Heritage Green Child Care Inc is a multi-site organization. The sites include Childcare, school age, and an EarlyON. The health and safety protocols may not apply to each site. These protocols will be updated as needed to reflect the directives of the provincial government, the Ministry of Education, and Public Health.
Heritage Green Child Care Inc
Pandemic Policy: Infectious disease
Health and Safety Standards and Procedures-
Infectious Disease (COVID 19)
The purpose of this procedure is to establish an Emergency Child Care Plan for the provision of care for our staff, the families we serve, their children, any contractors (cooks, cleaners etc.) or visitors to our workplace as well as the community.
As part of our “Due Diligence” to provide a safe workplace, Heritage Green Child Care Inc will develop and implement standards and procedures for the protection of our staff and children against Infectious Disease based on a Hazard Assessment.
The focus of this Infectious Disease assessment and program is to look at specific jobs, equipment, processes and environment to determine if the hazard of exposure to Infectious Disease hazards have been adequately controlled and make recommendations for improvement when deficiencies have been identified.
Our goals are to evaluate all jobs and tasks that our staff would engage in or be exposed to the possible exposure to Infectious Disease, and ask ourselves “if someone was to become ill, what would be the source of that exposure be” and how can we minimize or eliminate the risk of exposure.
We will assess all areas of our facility, jobs and other areas that may expose our staff and children to infection or disease. Once we have assessed those hazards, we will develop controls that will ensure the safety of the staff and children. As part of that assessment process we will take into consideration elements such as ensuring we understand how to prevent the transferring of contagions and understand the infectious disease, what kinds of controls are needed to protect workers such as sanitizing, cleaning, and means of distancing workers from each other. We will also consider a business continuity plan as part of our due diligence. All directives will come from Public Health.
Supervisor/Manager (or their designate):
- Review and communicate the current program to staff
- Develop and implement standards and procedures
- Implement a review of this policy as often as necessary to ensure policy is protecting all staff and children.
- Respond to recommendations from Public Health
- Provide ongoing training to Supervisors and Staff
- Communicate risk assessment results to the Board of Directors and the Health and Safety Representative
- Understand their responsibilities under OHSA to take every precaution reasonable for the protection of persons within our workplace.
- Enforce the policies and procedures defined within this policy
- Train and educate persons with in our facility about the risk of infection and the controls to minimize possible infection of disease.
- Understand your rights under OHSA
- Participate in training as directed by Public Health
- Wear the Personal Protective Equipment as directed by your supervisor and this policy/ procedure.
- Report any known violation of this policy or procedure
- Report to your supervisor if you feel or suspect that you may be infected or not feeling well
Health and Safety Representative:
- Be consulted in the development of programs and assessments, and review them for improvements
- Make recommendations where required
- Engage Staff in identifying hazards
- COVID -19 – Is a disease caused by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus
- MOH -Medical Officer of Health
- PPE -Personal Protective Equipment
- Persons – includes workers, children & their families, support staff, contractors
- JHA -Job Hazard Analysis
Risk Assessment / Job Hazard Analysis (JHA)
In order to ensure we protect any person at our facility from any possible exposure to infectious disease associated with jobs, tasks or work process in our workplace, the Executive Director, Supervisor, Health and Safety person, or their designate, will take a documented inventory of all areas of our workplace that could expose persons to infectious disease and we will then review the jobs and tasks associated with our work and:
- Describe areas which persons could come in contact with an infectious disease.
- Review our work process to determine if gaps in controlling infectious disease are present.
- Rate each hazard identified for exposure and occurrence frequency and severity
- Assess our current hazard controls and ask ourselves, are they adequate, can they be improved or do we simply need to create safe work instructions
- Train our Staff in those job steps and hazards associated with the job
The Director/Supervisor, Health and Safety Coordinator, or their designate, will be responsible for performing or assisting in the development of Hazard Analysis for all areas of our workplace including, tasks or work processes that have the potential to expose a worker or child to infectious disease. Where deemed necessary and mainly for high-risk tasks, the JHA’s will be reviewed as often as necessary to ensure they continue to meet the protective needs of the workplace.
A process which involves taking inventory of all workplace jobs and assessing the steps within each job to determine the appropriate level of risk
For the purpose of this program, hazard categories are defined as a hazard that may present themselves within the realm of one of the following areas:
- Physical exposure
- Biological exposure
- Environmental Exposure
- Psychosocial considerations
- Safety hazards
Contributing Factors (what contributes to a hazards existence)
- People we work with
- Equipment we use
- Materials we handle
Routine Work Activities
- Activities that are consistently performed throughout the workplace
Non-Routine Work Activities
Activities that are not consistently performed throughout the workplace and may involve the need to conduct a JHA prior to performing the job, and the need to provide specific instruction and training to those performing the task based on the results of the JHA
Hierarchy of Controls
- Elimination – eliminating the existence of, or exposure to, a hazard
- Substitution – replacing a hazardous material, or equipment with one that has a lower associated risk
- Engineering – controlling the hazards associated with a job by using equipment that are engineered to provide protection to the Staff
- Administrative – controlling the hazard by creating policies, procedures and signs and providing training to those Staff exposed to the hazard(s)
- PPE – personal protective equipment that is used by Staff to minimize their risk of exposure to the hazard
The Health and Safety Coordinator, or their designate, and the Director/Supervisor will be responsible to conduct the Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) and must receive training on the following elements either internally or externally from a 3rd party provider:
- Hazard categories to be considered in identifying health and safety concerns (physical, biological, chemical, musculoskeletal, psychosocial, and safety hazards)
- Hazards posed by people, equipment, materials, environment, and process
- The methodology behind conducting a JHA
- Familiarity with routine and non-routine work activities
It is a preference, but not a requirement, that the individual conducting the Job Hazard Analysis is a certified member of the JHSC. If the individual is not a certified member, then the Employer, the Supervisor, or the Health and Safety Coordinator must ensure the above training requirements have been met.
