With Level 5 now in place for the whole country, Early Years Services need to continue to be vigilant with government advice to ensure that services can continue to operate safely. In September, many services re-opened their doors and have worked tirelessly to ensure that staff and children are kept safe from the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. A pandemic is new to everyone with no exceptions and it most undoubtedly took some time to get used to all of the new procedures that were put in place. As we begin mid-term break it is a good time to take stock and to assess all of the new processes and procedures to ensure that they continue to work for the safety of everyone.
The key recommendations to reduce the risk of transmission have not changed: good hand hygiene, good respiratory hygiene, social distancing and regular cleaning and disinfecting. In order to keep staff and children safe and reduce the transmission of the virus you need to keep the virus out of the service as far as possible. This begins with ensuring staff and children only attend services if they are well and should stay at home if they have any symptoms of COVID-19 or a viral respiratory infection and contact their GP. Staff and children should also stay at home if there is someone in their household suspected or known to have COVID-19. Do you have a sign outside to remind parents that they need to follow these guidelines? The ‘Hello Everyone A2 Outdoor Poster’ outlines these guidelines and as it is waterproof can be hung outside where it will be visible to everyone.
At the Early Years Shop we have a range of both alcohol and non-alcohol hand sanitising products that will ensure good hand hygiene at your service. Children need to be constantly reminded of hand washing and good respiratory hygiene practices. With our Hand Washing for Children and Blow Your Nose A3 wipe clean posters you can hang them in your classroom where children will be able to easily follow from the colourful images displayed on each poster!
Continue to structure children and staff into play pods that are as small in size as possible and keep a daily record of the people (children and carers) in each pod everyday to facilitate contact tracing if the need arises. Ventilate the indoor environment as much as possible and within temperature requirements and use the outdoor space as much as possible if weather permits. COVID-19 thrives more in an indoor environment. We have a range of products for indoor and outdoor use that will allow you to mark areas for social distancing and pod separation. This includes fun and child friendly indoor floor stickers as well as painting stencils and a rainbow of colours in spray paint to ensure that you keep it bright and colourful for young children.
Ensure that cleaning and disinfecting measures continue to be strictly adhered to with high touch surfaces and objects being cleaned regularly. This includes lights, door switches, door handles, taps, toilet flush handles and tables. Our Klorsept and Klorkleen cleaning and disinfectant range are manufactured in Ireland by Medentech and are already used internationally in hospitals, medical practices, and many other locations sensitive to the dangers of infection. Klorsept and Klorkleen will kill 99.995% of germs and viruses including the SARS coronavirus. The products come in tablet form which can be dropped into the correct amount of water for the required dilution, making them free from leakages and easy to store.
Make sure that the Drop Off and Collection procedures that you have established are working well and that they continue to support social distancing and minimise the number of contacts parents and children have with other parents and children on a daily basis. Ensure that you persist with only allowing access into the service to parents of children with specific needs or in risk categories and find new ways to communicate with parents such as by email, text, phone, social media and newsletters. Encourage parents to move away as soon as they drop or collect so that they are not congregating at the building. The No Congregating Poster will reinforce this message to parents and ensure that you are compliant with Tusla recommendations.