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Policy and Procedures – COVID-19 – Orléans-Cumberland EarlyON Child and Family Centre

The Orléans-Cumberland Community Resource Centre (OCCRC) has established this policy and procedures guide in respect of the COVID-19 pandemic in accordance with the directions provided by the Ministry of Education as well as Ottawa Public Health (OPH) to protect the health and safety of our families, program participants, and staff. This guide is shared with all program participants: parents, caregivers, legal guardians and EarlyON staff.  To participate in the EarlyON activities, a consent form must be signed stating the policies and procedures have been read, and you are adhering to the policies. If you fail to adhere, the OCCRC EarlyON staff can ask you to leave the premises.

February 25th, 2021  

Dear EarlyON Families,

As we are getting ready to reopen for our in-person activities, we would like to highlight some changes to our programming. While we know this can be an uneasy time, the team at the Orléans-Cumberland EarlyON Child and Family Centre are committed to providing a quality program that is safe, supportive, welcoming, educational, child-friendly and fun!

While many steps are new and  different, to continue to be present for you and your family, we had to modify your experience at the EarlyON Child and Family Centre; rest assured that our Centre remains an environment that fosters fun and learning. It is our goal to draw out and inspire the best in everyone as we provide them with opportunities to socialize from a distance, create, explore, and learn. These policy and procedures will lay out the changes as we enter the next reopening phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. This situation is unprecedented and is constantly evolving, so all changes included in this document will remain our program policies and procedures until further notice. We will make sure that all changes are realistic and feasible for staff, children, and families by following Ottawa Public Health guidelines as well as those put forth by the Ministry of Education. Please be sure to read this guide before you attend one of our programs. If you have any questions about the policies and procedures that are outlined in this document, please feel free to connect with one of our EarlyON team members at earlyONyva@crcoc.ca or by phone at 613-830-4357. These measures are in place to ensure that our space is safe and enjoyable for all.

The Orléans-Cumberland  EarlyON Child and Family Centre Team

NOTICE OF RISK OF EXPOSURE

Given the fact that there are community transmission cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa, there is a risk that both symptomatic and asymptomatic transmission may happen while attending our programming. While we have developed measures to prevent the risk of exposure to the virus, it is important that parents, caregivers, and employees are made aware of and understand the risk of exposure. 

When children from multiple families attend a single EarlyON Child and Family Centre to participate in indoor or outdoor programming there is an increased risk of the COVID-19 virus being transmitted. Children who are infected with the COVID-19 virus are more likely than adults to have very mild infections or to have no symptoms at all, but these children can still transmit the infection to other children and adults at the EarlyON Centre. This means that children can bring home an infection acquired at the EarlyON Centre and put other persons at risk. The EarlyON Centre has a screening process to help detect infections when there are symptoms; however, this screening process will not detect infected children or adults who do not have symptoms at the time of screening. While most transmissions occur from people who have symptoms, there is the possibility of asymptomatic transmission, and individuals should be aware of this. The risk of serious COVID-19 infection increases with age, which participants and family members should consider in terms of the risk of exposure to themselves personally.

REGISTRATION FOR EARLYON PROGRAMS

To ensure the safety of all and to respect social distancing guidelines, our playgroups will allow a maximum of 8 individuals per playgroups, excluding EarlyON staff. The number in attendance may increase over time and depending on location. We will respect OPH or Ministry guidance in this regard. Families must register in advance for the program activity of their choice. Only one (1) accompanying adult will be permitted to attend with the child(ren) per session. Families will be limited to attending only one (1) program activity per week to ensure all families have the opportunity to participate. To register, go to our website: www.crcoc.ca or call (613-830-4357) and speak with an EarlyON team member. Registration opens every Friday at noon for the following week.

Families who have not signed up to attend a playgroup ahead of time cannot enter the facilities or participate in the program. 

Our programming activities will be shorter than usual to ensure proper cleaning and disinfecting common spaces.  The programming schedule is updated regularly on our website.

Please check our website regularly as programming may need to be cancelled with short notice.  When possible, we will attempt to call registered families/caregivers of the cancelled programming activity. 

Virtual programming will continue once we reopen. Please visit our website www.crcoc.ca for full programming schedule.

ACTIVE SCREENING

All individuals including children, families, caregivers, and staff attending EarlyON programs must be screened each day before participating. Active screening is the process of proactively checking for symptoms (including temperature checks), travel history and contact information.   

Families are to arrive 5 minutes prior to their registered program activity to allow time for the screening process.

When arriving on site, you will be greeted by EarlyON staff members who will be conducting screening questions, taking temperature and attendance for everyone. Families will be served one at the time.  EarlyON staff must record the time participants arrive and depart from the facilities as well as their contact information.

