick up or drop off, the sibling and parent/guardian must wait in the hallway and ask the room educators to sign the child in or out without entering the classroom. Siblings under the age of 13 years may not be left unattended in the hallway, but are considered non-essential visitors and so must also not enter the program.
    • If a child is being dropped off or picked up while the group is on an outing, parents/guardians must complete the health surveys immediately prior to educators taking the child into their care, and must sign the child in or out on the paper “out of room” sheet, in accordance with the usual procedure. As a reminder, children must not be signed out on the laptop unless the parent/guardian currently physically has that child in their own care.
  • Physical Distancing: All adults must maintain a distance of 2 meters from each other whenever possible.
    • Parents/family members over the age of 2 years entering the program must wear masks while in the building.
    • As much distance as is reasonable/possible should be maintained between children while eating.
    • Room occupancy limits in both classrooms and in the boot room are set in order to allow for appropriate distancing.
    • Families are reminded that children (and families) from different classrooms/cohorts must maintain 2 meters of distance from each other.
    • Adults must wear masks whenever in the hallways or other public areas of the hospital.
    • Educators may remove their masks when in their classrooms, provided they only have contact with that cohort. Educators are encouraged to wear masks for prolonged close contact such as during diapering routines.
    • Children attending the program are exempt from masking rules.
    • Educators must wear approved eye protection whenever in the hallways or other public areas of the hospital, UNLESS they are fully vaccinated (have received their second dose of vaccine at least two weeks ago).
  • Personal Belongings: Children’s personal belongings coming into the program should be kept to a minimum, but comfort objects, etc. are welcome. These must be taken home each evening, ideally, or kept in a designated space (child’s cubby, parent mailbox, blanket bag) overnight, and must be taken home along with the child’s bedding to be laundered each weekend.
    • Please label all personal belongings, including lunch containers, water bottles, outerwear, blankets, blanket bags, etc.
  • Food: Parents are asked to supply all food for their children at this time. The refrigerator and microwave are still available in each room.
    • All food and drink containers must be clearly labeled with the child’s name.
    • If possible, please include any utensils or other dishes your child will need.
    • Educators will follow correct food handling procedures when handling children’s food items (opening packages and containers, warming things up in the microwave, etc.). Educators wash their hands in between handling each child’s food items.
    • While we are not currently preparing or providing snacks, our food handling surfaces and sinks must be maintained, as we are still handling children’s food from home.
    • The Glenrose currently prohibits us from bringing in any shared food items under any circumstances.
    • As a reminder, all food items must be free from peanuts, any type of tree nuts, and sesame, in any format, due to potentially life-threatening allergies.
  • Activities and Materials: The activities and materials provided for the children’s exploration and learning are limited in much the same way they are during a gastro-intestinal illness outbreak:
    • NEW: Shared sensory experiences with DRY materials may be reintroduced. Everyone must wash or sanitise their hands before and after engaging with these experiences.
    • WET sensory experiences such as water tables, playdough, etc. are still limited to individual play with individual tools and materials.
    • Any fabric items that are used in play (e.g. blankets, dress-up clothes, stuffed toys) are removed and placed in the laundry at the end of each day.
    • Items that cannot be effectively sanitised are removed from the classrooms until further notice.
    • Materials are thoroughly washed and sanitised before being used by another cohort.
    • Necessary materials that cannot reasonably be washed and sanitised (e.g. books, puzzles) will be stored in a sealed container for a minimum of ten days before being used by another cohort.
  • Outings: Outings to communal/shared spaces are cancelled until further notice. this includes inside walks, use of the gymnasium, swimming, and use of neighbourhood playgrounds.
    • NEW: One cohort at a time may use the Big Park, as long as no one else is using it at that time. Educators supervise and assist children in sanitising their hands upon entry to and exit from the Big Park.
    • Outside walks around the hospital grounds, through the neighbourhood, and to play in open fields nearby are used as alternate outings when it is the other cohort’s turn to use the small park.

Reopened for Essential Services

On March 23, 2020, EHW Child Care Society’s early learning program reopened with reduced capacity for children of core essential service workers during the COVID-19 crisis. Our current hours of operation are Monday-Friday, 6:45 am to 5:30 pm. As things stand, we have temporary availability up until April 17, 2020 for children between the ages of 12 months and 6 years. After April 18, we have a temporary waitlist for these spaces only.

Please note: Using our centre at this time will not alter anyone’s waitlist position or enrollment status. Once life goes back to something resembling “normal” and the closure order on child care facilities is lifted, all families whose children were enrolled on or before March 16, 2020 will get their spaces back. Any spaces that become vacant after that point will be filled from our pre-existing waitlist as usual.