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Early Childhood Centres Permitted To Re-Open Once COVID-19 Protocol Compliant

NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS  – Early Childhood Development Centres on Nevis have been given the okay to re-open, however, they must first be certified compliant with new COVID-19 protocols.

The new parameters for the reopening of the centres were the focal point of a sensitization training for Early Childhood Development supervisors on Thursday, July 16, 2020, hosted by the Department of Education at the Charlestown Primary School.

The supervisors were apprised of the Ministry of Education’s Early Childhood Development COVID-19 Compliance and Enforcement Checklist which includes physical distancing and temperature screening.

The new physical distancing requirement dictates that 31 square feet per child for pre-schoolers and 40 square feet per infant must be observed indoors.

The checklist includes arrival and departure screening protocols which stipulate mandatory temperature checks upon arrival for staff and children, and sanitization stations.

With respect to hygiene, supervisors must keep a written schedule for sanitizing frequently touched surfaces such as tables, chairs, cots and toys, and floors must be mopped three times daily.

Under the health and safety protocols, children or adults who exhibit signs of a cold such as coughing, sneezing, and blowing of the nose, are sent home immediately.

Ms Zahnela Claxton, Principal Education Officer in the Department of Education, told the group of about 20 supervisors that multiple ministries and agencies had consulted, including the Ministries of Health and Education; and the Nevis COVID-19 Task Force to ensure the centres can safely re-open.

She explained there is no set reopening date, but they will be allowed to reopen as soon as they are in compliance with the established COVID-19 protocols.

“We do not know if and when a COVID-19 vaccine would be made and approved. We do know that the virus is here, and we have to learn to function to the best of our ability.

“Taking the necessary precautions, we will be able to re-open but we will not be able to do so as we were before. The age and developmental level of the children you serve dictate that additional measures be put in place to protect our children and employees within Early Childhood,” she said.

Ms Claxton told the Department of Information that day-care and preschool owners will have to re-apply for permission to operate using a new application form that reflects the COVID-19 protocols.

Once the application is received, a group consisting of members of the Nevis COVID-19 Compliance Task Force and officials from the Ministry of Education would then visit the facility to ensure that the required standards are met.

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