At this time, the EarlyON entrance will be the back door of the Centre (in front of the Shenkman Arts Centre).  The door will be clearly identified and has a doorbell.  EarlyON staff will be greeting families 5 minutes prior to the start of the programming activity. We ask all groups to maintain physical distancing when awaiting screening and when entering and exiting the facility.

ADMISSION EXCLUSIONS

  • Due to symptoms related to COVID-19

Anyone with a temperature equal to or greater than 37.8 degrees Celsius, or who meets the criteria below, will not be allowed to enter the Centre and will be required to isolate themselves for a period of 14 days and/or consult with OPH:

  • Fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
  • Unexplained fatigue, delirium (a serious medical condition that involves confusion, memory changes and bizarre behaviour), falls, acute functional decline, worsening chronic illness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, chills, headaches, acute laryngotracheitis (i.e. pseudocroup) or loss of taste/smell.
  • New or worsening respiratory symptoms: Sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, hoarse voice, or difficulty swallowing.
  • Due to travelling outside Canada in the last 14 days

Anyone who have travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days (including the United States of America), should isolate themselves at home for 14 days and monitor for symptoms. If symptoms develop, a test for COVID-19 should be performed and the person(s) should remain in isolation until the results are received.

  • Due to contact with a person suspected or tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days

Anyone who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, is suspected of having COVID-19, or has a fever, cough or difficulty breathing that started within 14 days of travel outside of Canada , or if providing care to this person (without appropriate personal protective equipment), or have spent a lot of time with this person, they must isolate themselves at home for 14 days and monitor for symptoms. If symptoms develop, a COVID-19 screening test should be done and the person(s) should remain isolated until the results are received.

MANAGAMENT OF INDIVIDUALS WHO DEVELOP SYMPTOMS DURING PROGRAMMING

If anyone becomes symptomatic (COVID related or not) during programming activity, the EarlyON staff must be notified as soon as the symptoms appear; you will be immediately separated from others and asked to leave the program. Please be aware that the first symptom of a COVID-19 infection in children can be gastrointestinal, including diarrhea.

  • The sick person will be provided with tissues, a mask and reminded of hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette (e.g. cough and/or sneeze into their arm), and proper disposal of tissues.
  • All equipment and / or toys used by the symptomatic individual will also be cleaned and disinfected. Anything that cannot be cleaned (e.g. paper, books, cardboard puzzles, etc.) will be removed and stored in a sealed container for a minimum of 7 days.
  • Symptomatic individual(s) will be referred for testing.
  • Parents/caregivers/guardians of other children and staff will in be informed that a participant has developed symptoms and has been sent home.
  • Parents/caregivers/guardians will be asked to monitor the health of their child(ren) and to notify the EarlyON program if their child develops symptoms.
  • As long as other program participants remain symptom-free, they can continue to attend the EarlyON program.

INDIVIDUALS REFERRED TO COVID-19 TESTING

  • COVID-19 testing

Symptomatic children, parents, caregivers, guardians, or staff should be tested for COVID-19 and must stay home and isolate themselves while waiting for COVID-19 test results.  Instructions for self-isolation can be found on the OPH website.

If not screened, the person must remain at home and isolate themselves for 14 days from the day the first symptoms appear or up to 24 hours after symptoms have resolved fully, whichever is longer.

Individuals who have had close contact with the symptomatic family/families or staff at the EarlyON Centre within the previous two days (48 hours prior to symptom onset) should be monitored for the presence of symptoms.  If results are positive for either, further testing may be required as directed by OPH.

  • Negative results following a COVID-19 test

Individuals who test negative must be excluded from EarlyON programs and services until 24 hours have passed since the symptoms have disappeared (No notification to OPH office is required).

  • Positive results following a COVID-19 test

Individuals with COVID-19 will be excluded from EarlyON programs and services for 14 days after the onset of symptoms or until OPH has approved return.

EXTRA HYGIENE MEASURES AND PROCEDURES

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) required

All EarlyON program staff must wear a medical mask and eye protection (e.g., face shield) indoors. All other adults (parents, caregivers, guardians, etc.) must wear a non-medical mask inside the Centre.  

Since the revised guidance on the use of masks issued February 25th 2021, masks are now mandatory for all children in grades 1 and above and encouraged for younger children (aged 2 to SK), subject to reasonable exceptions.

Children, developmentally or chronologically, under the age of 5 do not have to wear a mask if they are refusing to or if the responsible adult is unable to convince them.  Masks are not recommended for children under two years of age. 

All children in grades 1 and above, parents/caregivers, staff and essential visitors are now required to wear a non-medical mask or face covering outdoors when a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained.