Following an infection risk assessment of a specific disease such as COVID 19, our company will develop a Safety Action Plan that will define how we will protect our Staff, children and families from exposure to identified infectious disease. This would include pandemic events such as COVID 19.
The following Safety Action will be the established standard that will be used as our company endeavors to protect our staff and children against an outbreak of infectious disease.
Safety Action Plan
Based on the risk assessments conducted, the following procedures and safe work instructions will be implemented.
- Date of the plan, and dates for log changes.
- The risk assessment is designed to reduce the risk of being infected with COVID-19
- What is the disease- Signs & Symptoms?
- How is it spread
- Where to get more info on the disease
- Define how you will educate staff
- Screening of persons coming into our workplace
- Define how we will sanitize the workplace;
o Eating areas
o Toys and other play items
o Offices and common areas
o Doors/door knobs, etc
o Play areas
o Rest areas
- Define how you will keep staff distant including how many staff can be in a room at a time.
- For areas that staff can not maintain distance, how will you protect them
- Define what Personal Protective Equipment will be required to be worn
o Non-Latex gloves, masks, face shields, safety glasses, etc.
- Define any specific safe work instructions that staff must follow;
- Screening of persons entering our facility
- Hand washing
- Maintaining distance
- Wearing PPE
- Receiving children, and pick up of children
- If a child gets sick or not feeling well
- Changing and cleaning children
- Define which jobs can be moved out of the workplace (working from home)
- May need to include how those workers would come into the workplace if they need to.
- Define how workers are to report possible exposure to the disease both at work and during off work hours, including out of city/ country travel. Define if they will be required to self quarantine.
- Define who is responsible to enforcement of policy and consequences if policy is not followed.
- Define any training requirements
Notes about this Risk Assessment
This risk assessment is to be completed to ensure that the risk has been identified and the required prevention measures have been implemented. The rigorous application of these measures is to limit the risks of contracting and/or spreading COVID-19 and to take action quickly when identifying non-conformities. The primary purpose of applying such measures is to protect the health of persons entering our facility.
A risk assessment should be done for each business unit. If all business units are similar than a risk assessment can include all units but should be noted to which units are included in the assessment.
This risk assessment address’s general considerations when assessing our workplace and its exposure to infectious disease.
Safe Work Procedure for working during COVID 19
The following safe work procedures will define how Heritage Green Child Care Inc. will manage the hazards of contacting COVID 19.
Coronaviruses are spread mainly from person to person through close contact, for example, in a household, workplace or daycare centre. There is no vaccine available to protect against the novel coronavirus
The 2019 novel coronavirus is spread through respiratory droplets:
- from person to person through coughing, sneezing, close contact; and
- touching contaminated surfaces.
Symptoms range from mild – like the common cold and other common respiratory infections – to severe, and can include: fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, muscle aches, fatigue, headache, sore throat, and runny nose. Also, difficulty swallowing, new olfactory or taste disorder.
Complications from the novel coronavirus can include serious conditions, like pneumonia or kidney failure, and in some cases, death.
Symptoms for children could include;
o Sore throat, hoarse voice
o Look to see if exhibiting a runny nose
Atypical Symptoms/ signs of COVID-19 should be considered, particularly in children, older persons, and people living with a developmental disability.
Atypical symptoms can include:
o Unexplained fatigue/ malaise
o Delirium (acutely altered mental status and inattention)
o Unexplained or increased number of falls
o Acute functional decline
o Exacerbation of chronic conditions
o Chills, Headache
o Croup, Conjunctivitis
o Atypical signs can include:
o Unexplained tachycardia, including age specific tachycardia for children
o Decreased in blood pressure
o Unexplained hypoxia (even if mild i.e. O2 sat>90%)
o Lethargy, difficulty feeding in infants (if no other diagnosis)
Parent Drop Off and Pick Up Procedures
Entry into the child care centre/classrooms, past the screening area, must be limited only to staff, children, and essential visitors.
- All individuals, including children, and staff must be actively screened and must answer all screening questions.
- Temperature checks must be conducted as part of the screening process.
A greeting area will be set up in between the main entry doors of the child care site.
Parents/caregivers are to park along the side of the child care site, and bring their child up to the door, one family at a time. All other families waiting in line must remain in their cars and wait for their turn to drop off their child. The parent/caregiver is to wear a mask when bringing their child to the door. The screener will take the child’s temperature upon arrival and before entry into the child care building, and ask the screening questions.
School Age Programs
In the before and after school programs, families will text the program upon arrival to notify staff that their child has arrived at the program. The parent/caregiver will then walk their child to the door and wait for a staff member to greet the child. The parent/caregiver is to wear a mask when bringing their child to the door. A staff member will greet the child at the designated door and supervise to ensure that the child goes to their classroom. All children will be actively screened and temperatures will be taken. Individuals who have been screened for symptoms prior to the before school program would not need to be re-screened for the core day program. Similarly, an individual that has been screened prior to the after-school program would not need to be re-screened for the after-school program. The school age programs will work closely with the schools to maintain effective communication in regards to children who fail screening or are sent home during the school day.
Signage at each site will be used to inform parents/caregivers of where to drop off and pick up the children.
