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COVID-19 Framework for Day Nurseries and Preschools


COVID-19 Framework for Day Nurseries and Preschools

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Government today issued a COVID-19 Framework for the Recommencement of Day Nurseries and Preschools.

Day nurseries and preschools were closed as part of measures to limit spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Government has been gradually reopening the economy. The reopening of these businesses therefore comes as more public and private sector workers have returned to their offices. 

Pleae see the protocols below.


This document outlines the strategies for the safe management and operation of Day Nurseries and Preschools in the context of the COVID-19 crisis.


The following guidelines are designed to provide owners, operators and care-givers of day nurseries and preschools with clear actionable standard operating procedures to reduce exposure of themselves and the children to COVID-19 while in these establishments.

The goal of the Ministry of Health and Wellness is therefore to ensure a comprehensive understanding and provide for the appropriate management of the risks associated with COVID-19 exposure. This is done in an effort to reduce exposure in the domestic industry. In the context of the COVID-19 crisis, the department will therefore:

Review, strengthen, and monitor the Health & Safety Policies and processes of the domestic industry re:

Personal Hygiene (including hand washing, respiratory hygiene)

Cleaning of contact surfaces

Infection Prevention & Control – Use of Standard Precautions(PPE), physical distancing, and so pn

Monitoring of illness among employees

It must be noted that enforcing physical distancing within these facilities is very difficult. Additional risks present themselves where the sharing of toys and playground structures is concerned. 

These protocols are written with these potential risk factors in mind. To minimise these risks, the nursery or preschool is encouraged to create a bubble-like environment were the children are restricted to individual groups.  These bubbles or small groups serve to limit any potential spread of the disease, and would allow for easy contact tracing and remediation.

Note: These guidelines are subject to change, as more information on the virus becomes known.

Owners and operators are encouraged to continually conduct their own risk assessment to determine the risk of exposure and eliminate those risks where possible.  Where the risk cannot be eliminated, administrative controls, such as social distancing, should be the next option.  Where these are not possible, the requisite PPE must be provided.

Employee Health Monitoring and Personal Hygiene

Members of staff or students who are sick should remain at home.

Any person experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath or loss of the sense of taste or smell, must be excluded from the establishment immediately and sanitation operating procedures (SSOPs) need to be followed strictly.  Close off areas used by a sick person and do not use until the areas have been cleaned and disinfected.  If possible, wait 24 hours to clean and disinfect.  If waiting 24 hours is not possible, wait as long as you can.  Ensure the safe and correct application of disinfectants.

Inform those who have had close contact to a person diagnosed with COVID-19 to stay at home and self-monitor for symptoms.  Follow the Ministry of Health and Wellness guidance if symptoms develop.

An employee or child absent from the nursery or preschool due to suspected COVID-19 symptoms shall not return unless certified by a Medical Officer of Health.

All staff and children must produce a recent medical certificate from a registered medical practitioner before returning to the centres.

An isolation area must be designated for sick children.

Parents of sick children should be called immediately and asked to collect their child as soon as possible.

Upon entering the facility, all persons’ hands must be washed or sanitised.

It is advisable that the taking of temperatures should be done. Any person with a temperature over 100.3 degrees F or 38.0 degrees C and above shall not be permitted in the workplace.

Face masks should be made available to staff.

All staff in the facility shall wear face masks.

Face shields are required for any activity that requires the caregiver or teacher to be within three feet or less of the child for long periods of time e.g. when feeding, bathing or changing nappies.

Single use masks must be discarded after each use. Cloth masks must be laundered at the end of each use. No masks must be worn for more than four hours at a time, and should be changed if it becomes damp (disposable masks are recommended as they are easier to regulate).

Staff must wash their hands with soap and water, according to the handwashing protocol for 20 seconds after using the toilet and before eating.

Immediately dispose of used single use sanitary items such as: tissues, face masks, gloves, and so on in a covered garbage receptacle.

Observe respiratory hygiene (cover your cough, sneeze and dispose of any tissue used) at all times and wash hands with soap and water.

Train all staff and children on the importance of frequent hand washing, the use of hand sanitisers with at least 70 per cent alcohol content, and give them clear instruction to avoid touching hands to face.

Ensure adequate supplies to support healthy hygiene practices for both staff and children, including soap, hand sanitizer, paper towels, and tissues.

Staff must be equipped with shoes which are only to be worn in the confines of the nursery.

These shoes must be of a material that is easy to wash and sanitized and should be done so at the end of each day.

Non-staff personnel shall not be allowed to enter the nursery, unless wearing shoe covers.

Clean clothes must be worn to work each day.

In the event that non-staff personnel have to enter the nursery without shoe covers, the floors should be mopped with the appropriate disinfectant immediately after.

