CHARLESTOWN, Nevis — Early Childhood Development Centres on Nevis have been given the okay to re-open, however they must first be certified complaint with new COVID-19 protocols.
The new parameters for reopening the centres was the focal point of a July 16 sensitization training for Early Childhood Development supervisors 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 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 of 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. Floors must be sanitized three times a day.
Under health and safety protocols, children or adults who exhibit signs of a cold, such as coughing, sneezing, and blowing their nose, are sent home immediately.
Principal Education Officer in the Department of Education, Ms. Zahnela Claxton, told about 20 supervisors that multiple ministries and agencies had been consulted; including the ministries of Health and Education; and the Nevis COVID-19 Task Force to ensure the centres can safely re-open.
Ms. Claxton explained there is no set re-opening date, but they will be allowed to reopen as soon as they are in compliance with established COVID-19 protocols.
“We do not know if and when a COVID-19 vaccine will be made and approved,” said Ms. Claxton. “We know 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.”
Ms. Claxton told the Department of Information that day-care and preschool owners must-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 will visit the facility to ensure that the required standards are met.
Ms. Zahnela Claxton, Principal Education Officer in the Department of Education on Nevis makes her presentation July 16 at a COVID-19 Compliance sensitization training workshop for Early Childhood Development Centre supervisors at the Charlestown Primary Scholl auditorium.