Alcohol based hand rub containing at least 70% alcohol content will be provided at the entrance to the facility. Any adult entering beyond the door must perform hand hygiene upon entering. Cohort staff (public health and the government direction: a cohort is defined as a group of children and staff) will assist child with hand hygiene upon entering the classrooms.
Pick Up Procedures
Parents/caregivers at the child care site will pull up to the doors of the program and text the staff that they have arrived. The parent will wait outside at their vehicle and a staff will bring their child outside to them. Parents/caregivers will wear a mask when the staff brings the child out to them.
School Age Programs
Parents/caregivers at the school age program will park at the parking lot of the school. They will text the program that they have arrived and wait for their child at the doors of the school. The parent will remain outside of the school at all times and maintain social distancing from any other person waiting to pick up. A staff will bring the child to the doors. Parents/caregivers will wear a mask when waiting for their child.
Health Screening Procedure for Essential Visitors
Upon arrival of an essential visitor to the child care or school age program, a staff member will actively screen the visitor. Once the essential visitor has passed the screening, a staff member will gather information including the visitor’s name, email, phone number and arrival/departure time. Phone numbers and contact information for the essential visitor will be kept on file at each site for one year. No volunteers will be allowed at this time. Ministry and Public Health officials must be screened prior to entry and must wear PPE, and follow all protocols.
An individual who fails the screening process will be advised to contact their health care provider and book a COVID-19 test by visiting www.hamiltoncovidtest.ca. If unable to access the online booking site, individuals can call Public Health’s COVID-19 line at (905) 974-9848 option 2 to book a testing appointment.
Attendance Records and Contact Tracing
Should contact tracing be required, weekly/monthly attendance sheets, daily staff screening chart which includes staff’s shifts for each day, as well as the visitor log, will be kept in a log book at each site for a period of one year. The supervisor of the child care site, and at each of the school age sites, will be responsible for overseeing the log book. Records must include name, contact information, and time of arrival/departure for each child, staff and visitor who enters the program. These records will be kept up to date and available to facilitate contact tracing in the event of a confirmed COVID-19 case or outbreak.
Health Screening Procedure
This tool provides basic information only and contains recommendations for children to support decision making by parents about whether their child should attend school/childcare and/or needs to be tested for COVID-19. This can be used to assess symptoms of any child who attends child care or school. It is not to be used as a clinical assessment tool or intended to take the place of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Pre-screening by parents/staff must take place daily prior to arrival at the child care centre or the before and after school program using the online provincial tool found at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/. However, each child will be actively screened upon arrival to the program.
When assessing for the symptoms below, you should focus on evaluating if they are new, worsening, or different from your child’s baseline health status or usual state (check off “Yes”). Symptoms associated with known chronic health conditions or related to other known causes/conditions should not be considered unless new, different or worsening.
After developing symptoms, in general, children should no longer have a fever and their symptoms improving to be able to return to school/child care. Mild symptoms known to persist in young children (e.g. runny nose or mild cough that may persist following infections) may be ongoing at time of return to school/child care if other symptoms have resolved.
Screening Questions for Children
1. Does your child have any of the following new or worsening symptoms? Symptoms should not be chronic or related to other known causes or conditions.
Fever and/or chills
(Temperature of 37.8°C/100.0°F or greater)
Cough (more than usual if chronic cough) including croup (barking cough, making a whistling noise when breathing)
Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g., asthma, reactive airway)
Shortness of breath (dyspnea, out of breath, unable to breathe deeply, wheeze, that is worse than usual if chronically short of breath) Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g., asthma)
Decrease or loss of smell or taste (new olfactory or taste disorder)
Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g., nasal polyps, allergies, neurological disorders)
2. Does your child have any of the following new or worsening symptoms? Symptoms should not be chronic or related to other known causes or conditions.
Sore throat (painful swallowing or difficulty swallowing)
Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g., post nasal drip, gastroesophageal reflux)
Stuffy nose and/or runny nose (nasal congestion and/or rhinorrhea)
Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g., seasonal allergies, returning inside from the cold, chronic sinusitis unchanged from baseline, reactive airways)
Headache that is new and persistent, unusual, unexplained, or long-lasting
Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g., tension-type headaches, chronic migraines)
Nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea
Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g. transient vomiting due to anxiety in children, chronic vestibular dysfunction, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, side effect of medication)
Fatigue, lethargy, muscle aches or malaise (general feeling of being unwell, lack of energy, extreme tiredness, poor feeding in infants) that is unusual or unexplained
Not related to other known causes or conditions (e.g., depression, insomnia, thyroid dysfunction, anemia)
3. Has your child travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days?
4. Has your child been identified as a close contact of someone who is confirmed as having COVID-19 by your local public health unit?
5. Has your child been directed by a health care provider including public health official to isolate?
Results of Screening Questions:
If you answered “YES” to any of the symptoms included under question 1:
•Your child should stay home to isolate immediately.
•Contact your child’s health care provider for further advice or assessment, including if your child needs a COVID-19 test or other treatment.
If you answered “YES” to only one of the symptoms included under question 2:
•Your child should stay home for 24 hours from when the symptom started.
•If the symptom is improving, your child may return to school/child care when they feel well enough to do so. A negative COVID-19 test is not required to return.
•If the symptom persists or worsens, contact your child’s health care provider for further advice or assessment, including if your child needs a COVID-19 test or other treatment.
If you answered “YES” to two or more of the symptoms included under question 2:
•Your child should stay home to isolate immediately.
