LNP – Sri Lanka day-care centres to run full capacity with Covid-19 contained

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s health authorities have given the go ahead to for day care centres to run at full capacity from July 06, under guidelines already issued, with officials saying the domestic spread of Coronavirus has been controlled.

“Daycare Centers will be permitted to open and operate at full capacity (for the total numbers of children the Daycare Centers are caring for) with effect from July 6, 2020,” the head of Sri Lanka’s health service Anil Jasinghe said in a statement.

“It is compulsory that all Daycare Centers adhere to the prescribed health guidelines for the protection from Covid-19 virus.”

At the moment day care centres are allowed to run at 75 percent capacity.

Sri Lanka’s health ministry had reported 2042 cases up to 2300hour on June 29, with 5 new cases being reported during the day.

All cases found since April 30 were either from members of a cluster linked to Sri Lanka Navy already in quarantine or foreign returnees, authorities said.

Of the total confirmed cases in Sri Lanka, 747 were returnees from abroad which included 30 foreign nationals.

Another 947 were linked to Navy camp where a cluster flared at a time when Sri Lanka denied tests to frontline workers. Sri Lanka was originally testing symptomatic cases in a hospital setting.

The number also includes family members of some sailors who were allowed to hitch rides to their homes at a time when inter-district travel was barred for ordinary citizens.

There had been 313 other domestic cases outside of the Navy cluster. Up to June 28, 1,678 had recovered and another 348 were in hospital.

Observers say Sri Lanka’s anti-Coronavirus control is perhaps only second to Vietnam, where authorities used tests effectively to contain suspected clusters, with entire apartments and city blocks tested when a case was found.

Vietnam has relaxed controls including social distancing and is patrolling borders to stop unofficial returnees.

Sri Lanka has also taken the first steps to re-open schools with academic staff asked to report from June 19.

Under the first stage Principal, academic and non-academic staff as well as the school management board reported to school in order to prepare class rooms and school premises.

Under the second stage grade 5, 11 and 13 students will attend the school from July 6 – July 17.

From July 17 -24 grade 10 and 12 students will be attending the school and from July 24 students from 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9 will be attending the school.

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Guidelines to reopen Day care centres issued by Sri Lanka health authorities are as follows:

Considering the risks associated with the close contact between staff and children, the management and staff are advised to have extreme precautions in conducting these services.

Management

All teachers and child carers should be properly oriented on the preventive measures to be taken due to close interaction with children

Establish a method to communicate quickly any decisions taken/instructions with all parents (such as WhatsApp/Viber group chats).

Arrange handwashing facilities at entrance, provide adequate supplies of masks for staff

Management should establish daily health status of all staff through verbal screen approach.

Do not permit any sick staff member or a sick child to enter the premises. Have a contact number
allocated for the parents/staff members to inform the administration of their absence when they are sick.

Have a plan if someone is or becomes sick Plan to have an isolation room or area (such as a cot in a corner of the classroom) that can be used to isolate a sick child.

Verbally screen all staff members and children about the presence of any respiratory symptoms or fever. If possible, check temperature at the entrance.

If possible, childcare classes should include the same group each day, and the same childcare providers should remain with the same group each day.

Consider creating a separate classroom or group for the children of healthcare workers and other first responders. If your program is unable to create a separate classroom, consider serving only the children of healthcare workers and first responders.

Cancel or postpone special events such as festivals, holiday events, and special performances.

Consider staggering arrival and drop off times and/or have childcare providers come outside the facility to pick up the children as they arrive,

Same parent or designated person should drop off and pick up the child every day. If possible, older people such as grandparents or those with serious underlying medical conditions should not pick up children.

Centre should not function in areas declared to be high risk by the local health authority

You are required to fill the provided Assurance form, indicating compliance with the instructions given. The original of the Assurance form should be submitted to the area Medical Officer of Health.

A copy of the same should be sent to the local government authority (municipal council/ urban council/ pradeshiyasabha) and another copy should be kept with you. The owner/ employer/ manager of the organization/ premises is responsible to ensure that the above guidelines are strictly adhered to.

Teachers and carers

Take recommended preventive actions against the spread of respiratory illness {Washing hands, respiratory etiquette, cleaning/ disinfection of frequently touched surfaces)
Disclose to management if you are having respiratory symptoms such as cough, sore throat and fever, and refrain from coming to work

Wear a face mask properly. Face masks should not be encouraged among children. Face masks should not be put on babies and children under 2 years of age because of the danger of suffocation, Preschoolers aged 3 to 5 years can be taught about the concept of face masks.

Consider whether to alter or halt daily group activities that may promote transmission.

Limit the mixing of children, such as staggering playground times and keeping groups separate for special activities such as art, music, and exercising.

If possible, at nap time, ensure that children’s naptime mats (or cribs) are spaced out as much as possible, ideally 6 feet apart/or 1 meter apart. Consider placing children head to toe in order to further reduce the potential for viral spread.

Clean and/ sanitize toys. Toys that cannot be cleaned and sanitized should not be used. Make sure that the alcohol containing sanitizers and hand rubs are kept at a place which is not accessible to children.

Encourage simple easily washable cloths among the staff members. Avoid unnecessary accessories

When washing, feeding, or holding very young child or comforting a crying/ anxious child’ Childcare providers can protect themselves by wearing an over-large button-down, long sleeved shirt and by wearing long hair up off the collar in a ponytail or other updo.

Encourage children to bring home cooked meals. If a cafeteria or group dining room is typically used, serve meals in classrooms instead. If meals are typically served family-style, plate each child’s meal to serve it so that multiple children are not using the same serving utensils.

Parent/ Child

Do not send your child to day care if your child or anyone at home are having fever/respiratory illness

When dressing your child, select clothes that are easily washable. Avoid unnecessary accessories such as necklaces, watches, hair bands etc.

Send an extra pack of cloths in a sealed bag and ask the child to keep it inside his/her bag.

Comb the child’s hair properly and clip/tie it to prevent hair falling on to the face /forehead. This will prevent the child touching her hair and face frequently to keep the hair in order.

Send the child’s meals and snacks from home with the cutleries. Instruct them to bring the remaining food home and wash the lunch boxes and cutleries with soap and water at home

Clean child’s bags, books and other utensils every day with a disinfectant or soap and water

Give your child a thorough bath/body wash as soon as they return from the day care, before mingling with other family members.

Avoid other journeys on the way to and from the day care (specially to crowded places such as supermarkets, book shops, restaurants)

While talking to the child on how her/ his day was spent at the day care, pop up a question on whether he noticed anyone being sick (having a cold, cough).
Method/s of instruction

Signages, Posters at the entrance, Mass media, social media. (Colombo/June30/2020)

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