Pandemic Policy
Effective date: June, 2020
Latest revision: September 15, 2021

 

Intent 

 

Pandemic is distinguished as an infectious disease/illness that becomes a worldwide epidemic that spreads easily and rapidly through many countries and regions of the world affecting a large percentage of the population. A pandemic occurs when an infectious disease emerges to which the population has little or no immunity. It may spread easily from person to person and may cause serious illness and death. 
Pandemics are unpredictable and can affect any age group with the severity affecting each individual differently. During a pandemic, infectious diseases or illnesses can be prevented through appropriate hygiene, sanitation and infection prevention/control practices. Provisions of daily health screenings for children/staff and heightened disinfecting are put in place to protect the health, safety and well-being of children and staff. 
Pandemic Policy objective: 
•    Ensure all Staff are educated about pandemic risk factors and prevention procedures. 
•    Control infection risks through the application of preventative measures 
•    Integrate pandemic prevention strategies in day-to-day operation.
•    Ensure staff recognize that the educational information provided is to be utilized in the workplace to protect themselves and the children. 

 

Policy 

 

All staff must adhere strictly to the guidelines and practices below in order to reduce the risk of contracting or transmitting an infectious disease or illness during a pandemic. 
The Pandemic policy and procedures are required to be reviewed with employees before they begin their employment. 
Pandemic Procedure 
The Program Supervisor/Designate will advise staff and ensure they use the guidelines in the above noted policy. 

HEALTH AND SAFETY
General Information
Staff/children are encouraged to:
•    wash their hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 
•    sneeze and cough into your sleeve. 
•    avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. 
•    avoid contact with people who are sick. 
•    stay at home if you are sick.
Anyone traveling outside of Canada should stay home for 14 days.
Sanitation

Staff are expected to wear gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.

Countertops

After each nutrition break, staff will:
•    Clean all countertop surfaces using a soap and water mixture.
•    Disinfect all countertop surfaces using disinfecting wipes.
•    Complete the Cleaning Log

Frequently touched surfaces

Staff will:
•    In addition to routine cleaning, surfaces that have frequent contact with hands should be cleaned and disinfected twice per day and when visibly dirty using disinfecting wipes
•    Complete the Cleaning Log

Washrooms

Washrooms are to be disinfected twice a day.

Staff will:
•    disinfect taps, toilet handle, toilet seat, and sink
•    empty garbage if needed.
•    refill soap, hand-sanitizer, and paper towels if needed.
•    complete the Cleaning Log.

 

Electronics

Staff will wipe down all electronics after each use using disinfecting wipes.


PHYSICAL DISTANCINGS

 

Physical distancing Involves taking steps to limit the number of people you come into close contact with (i.e. within 2 metres of another person) outside of your immediate family. It is recommended to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

In order to promote social distancing, stemPlay will be:
•    dividing the children between the 2 cohorts.
o    Cohorts are not to interact with one another.
o    In shared outdoor space, cohorts must maintain a distance of at least 2 metres between groups and any other individuals outside of the cohort.
•    increasing use of out outdoor area for play and learning.
•    incorporating more individual activities or activities that encourage more space between children.
•    using visual cues to promote physical distancing.
•    planning activities that do not involve shared objects or toys;

Staff should respect the 2-metres recommendations from the Ministry. Staff should not gather for lunch, break or other activities.


PERSONAL BELONGINGS

 

Personal belongings brought to camp should be minimized. Personal items (e.g., backpack, water bottles, food, etc.) should be labeled with the child’s name
Belongings are to be kept in the area designated for the individual’s cohort and should not be handled by individuals from other cohorts.


DROP-OFF AND PICK-UP PROCEDURES

 

Parents are responsible for checking children’s temperature before coming to stemPlay. If a child’s temperature is equal or greater than 38 degrees Celsius or if the child/children has any signs or symptoms of COVID-19, such as respiratory infection, such as cough (dry or productive), loss of appetite, chills, nasal congestion, headache, feeling unwell/fatigue, sore muscles, runny nose/sneezing, sore throat/hoarseness, wheezing, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, diarrhea, vomiting or other they must stay home.