•Contact your child’s health care provider for further advice or assessment, including if your child needs a COVID-19 test or other treatment.
If the individual answers “YES” to question 3, 4 or 5
•Your child should stay home to isolate immediately and follow the advice of public health.
•If your child develops symptoms, you should contact your local public health unit or the health care provider for further advice.
Public Health at 905-974-9848, option 2 for testing.
Screening Questions for Staff
Are you currently experiencing any of these symptoms?
Choose any/all that are new, worsening, and not related to other known causes or medical conditions.
Fever and/or chills. (Temperature of 37.8oC or 100oF or higher)
Cough or Barking Cough (croup). Continuous, more than usual, making a whistling noise when breathing, not related to other known causes or conditions (asthma, post-infectious reactive airways)
Shortness of breath. Out of breath, unable to breathe deeply, not related to other known causes or conditions (asthma)
Sore throat. Not related to other known causes or conditions (seasonal allergies, acid reflux)
Difficulty swallowing. Painful swallowing, not related to other known causes or conditions.
Runny or stuffy/congested nose. Not related to other known causes or conditions (reoccurring styes)
Headache that’s unusual or long lasting. Not related to other known causes or conditions (tension-type headaches, chronic migraines)
Digestive issues like nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain. Not related to other known causes or conditions (irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety in children, menstrual cramps)
Muscle aches that are unusual or long lasting. Not related to other known causes or conditions (sudden injury, fibromyalgia)
Extreme tiredness that is unusual. Fatigue, lack of energy, not related to other known causes or conditions (depression, insomnia, thyroid dysfunction)
Falling down often. For older people
None of the above
Have you travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days?
In the last 14 days, has a public health until identified you as a “close contact” of someone who currently has COVID-19?
Has a doctor, health care provider, or public health unit told you that you should currently be isolating (staying home)?
In the last 14 days, have you received a COVID Alert exposure notification on your cell phone? If you already went for a test and got a negative result, select “No”.
If you answered no to all of the above questions, you can go to work. If you answered yes, please follow next steps listed below.
- Contact the school/child care to let them know about this result.
- You should isolate (stay home) and not leave except to get tested or for a medical emergency.
- Talk with a doctor/health care provider to get advice or an assessment, including if you need a COVID-19 test.
If you think you have a cold or the flue, you should still talk with a doctor or get tested. Symptoms are similar to COVID-19.
Siblings or other people you live with who do not have symptoms do not need to isolate. However, check with your local public health unit’s website or call or see if those without symptoms should go to school/child care.
Exclusion of Sick Children/Staff Policy and Procedures
The City of Hamilton wants to ensure that all licensed child care centres/school age sites are providing a safe and healthy environment for children, families and providers. Licensed child care providers must be aware of and adhere to established exclusion criteria. Information on different conditions and exclusion periods is available in City of Hamilton’s Infection Control Guidelines for Child Care Centres (https://www.hamilton.ca/sites/default/files/media/browser/2018-12-07/infection-control-guidelines-child-care-centres.pdf).
In response to COVID-19, it is critical for licensed child care providers to properly exclude ill children and staff.
When to Exclude:
A child/staff should be excluded when displaying any signs or symptoms of illness or if the child is unable to participate in regular programming because of illness.
Please see above list of symptoms.
How to Exclude:
- If a child or child care staff becomes sick while in the program, they should be isolated and family members contacted for pick-up. If the sick person is a child, a child care staff should remain with the child until a parent/guardian arrives.
- If tolerated and above the age of 2, the child should wear a surgical/procedure mask.
- The child care centre/school age site should specify where the isolation room/area will be and who will be responsible for monitoring the child.
- As soon as the child is isolated from others, the staff member caring for the child should perform hand hygiene and put on a surgical/procedure mask and face shield/goggles.
- The child care staff should also avoid contact with the child’s respiratory secretions.
- Staff member must perform hand hygiene after any contact with the ill child.
- If a separate room is not available, the ill child should be kept at a minimum of 2 metres from others. This may be achieved by using physical barriers, floor markers, etc.
- The ill child should be provided with tissues and reminded of hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and proper disposal of tissues.
- Anyone who is providing care to the ill child should maintain a distance of at least 2 metres or wear appropriate PPE (surgical/procedure mask and eye protection, gloves and gown if there is risk of exposure to infectious droplets).
- All items used by the ill person should be cleaned and disinfected by the cleaning staff designated for that cohort. Any items that cannot be cleaned (paper, books, cardboard puzzles) should be removed and stored in a sealed container for a minimum of 3 days.
How to Report Illness:
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in all child care centres and school age programs must be reported to the Ministry of Education as a serious occurrence. Closure of a room or centre by Public Health is also a serious occurrence under the “Unplanned Disruption of Service” category, and must be reported.
The licensee must contact Hamilton Public Health Services to report:
- Clusters of suspected cases (e.g. two or more children or staff with COVID-19 symptoms within a 48-hour period).
- Cases of COVID-19 among staff or child attendees that are laboratory confirmed or probable (i.e. symptoms occurring among a staff or child who has been exposed to a person with confirmed COVID-19, or, travelled to an affected area in the 14 days prior to symptom onset.)
- Public Health 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. Notification should be provided by calling the COVID-19 hotline, 905-974-9848 option 6
- Children or staff who have been in contact with a suspected COVID-19 case should be monitored for symptoms and grouped together until laboratory tests, if any, have been completed or until directed by the local public health unit.