Reasonable exceptions to the rule may be considered in cases where:

  • When a distance of at least two meters can be maintained between people indoors;
  • In situations where a child cannot tolerate the mask;
  • In case of health problems;
  • Other.
  • Personnel Training

All EarlyON program staff have received formal PPE training and cleaning procedures.

  • Handwashing

As hand washing remains the best way to protect one another, everyone entering our facility will be asked to use hand sanitizer and/or wash their hands upon entry and throughout their visit with us. When possible, hand washing with soap and water is preferred over alcohol-based hand rub for children.

  • Sanitizing/Disinfecting

All hard surfaces and toys will be disinfected throughout the day, before and after use as well as at the end of each day. Each family will be provided with a bin, all toys touched will be returned in their respective bins immediately after use. All toys including the ones going into a child’s mouth will be disinfected.  Each parent/caregiver/guardian will have access to a microfiber cloth and disinfecting spray bottle. They can disinfect as per their preference. 

  • Snacks

Snacks for children can only be provided by parents, caregivers, or guardians. Centre dishes, cups and utensils will not be available for use. All surfaces must be cleaned and disinfected after snack using microfiber cloth and spray bottle. Hands should be washed before eating a snack as well as when done eating, prior to touching any toys. Snack tables will allow for only one (1) family at a time.

  • Indoor Shoes Only

During winter months, all adults and children attending programming activities will be asked to bring a pair of indoor shoes or slippers to wear in the playroom space. Since children spend time on the floor, we want it to be as clean and safe as possible.

  • Equipment and Toys

We will provide children with toys and materials that are easy to clean and disinfect (i.e. plastic, vinyl and/or wood toys). We will avoid stuffed animals, costumes, etc. As mentioned above, toys and equipment will be cleaned and disinfected after each use.  If certain items are to be shared, they will be cleaned and disinfected between use by the parent/caregiver. Any sensory material offered (modeling clay, water, sand, etc.) will be reserved for a single use per child. All toys and playroom will be disinfected at the end of each day following OPH guidelines.

  • Physical Distancing
  • Play centres
    • Different centres (e.g. blocks, art, etc.) will be appropriately spaced to maintain physical distancing. Physical distancing of at least 2 metres will be encouraged at all times.  This does not apply to parents/children living in the same home.
    • Personal belongings:
      • Personal belongings, such as backpacks should be minimized. If brought, belongings should be labeled and kept in the designated cubby area in the playroom.
    • Strollers:
      • No strollers are to be brought into the Centre; all strollers are to be left outside the building. We aim to limit the number of belongings brought into the Centre. 
  • Coffee and tea:
    • EarlyON staff will no longer be providing coffee and tea. 
    • Departure procedures:
      • To ensure health and safety as well as infection prevention and control practices, we will ask all program activity participants to exit from the same door they have entered, following appropriate signage to exit the building, while maintaining a 2-meter distance from other families.

TOY LENDING LIBRARY

Items that were borrowed before closure can be dropped off at reception Monday to Friday during regular working hours.  When items that are difficult to clean (like books) are returned, they will be isolated for a minimum of 7 days. Other items will be disinfected before returning into circulation.

The toy lending library is available by appointment only. Only easy to clean and disinfect toys will be lent out. No soft plush toys are going to be loaned.  A catalogue will be made available for in-person toy selection.  The book’s plastic pages and cover will be disinfected between each person’s use. 

Interested families simply need to call (613-830-4357) or e-mail earlyONyva@crcoc.ca a Family Resource Worker. Families will also be able to pick up toys during in-person programming activities. 

OUTREACH / MOBILE PLAYGROUPS

The indoor Cumberland and Navan Arena playgroups are closed until further notice.   

OUTDOOR PROGRAMS

Outdoor programming is currently on hold until further notice.  Once outdoor programming will resume the following protocol will be in place. 

Registration for outdoor programming remains necessary.  EarlyON must adhere to the gathering limits set by the Government of Ontario and local municipal by-laws.  Screening questions will be asked. 

All children in grades 1 and above, parents/caregivers, staff and essential visitors are now required to wear a non-medical mask or face covering outdoors when a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained.

We will encourage proper hand hygiene before and after using shared outdoor structures. 

Toys will be cleaned and disinfected between users. Personal items such as sunscreen should not be shared.

Outdoor programming will be cancelled if temperature is below – 15°C, or when the windchill is -20°C or greater.  It will also be cancelled if any type of weather caution, alert or warning is in effect.  Please refer to our website or call prior to attending outdoor programming when temperature is questionable. 

Thank you for taking the time to review our policies and procedures.

We are looking forward to see you!