 

Drop-off

•    Only one parent/guardian may accompany their child into stemPlay.
•    Parents are not to go beyond the attendance table
•    Parents/Guardias are required to self-screen both their child and themselves at home prior to attending stemPlay.
•    When arriving at stemPlay:
1.    Drop-off begins at 8:00 a.m.
2.    Parents/Guardians are asked to remain outside, in queue keeping a 2m distance, until asked to enter stemPlay by staff.
3.    Adults are required to wear a mask when in stemPlay (one will be provided if needed).
4.    Parents/Guardians are to disinfect their hands upon entry.
5.    Staff will screen the parent/guardian and record the information in the attendance log book.
6.    Staff will screen the child and record the information in the attendance log book.
7.    Parents/Guardians are to sign in their child using the Attendance Log.  Parents are asked to leave immediately after completing the attendance.
8.    Staff will escort the child to the appropriate program room, maintaining a physical distance of 2m when possible.
9.    Program Staff will disinfect doorknobs, the iPad screen, the attendance table, and any other surface that may have been touched by the parent.
10.    Once the screening room is disinfected, staff will call in another child and parent/guardian.

 

Pick-up

1.    Pick-up begins at 3:30 p.m., with latest pick-up being 5:00 p.m.
2.    Parents/Guardians are asked to remain outside, in queue keeping a 2m distance, until asked to enter by staff.
3.    Program staff will bring the child to the screening room and help them collect their belongings and get ready for home.
4.    Parents/guardians with then be called in from outside.
5.    Parents/Guardians will be asked to disinfect their hands upon entry.
6.    Parents/Guardians different than that who dropped the child off will be screened by staff.
7.    Parents/Guardians will sign out their child(ren) using the Attendance Log.
8.    Staff will release the child to the approved parent/guardian.
9.    Program Staff will disinfect the screening room, wiping down doorknobs, the iPad screen, the attendance table, and any other surface that may have been touched.
10.    Once the screening room is disinfected, staff will get the next child of the next parent/guardian waiting.


SCREENING FOR SYMPTOMS

•    All individuals including children attending stemPlay, staff, parents/guardians, and visitors must be screened before entering stemPlay, answering the COVID-19 screening questions.
•    Parents/guardians are required to complete self-screening each day prior to attending stemPlay (The screening tool can also be found on Ontario’s website at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/ )
•    Children and adults will be screened again by staff upon arrival.
•    Adults are not to go beyond the screening room and are encouraged to leave after screening is completed.

Staff self-assessment screening

Staff are required to submit a completed online self-assessment screening prior to arriving at stemPlay.

Upon entering stemPlay, staff are to complete another screening, recording time, and confirmation that they answered ‘no’ to all the COVID-19 screening questions.

 

VISITORS

During a pandemic, visitors will not be allowed entry into stemPlay.  This includes, but is not limited to:
•    Volunteers and students
•    Parents/other relatives of a child
•    Staff family members

Exceptions

Essential visitors will be permitted to enter stemPlay.

Essential visitors will be screened by a staff member, recording time, contact information, and confirmation that they answered ‘no’ to all the COVID-19 screening questions.


USE OF MASKS AND PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)

Parents/Guardians

•    All adults must wear a mask when entering stemPlay.
•    Masks will be provided in the screening room, or parents/guardians may wear their own (see mask guidelines).
•    When masking, hands should be washed before donning the mask and before and after removing the mask.

Staff

•    Staff are to wear gloves while cleaning and disinfecting.
•    Staff are to wear a medical mask at all times indoors, and outdoors only when a distance of 2m cannot be maintained.

Exceptions:
o    Staff may remove their mask while eating, or while children are not present and a safe distance of 2m can be maintained between staff.
o    Staff may remove their masks and shields while on break away from children in a room with a closed door.

Children

Non-medical masks or face covering are mandatory for all children while inside stemPlay.  Masks may be removed when outdoors when a distance of 2m can be maintained.