- If a child develops symptoms and their self-screening indicates they should stay home but their sibling(s) does not have symptoms, the sibling does not need to isolate until the other child tests positive for COVID-19. However, check your local public health unit’s website or call to see if those without symptoms should go to school/child care. Some public health units have different rules based on local risk.
- If a child is tested for COVID-19, follow the guidance of the local public health unit, health care provider and related direction for isolation and returning to the program. If there are other siblings or members of the household that attend school or child care, the local public health unit will provide any further direction on returning to school/child care.
- Persons who test positive may not return to the child care setting until they are cleared by the local public health unit. Note that individuals do not need to provide a medical note or proof of negative result to return to the program. For home-based programs: if a person who resides in the home tests positive for COVID-19, the local public health unit should be notified and their advice on next steps should be followed (including closing the program and notifying all families if necessary).
End of Exclusion:
- Ill children/staff, if not tested, they must be excluded for a minimum of 10 days from onset of symptoms; unless they have received an alternative diagnosis provided by a health care provider. If a child/staff have an alternative diagnosis, they will need to isolate at home without symptoms for 24 hours. A child or staff with symptoms, and is not tested for COVID-19 must self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days. Child/staff can return to school/child care when they do not have a fever (without the use of fever-reducing meds) and when symptoms have been improving for 24 hours, after the 10 day period).
- Children/staff who test negative for COVID-19 must be excluded until 24 hours after symptom resolution.
- Children/staff who test positive for COVID-19 must be excluded from child care centre/school age program for 14 days after the onset of symptoms and clearance has been received
COVID-19 Outbreak Response
Triggering an outbreak assessment
Once at least one child or staff has presented with new symptoms compatible with COVID-19, the child care centre/school age site should immediately trigger an outbreak assessment and take the following steps:
Individuals who are tested:
- Children/staff who test negative for COVID-19 must be excluded until 24 hours after symptom resolution
- Children/staff who test positive for COVID-19 must be excluded from child care centre/school age site for 10 days after the onset of symptoms and clearance has been received from the local public health unit.
Individuals who are not tested:
- Ill children/staff, if not tested, must be excluded for 14 days from onset of their symptoms
An outbreak may be declared by the local public health until when:
- Within a 14-day period, there are two or more laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases in children, staff/providers or other visitors with an epidemiological link (e.g., cases in the same room, cases that are part of the same before/after school care cohort) where at least one case could have reasonable acquired their infection in the child care setting.
If the local public health unit declares an outbreak, they will determine what happens next. This could include closing particular child care rooms or cohorts or an entire child care setting. The public health unit will help determine which groups of children and/staff need to be sent home or if a partial or full closure of the child care setting is required.
Communication Plan and Required Steps in an Outbreak
If a positive COVID-19 case, or an outbreak is declared at the child care centre/school age site, the following measures must be taken:
- Consult with and follow directions from Public Health.
- Notify all family, staff, essential visitors, school boards of the facility’s outbreak status by an email and/or phone call to each family.
- Enhance cleaning and disinfecting procedures
- Enhanced screening procedures (i.e. increased frequency of health checks)
- More frequent hand hygiene with children and staff.
- Review staff training on proper PPE use.
Management of cases in multiple cohorts
If there are additional positive cases in other cohorts, the facility will close. In consultation with Public Health, all staff and children in the child care centre/school age site may be referred for testing.
Declaring an Outbreak Over
In consultation with Public Health, the outbreak can be declared over if no new cases have occurred in 14 days from the last day of attendance of the most recent COVID-19 positive staff/child.
As part of the Ministry of Education’s Child Care Reopening Guidelines, the City of Hamilton must ensure that training is provided to all child care staff/providers on health and safety measures prior to reopening.
Public Health Ontario and Hamilton Public Health Services have developed videos and posters to assist with understanding our role in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in our community. All Staff, and Students (if applicable), must read and sign off on all Pandemic Health and Safety policies. The same policies must be made available to all parents/guardians and families enrolled in any of our centres. This training must be reviewed every 3 months.
Links to important information are provided below and all child care staff/providers must complete this training prior to reopening.
- 7 Steps of Hand Hygiene – https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/videos/7-steps-handhygiene
- Putting on Gloves – https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/videos/ipac-gloves-on
- Putting on Mask and Eye Protection – https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/videos/ipac-maskeyes-on
- Taking off Mask and Eye Protection – https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/videos/ipac-maskeyes-off
- Taking off a Gown and Gloves – https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/videos/ipac-gowngloves-off
- Taking off Full Personal Protective Equipment – https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/videos/ipac-fullppe-off
- Putting on Full Personal Protective Equipment – https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/videos/ipac-fullppe-on
Parents/ guardians of those children that will be attending our center will receive the following information:
Policy regarding sick children and what the process will be in the event that children are identified as being ill before intake, as well as during the day including additional precautions. This will include procedures for child pick up when requested (parents/ guardians must have a plan in place to have children picked up if requested). They will receive a copy of our safe work instructions for COVID 19 safe work practices that will be taken during the intake of children each day. Defining how we will intake children, this may include instructions on how to package up the children’s belonging such as extra clothes, medicine, and other items.
Every effort will be taken to encourage physical distancing between children by spreading children out into different areas, staggering lunch and snack times and play times outside.
We will avoid taking the children to community play grounds. Outdoor play at our own play area outside is encouraged in small groups. All equipment will be disinfected as needed.
We will stagger meal and snack times to allow for safe physical distancing.
When setting cots up for nap time, they will be set up in such a way to keep the children 2m apart or set up so that they are head to toe. Cots should be disinfected after each use. (Childcare only)
If we need to have conversations with parents, we will try and have these using live streaming programs like Zoom to have that discussion rather than a face to face meeting. Preplanned in-person meetings and preplanned group events will be cancelled or rescheduled to a later time.