Staff members should wear an apron or smock which should be disinfected or changed between major activities, or when soiled (major activities include between feeds, cleaning of the environment).

Smocks and aprons should be laundered according to the fabric recommendations.

If a member of staff is at high-risk for severe illness, consider assigning them duties that minimise their contact with other staff and children.

Establish procedures for safely transporting anyone sick to their home or to a health care facility.

A register must be kept of all staff and children at the facility; this will include their names, addresses and phone numbers.

Nurseries must have a working contact number for all parents and guardians.

Protocols for Operation

Each caregiver or teacher will strictly adhere to the 1:6 ratio of caregiver to child under two years old, and the 1:12 ratio of caregiver to child two years old and above.

Children and caregiver, once placed within a group, should stay within that group.

Downtime, playtime and mealtime should be conducted in the specified groups.

As much as practical, these groups are not to mix, occupy the playground or any other space at the same time.

Cleaning and disinfecting should be carried out after each group is finished in an area.

Each group should have assigned toys.

Toys should remain with the individual child as much as practical.

All toys must be cleaned and disinfected after use.

All children’s bags must be kept in a designated area.

Caregivers are to sanitize their hands after handling each bag.

Preschoolers should handle their own bags.

If nap time is done on the floor, all mats should be placed a minimum of 3 feet apart.

Nurseries are allowed 25 square feet per child of usable floor space.

Children should be placed to sleep alternately head to toe.

Teach and model good respiratory hygiene (Cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow and avoid touching your face, eyes, mouth, nose).

Teach and model good hand hygiene (Wash your hands frequently, always with soap and water for at least 20 seconds).

Family Centres

Family centres are subject to all protocols.

Family centres must pay special attention not to allow non-residents
or non-family members into the home while the nursery is in operation.

Cleaning and Sanitising


Thoroughly detail-clean and sanitize entire facility, especially
if it has been closed.  Focus on high-contact areas that would
be touched by both staff and children. Do not overlook seldom-touched surfaces. Follow sanitising material guidance to ensure it is at effective sanitising strength and to protect surfaces.

Wash, rinse and sanitise food contact surfaces, food preparation surfaces, and beverage equipment after use (Using a food based sanitiser).

Where possible, a hand sanitising station for staff and children should be placed near eating area, toilets and class rooms.

Children should be taught how to properly wash their hands.

Make hand sanitiser readily available to guests. Consider touchless hand sanitising solutions.

Check restrooms regularly, and clean and sanitize them based on frequency of use.

Use gloves when handling and disposing of trash; dispose of gloves immediately after and wash hands.

Clean and sanitize frequently touched surfaces, such as shelves and countertops.


Delivery personnel shall wash or sanitise hands before and after every delivery where practical.


All surfaces should be cleaned and sanitised at the beginning and end of each workday as practical.

More frequent cleaning and sanitisation may be needed depending on usage. Surfaces shall include high contact and food contact surfaces, cots, cribs, playpens, highchairs doorknobs, handrails, telephones, machines, chairs, tables, and so on

Posters displaying handwashing guidelines should be placed in key areas – the lunchroom, bathroom, etc.


Clean and disinfect ALL restroom surfaces, including floors, sinks and toilet bowls.

Store paper products in a closed cabinet and provide antibacterial hand soap.

Place trashcan by door. Remove anything that does not have to be in the restrooms.


As much as possible, only one person will be allowed to drop off or pick up children.

Floor markers can be placed in the reception area for persons picking up and dropping off of children.

Persons picking up and dropping off children should wear face masks.

Visible signage detailing procedures for drop off and pick up should be clearly visible to parents and guardians.

Where possible, increase the airflow and ventilation of the facility.

Ensure that trash is removed daily and disposed of safely.

Until further notice, all field trips are suspended unless authorized by the Child Care Board


Focus on good health behaviours, such as covering coughs and sneezes with the elbow and washing hands frequently.

Sing a song while washing hands to practise the recommended 20 second duration.

Children can “practise” washing their hands with hand sanitizer.

Develop a way to track hand washing and reward for frequent/timely hand washing

Consider using puppets or dolls to demonstrate symptoms (sneezing, coughing, fever) and what to do if they feel sick (i.e. their head hurts, their stomach hurts, they feel hot or extra tired) and how to comfort someone who is sick (cultivating empathy and safe caring behaviours)

Have children sit apart from each other; have them practise stretching their arms out or ‘flap their wings’; they should keep enough space to not touch their friends.

Monitor School Attendance

Implement school absenteeism monitoring systems to track student and staff absence and compare against usual absenteeism patterns at the school. Alert the Ministry of Health and Wellness about large increases in student and staff absenteeism due to respiratory illnesses (cough, colds, fever, difficulty breathing). (BGIS)