MANAGEMENT OF CHILDREN WITH POSSIBLE COVID-19

 

Any positive symptoms should be treated as possible COVID-19, until assessed by the heath unit. 
If a child begins to experience symptoms of COVID-19, staff will: 
1.    Immediately separate that child from others and supervise them in the screening room until they are picked up.
2.    Put on a non-medical surgical mask.
3.    Practise hygiene and respiratory etiquette while the child is waiting to be picked up. 
4.    Provide tissues to the child for proper respiratory etiquette, with proper disposal of the tissues and proper hand hygiene. 
5.    Clean of the screening room once the child has been picked up. 
The Program Supervisor, or designate, will contact the Middlesex-London Health Unit to notify them of a potential case and seek input regarding the information that should be shared with other parents of children in the childcare centre. 
Children with symptoms must be excluded from stemPlay for 14 days after the onset of symptoms. 
Children or staff who have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 or symptomatic person(s), will be excluded from stemPlay for 14 days. 
Testing for COVID-19

•    Symptomatic staff and children will be referred for testing. Testing of asymptomatic persons must be performed as directed by the local public health unit as part of case/contact and outbreak management. A list of symptoms, including atypical signs and symptoms, can be also be found in the COVID-19 Reference Document for Symptoms on the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 website.
o    Those who test negative for COVID-19 must be excluded from stemPlay until 24 hours after symptom resolution. If a symptomatic person receives a negative result, a repeat test within 24-48 hours can be considered if clinical suspicion is high.
o    Those who test positive for COVID-19 must be excluded from stemPlay for 14 days after the onset of symptoms and clearance has been received from the Middlesex-London Public Health Unit.
•    stemPlay considers a single, symptomatic, laboratory confirmed case of COVID19 in a staff member or camp participant as a confirmed COVID-19 outbreak in consultation with the local public health unit. Outbreaks should be declared in collaboration between the program and the local public health unit to ensure an outbreak number is provided.
•    Staff members and camp participants awaiting test results should be excluded from camp.


WHEN A CHILD OR STAFF/HOME CHILD CARE PROVIDER DEMONSTRATES SYMPTOMS OF ILLNESS OR BECOMES SICK

 

Staff/home child care providers, parents and guardians, and children must not attend the program if they are sick, even if symptoms resemble a mild cold.

Symptoms to look for include but are not limited to: 

•    Fever and/or chills Temperature of 37.8 degrees Celsius/100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
•    Cough or barking cough (croup) Continuous, more than usual, making a whistling noise when breathing (not related to asthma, post-infectious reactive airways, or other known causes or conditions you already have)
•    Shortness of breath Out of breath, unable to breathe deeply (not related to asthma or other known causes or conditions you already have)
•    Decrease or loss of taste or smell Not related to seasonal allergies, neurological disorders, or other known causes or conditions you already have
•    Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea Not related to irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, menstrual cramps, or other known causes or conditions you already have

•    If a child or staff becomes sick while in at stemPlay, they will be isolated in the screening room and family members contacted for pick-up.
•    The sick person should be provided with tissues and reminded of hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and proper disposal of tissues.
•    If the sick person is a child, the child must be supervised by a staff member in the screening room.
•    The child should continue to wear a surgical/procedure mask. Staff should wear a surgical/procedure mask and eye protection at all times and not interact with others. 
•    Staff should avoid contact with the child’s respiratory secretions.
•    All items used by the ill person should be cleaned and disinfected. All items that cannot be cleaned (paper, books, cardboard puzzles) should be removed and stored in a sealed container for a minimum of 7 days.
•    Middlesex-London Health Unit should be notified, and their advice should be followed.
•    Where a child or staff is suspected of having or has a confirmed case of COVID-19, the Program Supervisor must report this to the ministry as a serious occurrence. 
•    Other children, including siblings of the sick child, and staff in the program who were present while the child or staff member became ill should be identified as a close contact and further cohorted (i.e., grouped together) until they can be picked up by parents/guardians to self-isolate at home.