Our center will provide tissues and dispose of used tissues in plastic-lined receptacles.
Staff will be required to regularly wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water at:
- At the start of their shifts
- Before preparing or serving food, cleaning up after meals and snack times
- After touching shared items and after using the washroom,
- Before and after changing an child’s diaper,
- Helping others with toileting and after handling garbage,
- Before leaving your workspace.
Cleaning and Disinfecting the Space, Toys and Equipment
Washrooms will be cleaned a minimum of 2 times per day and stocked with soap and paper towels. Diaper changing areas will be disinfected after each use.
Commonly touched surfaces (door knobs, light switches, toilet seats, handles, table tops) will be disinfected twice per day. All toys will be cleaned in the commercial dishwasher on a daily basis at the child care site. Toys will be washed using the two sink method, followed by disinfection weekly or more at the school age site. Frequently played with toys will be cleaned and disinfected on a daily basis. Mouthed toys will be cleaned and disinfected after each use.
The following items should be considered as items to be cleaned and sanitized:
- Eating areas
- All equipment
- Toys and other play items
- Offices and common areas, Washrooms
- Door knobs, light switches, toilet seats, handles, table tops, at least twice a day.
- Play areas, Rest areas
- Other as needed
Linens and cots will be laundered weekly. (childcare only)
Shared water and sensory tables will not be used unless an individual bin is created for each child.
Children must not share soothers, bottles, sippy cups, facecloths, etc. Label these items with the child’s name to discourage accidental sharing.
Reinforce “no food sharing” policies.
If meals or snacks are provided, ensure each child has their own individual meal or snack. Multi-use utensils must be sanitized.
Avoid getting close to faces of all children, where possible.
Use disposable cleaning cloths and gloves.
Regularly wash blankets, towels, smocks, bibs, etc.
Items that are not able to be cleaned and disinfected easily, should be removed from use at this time. Activities which do not allow for a physical distance of 2 metres between individuals and where item cannot be easily cleaned and disinfected should also be discontinued at this time.
Examples of items and activities that should be discontinued include but are not limited to the following:
- soft toys
- items that require laundering such as dress up clothes
- paper materials that are unable to be cleaned and disinfected such as books, puzzles, cards, magazines
- sensory play including the use of water, sand and dry foods
- The use of personal items such as tablets and books is not recommended; use of these items by staff must be closely monitored to ensure items are maintained in a clean and sanitary condition and are not shared between individuals.
It is recommended that enhanced cleaning and disinfection principles be applied to all aspects of the facility and may include the following: (childcare only)
- cleaning and disinfection of toilets, changing tables, after each use
- cleaning and disinfection of sleeping cots after each use.
- bedding is designated for each child and laundered daily
From what is currently understood about COVID-19, commonly used cleaners and disinfectants are effective against the virus that causes COVID-19. In order to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses including COVID-19, licensed child care centres will be required to maintain their routine cleaning and disinfection schedules, providing enhanced cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces and mouthed toys.
Further information on routine cleaning requirements and scheduling recommendations can be found in City of Hamilton’s Infection Control Guidelines for Child Care Centres (https://www.hamilton.ca/sites/default/files/media/browser/2018-12-07/infection-control-guidelines-child-care-centres.pdf).
All products including cleaners and disinfectants must be out of reach of children, labelled and must have Safety Data Sheets (SDS) that are up to date and stored in WHMIS binder on site. Each classroom and washroom should have its own designated detergent and disinfectant.
Cleaning: is done with soap and water removes dirt and grease that can hide and protect germs from disinfectants. Cleaning with soap and water will also substantially reduce the number of germs that may be on surfaces.
Disinfecting: after cleaning will kill most of the germs that were left behind. A routine housekeeping schedule is necessary to ensure these duties are completed (a checklist is useful).
Selection of Disinfectants
It is important to choose an approved disinfectant with a drug identification number (DIN). It must be appropriate for the surface it is being used on and the contact time (time the surface stays wet) must be achievable. Public Health recommends a product with a shorter contact time of between 1 and 3 minutes.
Disinfectant used at HGCC:
Only using disinfectants that have a Drug Identification Number (DIN). Low level hospital grade disinfectants may be used; HGCC uses On the Mark, and Accel (Diversity Inc) Health Canada has included the above hard-surface disinfectants that are likely to be effective and may be used against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. For these products, evidence was submitted demonstrating that they are effective against harder-to-kill viruses or other viruses very similar to SARS-CoV-2. As these hard disinfectants have a 5 minute wait time before wiping, a mixture of bleach and water (9:1) may be used as this mixture has a 1 minute wait time.
The child care centre/school age site must produce a specific cleaning and disinfecting schedule for each cohort, washroom, kitchen, common areas, indoor/outdoor play areas, and other areas accessed by the program.
A cleaning and disinfection log must be used to track and demonstrate cleaning schedules (indoor and outdoor). All records will be kept for one year.
The child care centre/school age site must designate staff to clean and disinfect. These individuals will be responsible for keeping cleaning and disinfecting records, which should include the date, time, product used, the name of the staff responsible, etc.
Recommendations for the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in Child Care Centres
For non-healthcare settings the use of PPE should be considered based on a risk assessment of the task, the individual and environment. Any Government guidance documents for your specific sector should be followed.
- Droplet and Contact Precautions are recommended for the care of someone suspected or confirmed with COVID-19.
