Keep your business, employees and their children safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To meet the childcare needs of their employees during this pandemic, some businesses are exploring the idea of providing temporary onsite child daycare to on-duty staff. Before taking on this endeavor, businesses should consider precautions related to their services, facilities, children and customers.
Keep in mind the essentials
Many of the same precautions you take to protect your employees and customers will carry over into providing care for your employees’ children. Here’s a few ideas to get things started and to make sure that other safety authorities are aware of your plans:
- Limit childcare services to employees only, and only for the hours when they are working.
- Take the same level of care for infection prevention and control policies, practices, and staff training as you do for your business.
- Notify your local fire department of your intention to operate a temporary childcare facility.
Follow their life safety requirements specific to childcare facilities. These safety requirements maybe different from your normal business, such as clear exit paths, emergency plans and drills, etc.
- If childcare services will be provided by a third party, ensure you operate under a written contract and that the third-party provider has been vetted and is qualified to operate a childcare facility.
Set up your facility for safety and security
You probably didn’t consider that your business would someday also operate a temporary childcare operation. That in mind, there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure your building meets the safety and security needs of all occupants, such as:
- When possible, provide childcare in a building separate, but nearby.
- If you must use a space within the building, choose one on the ground floor and as close as possible to a designated entrance. Doing so will reduce comingling of children and customers or employees and enable easy drop-off and pick-up without passing through significant portions of the business.
- Ensure that the childcare area has its own restroom facilities in or directly adjacent to the space.
- Create a layout that allows childcare providers to see all areas for continuous activity monitoring.
Running a successful temporary childcare facility
The day-to-day activities of your temporary childcare facility might be different than your normal day-to-day activities. Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to a successful childcare effort:
- If not already completed, administer comprehensive criminal background checks, including child abuse and sex offender registries, to all employees who will work in the childcare area.
- Train all employees on child abuse recognition and prevention.
- Obtain and file each child’s medical, allergy, dietary, and parental contact information.
- Never leave children unattended. At least two childcare providers should always be on duty, with more required based on the number and needs of children in the facility and applicable state/local laws for temporary childcare services.
- Require that parents bring, retain, and administer any medications required by their children during daycare — even over-the-counter medications and supplements. Ensure that adequate infection prevention and control procedures and practices are in place for medication dispensing.
- Establish procedures for parents to physically sign children in and out of the facility. Since parent employees will be working at the business, they will be the person picking up and dropping off the child under most circumstances. Maintain an authorized pick-up list for each child in case the parent employee is not available.
- Refer to CDC and local regulatory guidelines for child daycares.
- Comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws, orders and regulations, including those related to COVID-19.
Maintaining high-quality, safe care
Although these times require special focus on the children and customers, here are ways to ensure the environment remains safe:
- Do not allow any childcare activities to be conducted within business areas. Clear separation is key to the safety.
- Assign workers to either the child daycare or the business for their entire shift, but not both on the same day.
- Require parent employees to provide transportation to and from the center. Don’t conduct any transportation-related activities, as this introduces an entirely new set of risks and necessary precautions.
- If meals for the childcare will be provided by an existing kitchen, ensure infection control and food service sanitation plans are in place.
- Only child daycare staff, children, and parent employees should enter the daycare area. Parents should be allowed only for drop-off, pick-up, and to administer medication. Customers should not enter the child daycare area.
- Develop written steps that will be taken to protect children in the daycare program in the instance that a customer or staff person is discovered to have COVID-19.
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