 

SOCIAL DISTANCING

 

Social distancing involves taking steps to limit the number of people you come into close contact with (i.e. within 2 metres of another person) outside of your immediate family. It is recommended to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
In order to promote social distancing and maintain the 2m distance between people, stemPlay will be:

•    Increasing use of the outdoor area for play and learning
•    Incorporating more individual activities or activities that encourage more space between children. 
Staff should respect the 2-metre recommendations from the Ministry. Staff should not gather for lunch, break or other activities. 

 

ATTENDANCE RECORDS

 

Program staff must keep daily records of anyone entering stemPlay who stays for 15 minutes or longer or enters stemPlay beyond the screening room. Records (e.g., name, contact information, time of arrival/departure, screening completion etc.) must be kept up-to-date and available to facilitate contact tracing in the event of a confirmed COVID-19 case or outbreak. 

The Attendance Log for children attending stemPlay will be completed by staff that includes the name, temperature, COVID-19 screening question responses, and arrival and departure time of all children, along with the name, temperature, and COVID-19 screening question responses for the parent/guardian doing the drop off and pick up.


SERIOUS OCCURRENCE REPORTING

•    The Program Supervisor has a duty to report suspected or confirmed cases
of COVID-19 under the Health Protection and Promotion Act. The licensee
should contact the Middlesex-London Health Unit to report a child suspected to have COVID-19. 
•    The Middlesex-London Health Unit will provide specific advice on what control measures should be implemented to prevent the potential spread and how to monitor for other possible infected staff members and children.
•    Where a child, parent, or staff is suspected (i.e. has symptoms and has been tested) of having or has a confirmed case of COVID-19, the Program Supervisor must report this to the ministry as a serious occurrence.
•    The Program Supervisor is required to post the serious occurrence notification form as required under the CCEYA, unless local the Middlesex-London Health Unit advises otherwise.


COMMUNICATION WITH FAMILIES

The Program Supervisor will communicate with families regarding the enhancement of health and safety measures to ensure transparency of expectations.  This includes, but not limited to:
•    New policies should be shared with families, for their information and to ensure they are aware of these expectations, including keeping children home when they are sick, which are aimed at helping to keep all children and staff/providers safe and healthy.
•    The policies and procedures regarding health and safety protocols to COVID-19 links to helpful information, as well as detailed instructions regarding screening and protocols if a child or staff member becomes ill.

The Program Supervisor will communicate any confirmed cases of COVID-19 to parents using:
•    Email
•    Classdojo
•    Communication during drop-off and pick-up


STAFF TRAINING

•    The Program Supervisor will ensure that all staff are trained on the health, safety and other operational measures outlined in this document plus any additional local requirements from the Middlesex-London Health Unit.
•    This includes:
o    instruction on how to properly clean the space and equipment
o    how to safely conduct daily screening and keep daily attendance and screening records
o    what to do in the case that someone becomes sick.


EQUIPMENT AND TOY USAGE AND RESTRICTIONS

•    Staff are encouraged to provide toys and equipment which are made of materials that can be cleaned and disinfected (e.g., avoid plush toys).
•    Toys and equipment should be cleaned and disinfected at a minimum between cohorts.
•    When possible, stemPlay will have designated toys, electronics, and equipment (e.g., balls, robotic kits, iPads, VR Goggles,) for each room or cohort. Where toys, electronics, and equipment are shared, they should be cleaned and disinfected prior to being shared.


OUTDOOR PLAY/LEARNING

•    stemPlay will schedule outdoor play in small groups in order to facilitate physical distancing. 
•    If two groups would like to use the outdoor learning space during the same time, program staff will divide the space with physical markers (emergency cones) to ensure groups remain separated by at least 2 metres. 
•    Program staff will have designated outdoor toys and equipment (e.g., hula-hoops, loose equipment, etc.,) for each group and may not be shared.
•    Where toys and equipment are shared, Program Staff will clean and disinfect prior to being shared.
•    Children should bring their own sunscreen where possible and it should not be shared.


FOOD

•    Staff will ensure:
o    there is no sharing of food during nutrition breaks.
o    proper hand hygiene is practised before and after a child eats.
o    children are practising physical distancing while eating.