- N95 respirators are not indicated for use in childcare settings.
Exemptions and Exceptions:
Reasonable exceptions on the requirement to wear masks, will apply for all staff and school aged children. No medical note is required. Reasons for requesting an exemption from wearing a mask will include the following: underlying medical, developmental, sensory or mental health reason, or the inability to remove a mask without assistance, which inhibits the staff or child’s ability to wear a mask in the manner required by the Ministry of Education or Public Health authorities. Staff and students who work or attend a program in the HWDSB or HWCDSB building will be required to complete the Mask Exception Attestation Form, available on the board’s website.
Personal Protective Equipment (see appendix B)
What will the classroom look like for your child?
- No soft toys or non washable pillows
- Lots of toys and activities that can easily be sanitized.
- Less furniture and lots of indoor space to play.
- The same staff in the room all day, no additional staff unless there is an emergency. Staff will relieve each other for breaks and lunchtime.
- There will be positive interactions and emotional support for all children
- Positive and safe outdoor play, one group at a time, with additional outdoor cleaning.
- Individual baskets of art supplies per child.
Snack and Meal times: (childcare only)
- All snacks will be served on an individual plate or bowl
- Children will be spread out at the table during all meals
- Children will have an individual labeled cup to drink water from during the day, the water fountain will be closed.
- Children will wash hands before snacks/meals and immediately after, disposable paper towels will be used to wash faces
- Staff may wear a mask/face shield during the serving of food.
- All food will be served away form the children, no family style meals. Any second servings will be served with a clean utensil every time, to avoid cross contamination between children.
- Any prescribed medication must be given in the original container and preferable left the centre for the duration of the prescription. Medication forms must be filled in online and sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or a school age site e-mail address
Communication during this time, when parents can not enter the building.
- A screen shot of the daily log will be emailed to the parents. (childcare only)
- Any updates, concerns or daily information will be emailed to parents. During this time, a face to face conversation may not be possible, documentation of activities and events may be limited but staff will maintain communication during this time, to the best of their ability.
- Artwork or creatives will be saved and sent home when appropriate to do so.
- Your child will be dressed and brought to the door to go home.
- Diapers and any necessary supplies must be put into a bag labelled and given to the staff receiving your chid at the door. (childcare only)
- If your child requires medication, fill in the form on the website and e-mail to email@example.com. We will administer the medication as instructed.
- All information and updates will be sent through e-mail, unless it is an emergency and you will receive a phone call.
- Accident reports will be emailed, in lieu of a signature, please respond to the sent email, that you have received it.
- HGCC understands that face to face conversations are important, and we will attempt various methods to give you updates and keep in touch.
No volunteers or students will be allowed in any HGCC centre during the pandemic. Visitors if non essential to the program will not be allowed into the building. Visitors allowed into the building will be screened and all information recorded, visitors include but are not limited to Public Health, Ministry of Education Program Advisors, Fire Inspectors, etc.
Staff are assigned to one classroom only. Child care staff shifts are currently 7.30 to 4.00pm and 9am to 5.30pm within the classrooms (childcare), so that children remain within the same classroom daily, with no mixed groups at both the beginning and end of the day. School age staff work the same daily shifts to avoid mixing groups at the beginning or end of day (7am to morning bell, and afternoon bell to 5.30/6pm). Float staff may be used only if necessary to the operation of the program to cover in a classroom in a limited capacity. All staff entering the building must be screened and wear a medical grade mask and face shield/goggles, unless they are in an area where they have no contact with other staff or children ( e.g. office), however, once they leave that area they must wear PPE.
Personal Protective Equipment
Deciding to use PPE is based on your risk assessment of the situation.
PPE should not be worn when it is not needed but ensure everyone knows how to use and maintain the PPE that you are required to wear.
Social distancing at 2 metres and proper hand hygiene will be the most important way to protect yourself from the COVID-19 virus
Improper use of PPE can create a false sense of confidence, increase chances of infection and waste supply
Proper use of PPE is an effective part of infection prevention and control, however it is not a stand-alone method
Proper hand hygiene must be exercised before donning and after doffing PPE including gloves, face masks and eye protection.
The following PPE is available at all ECC sites and may be used is there is an identified risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus:
Gloves, Masks and Eye Protection
Gloves may be worn when hands come into contact with a child exhibiting respiratory symptoms or objects that may be contaminated. Gloves are disposable and single use, and must be disposed of after the task is completed. Gloves protect you against contact with infectious materials. However, once contaminated, gloves can become a means for spreading infectious materials to yourself, other patients or environmental surfaces. Therefore, the way YOU use gloves can influence the risk of disease transmission. These are the most important do’s and don’ts of glove use.
Work from clean to dirty. This is a basic principle of infection control. In this instance it refers to touching clean body sites or surfaces before you touch dirty or heavily contaminated areas.
Limit opportunities for “touch contamination” – protect yourself, others and environmental surfaces. How many times have you seen someone adjust their glasses, rub their nose or touch their face with gloves that have been in contact with another person or surface? This is one example of “touch contamination” that can potentially expose oneself to infectious agents. Think about environmental surfaces too and avoid unnecessarily touching them with contaminated gloves. Surfaces such as light switches, door and cabinet knobs can become contaminated if touched by soiled gloves
Change gloves as needed. If gloves become torn or heavily soiled and additional tasks must be performed, then change the gloves before starting the next task. Always change gloves after use, and discard them in the nearest appropriate receptacle. Gloves should never be washed and used again. Washing gloves does not necessarily make them safe for reuse; it may not be possible to eliminate all microorganisms and washing can make the gloves weak.