PRE-PLANNED GROUP EVENTS AND IN-PERSON MEETINGS

 

Meetings with parents will take place via telephone whenever possible, and in the case an in-person meeting needs to occur, this will be done in the screening room outside of drop-off and pick-up hours.

Staff meetings will take place in the screening room after pick-up is completed.

 

IMMUNIZATION POLICY

 

Disclosure of immunization status

stemPlay employees are required to complete a COVID-19 vaccination attestation.  Employee will need in disclose one of the following options to the Program Supervisor no later than Sept. 10, 2021.

Please select one of the following. Under the current Health Canada guidelines, full vaccination means 14 days must have passed after completion of your vaccination series.

Vaccination Status: 
•    I am fully vaccinated
•    I am in progress to obtain full vaccination
•    I am not vaccinated due to medical reason
•    I am not vaccinated and will participate in the education and testing program as outlined by the Ministry of Education
•    I am choosing to not attest and will participate in the education and testing program as outlined by the Ministry

Staff who are not vaccinated, including medical exemptions, or choose not to disclose, will be required to undergo COVID-19 rapid testing twice a week.  A photo of the completed test must be sent to the Program Supervisor after completion on Sundays and Wednesdays.  Test results will be kept in confidentiality.  Rapid test devices will be supplied by the Ministry of Education.

Any individual that receives a preliminary positive result on a COVID-19 rapid antigen test, is required to:

1.    See a confirmation PCR test immediately (ideally within 48 hours) at a designated testing centre.
2.    Isolate immediately until the results of their confirmatory test is known.
3.    Safely return to work only after they receive a negative result on a confirmatory test at a designated testing centre.

Any positive confirmatory test is routinely reported to the local public health unit,
consistent with public health legislation, to support case and contact management and
surveillance.

An employer has no obligation to inform a public health unit of an employee’s rapid
antigen test result (regardless of whether it was positive or negative).

If an individual has had a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection they should
not participate in antigen testing for 90 days following the date of their positive
COVID-19 test result. These individuals should immediately resume COVID-19 rapid
antigen testing after the 90th day from the date of their positive COVID-19 PCR result.
Individuals that are covered by the licensee’s immunization disclosure policy, but are
not directly employed by a licensee must provide their attestations or negative test
results directly to the licensee, but are not required to duplicate testing if their employer
also has a rapid antigen testing policy.

Please note, rapid antigen point-of-care tests provided to licensed child care programs
are intended for individuals that are covered by the licensee’s immunization disclosure
policy. These tests are not intended to be used to screen children. Licensees are expected to maintain their current screening protocols for children and are encouraged
to use the provincial COVID-19 school and child care screening tool.

Staff who are not vaccinated, or choose not to disclose, will have to undergo a vaccination education program provided by the Ministry of Education.  Follow the link below to access the education video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lylv8yFnjcM&feature=youtu.be

RESOURCES

COVID-19 Fact Sheet: Talking to Children About the Pandemic (Ontario Ministry of Health)
http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/publichealth/coronavirus/docs/2019_talking_children_guidance.pdf

Operational Guidance During COVID-19 Outbreak: Child Care Re-Opening (Ontario Ministry of Education)
http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/childcare/child-care-re-opening-operational-guidance.pdf

Health and Safety Guidance During COVID-19 For Employers of Child Care Centres (Public Services Health & Safety Association)
https://www.pshsa.ca/resources/health-and-safety-guidance-during-covid-19-for-employers-of-child-care-centre

COVID-19: Precautions When Working As A Childcare Provider (Public Services Health & Safety Association)
https://www.pshsa.ca/resources/covid-19-precautions-when-working-as-a-childcare-provid

Guidance for Emergency Childcare Centres (Ontario Ministry of Health)
http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/publichealth/coronavirus/docs/2019_child_care_guidance.pdf

Environmental Cleaning in Non-Healthcare Public Settings (Middlesex-London Health Unit)
https://www.healthunit.com/uploads/2020-03-20-mlhu-guidance-on-environmental-cleaning-for-non-healthcare-public-settings.pdf

Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings (Public Health Ontario)
https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/ncov/factsheet-covid-19-environmental-cleaning.pdf?la=en