A face mask must be worn by an individual with respiratory symptoms. If the individual is unable or unwilling to wear a face mask, the person providing care must wear a face mask if a physical distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained.
A combination of PPE types is available to protect all or parts of the face from contact with potentially infectious material. The selection of facial PPE is determined by the isolation precautions required or the nature of contact.
Masks should fully cover the nose and mouth and prevent fluid penetration.
Masks should fit snuggly over the nose and mouth. For this reason, masks that have a flexible nose piece and can be secured to the head with string ties or elastic are preferable.
Goggles/Face Shields provide barrier protection for the eyes; personal prescription lenses do not provide optimal eye protection and should not be used as a substitute for goggles. Goggles should fit snuggly over and around the eyes or personal prescription lenses. Goggles with antifog features will help maintain clarity of vision.
Eye protection and Face shields are reusable and must be washed and disinfected between each use.
There are four key points to remember about PPE use.
First, don it before you have any contact with another person, generally before entering the room. Once you have PPE on, use it carefully to prevent spreading contamination. When you have completed your tasks, remove the PPE carefully and discard it in the receptacles provided. Then immediately perform hand hygiene.
The gown should be donned first (if wearing one) The mask should be put on next and properly adjusted to fit. The goggles or face shield should be donned next and the gloves are donned last. Keep in mind, the combination of PPE used, and therefore the sequence for donning, will be determined by the precautions that need to be taken.
To don a gown, first select the appropriate type for the task and the right size for you. The opening of the gown should be in the back; secure the gown at the neck and waist. If the gown is too small to fully cover your torso, use two gowns. Put on the first gown with the opening in front and the second gown over the first with the opening in the back.
Some masks are fastened with ties, others with elastic. If the mask has ties, place the mask over your mouth, nose and chin. Fit the flexible nose piece to the form of your nose bridge; tie the upper set at the back of your head and the lower set at the base of your neck. If a mask has elastic head bands, separate the two bands, hold the mask in one hand and the bands in the other. Place and hold the mask over your nose, mouth, and chin, then stretch the bands over your head and secure them comfortably as shown; one band on the upper back of your head, the other below the ears at the base of the neck. Adjust the mask to fit. Remember, you don’t want to be touching it during use so take the few seconds needed to make sure it is secure on your head and fits snuggly around your face so there are no gaps.
If eye protection is needed, either goggles or a face shield should be worn. Position either device over the face and/or eyes and secure to head using the attached ear pieces or head band. Adjust to fit comfortably. Goggles should feel snug but not tight.
The last item of PPE to be donned is a pair of gloves. Be sure to select the type of glove needed for the task in the size that best fits you. Insert each hand into the appropriate glove and adjust as needed for comfort and dexterity. If you are wearing a gown, tuck the gown cuffs securely under each glove. This provides a continuous barrier protection for your skin.
In addition to wearing PPE, you should also use safe work practices. Avoid contaminating yourself by keeping your hands away from your face and not touching or adjusting PPE. Also, remove your gloves if they become torn and perform hand hygiene before putting on a new pair of gloves. You should also avoid spreading contamination by limiting surfaces and items touched with contaminated gloves.
To remove PPE safely, you must first be able to identify what sites are considered “clean” and what are “contaminated.” In general, the outside front and sleeves of the isolation gown and outside front of the goggles, mask, and face shield are considered “contaminated,” regardless of whether there is visible soil. Also, the outside of the gloves are contaminated. The areas that are considered “clean” are the parts that will be touched when removing PPE. These include inside the gloves; inside and back of the gown, including the ties; and the ties, elastic, or ear pieces of the mask, goggles and face shield.
The sequence for removing PPE is intended to limit opportunities for self contamination. The gloves are considered the most contaminated pieces of PPE and are therefore removed first. The face shield or goggles are next because they are more cumbersome and would interfere with removal of other PPE. The gown is third in the sequence, followed by the mask.
Removing gloves: Using one gloved hand, grasp the outside of the opposite glove near the wrist. Pull and peel the glove away from the hand. The glove should now be turned inside-out, with the contaminated side now on the inside. Hold the removed glove in the opposite gloved hand.
Slide one or two fingers of the ungloved hand under the wrist of the remaining glove. Peel glove off from the inside, creating a bag for both gloves. Discard in waste container
Removing face shield: Using ungloved hands, grasp the “clean” ear or head pieces and lift away from face. If goggle or face shield are reusable, place them in a designated receptacle for subsequent reprocessing. Otherwise, discard them in the waste receptacle.
The front of the mask is considered contaminated and should not be touched. Remove by handling only the ties or elastic bands starting with the bottom then top tie or band. Lift the mask away from the face and discard it into the designated waste receptacle.
Removing gown: Unfasten the gown ties with the ungloved hands. Slip hands underneath the gown at the neck and shoulder, peel away from the shoulders. Slip the fingers of one hand under the cuff of the opposite arm. Pull the hand into the sleeve, grasping the gown from inside. Reach across and push the sleeve off the opposite arm. Fold the gown towards the inside and fold or roll into a bundle. (Only the “clean” part of the gown should be visible.) Discard into waste or linen container, as appropriate.
After removing PPE: Hand hygiene is the cornerstone of preventing infection transmission. You should perform hand hygiene immediately after removing PPE. If your hands become visibly contaminated during PPE removal, wash hands before continuing to remove PPE. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water or, if hands are not visibly contaminated, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Modifications to this Policy
Version 6 – last updated January 20th, 2021