Reopening Plan in Alert level 3

Kia ora e te whānau,

Following the announcement from government earlier this week, we are pleased to say that we will be re-opening our centres on Monday 4th of May for those families who need their child to attend Kids Cove during Alert Level 3. This allows us next week to prepare, clean and set up.

Thank you to everybody who responded to our emails and phone calls over the week about attendance plans during Alert Level 3. If your family has not yet indicated their intention please check the message from Centre Managers, and respond urgently so that we can ensure our planning is accurate and complies with Ministry of Education stipulations for Alert Level 3.

The two key public health principles that support Alert Level 3 are:

  1. to minimise the risk that someone gets infected in the first place, and
  2. to limit the number of possible contacts people have if they do get infected, to make it easier to rapidly stop further spread.

The Alert Level 3 approach in an ECE or school environment is designed to limit the number of people that children have contact with based on these principles. And because all the evidence points to children having a lower risk of getting infected and being affected by COVID-19, and it is possible to ensure that children are within the same group each day with no mixing between groups, it is safe from a public health perspective to have a group of children learning together.

At Kids Cove we can safely create ‘bubbles’ within our centres at this stage for all families who have indicated that they wish to have their children attend during Alert Level 3. Your Kaiwhakahere (Centre Manager) will be in touch with each family intending to return in Level 3 to confirm details and make arrangements. If your circumstances change during this time, please get in touch with your Kaiwhakahaere as soon as possible and we will do our best to accommodate your requirements. Thank you also for the lovely messages from many of you; your understanding and community spirit is much appreciated. Our teaching team will continue to support learning and relationship connections for those children who will remain at home in Alert Level 3. We are also committed to providing a valuable service long into the future.

If your child is not attending during Alert Level 3 there will be no requirement to pay fees. For children who are attending during level 3, we request that you resume paying your normal fees. All other enrollment policies remain the same.

Children who were due to start school are welcome to stay with us until their 6th birthday, as legislation has always allowed. If your child was due to transition into one of our centres or between our centres, please speak to your Kaiwhakahaere and we will create a new settling plan together.

As social/physical distancing is not possible in early learning environments, nor is it appropriate for early learning, there will be hugs and human connection when your child returns with us. If this was not safe from a public health perspective in our new bubbles in ECE, we would not have been cleared to re-open. With continued vigilance, the chance of widespread community outbreak is expected to remain low.

When we re-open, we know our centres will be places of safety and wellbeing for our tamariki and whānau. It may be tempting to discuss COVID-19 and everything that is going on in the world with other adults. We respectfully request that any of these adult conversations take place outside of our learning environments. Our focus will be solely on your children (and family) and ensuring you all experience an environment that is as close as possible to your usual Kids Cove experience and not clouded by outside worries and concerns. The Ministry of Education has given a range of directives regarding re-opening and we have addressed each of these with procedures Kids Cove will put in place below.

public health measures to reduce the chances of respiratory infections including COVID-19 to be taken in early learning centres during Alert Level 3 are:Kids Cove Procedures in place.
People at higher-risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (e.g. those with underlying medical conditions, especially if not well-controlled, and the elderly) are encouraged to stay at home due to their lack of ability to physically distance from young children.

If your child is high-risk, or living with somebody who is high-risk, we recommend that they stay at home during L3.

Due to limited capacity, we also require less teachers to maintain safe ratios. We have requested that kaiako who identify as high-risk to stay home.

Indoor temperature which is currently a minimum of 16 degrees Celsius needs to be increased to 18 degrees Celsius. This minimum must be met.

We will keep our heat pumps on when needed and will check settings to ensure they are set at, or higher, than 18 degrees Celsius.

Heat pumps can be left on at the centres overnight on a lower temperature to ensure rooms can easily heat up quickly in the mornings.

Increase the minimum licensed indoor space for children from 2.5 m2 per child to at least 3 m2 per child. Outdoor requirement of 5 m2 remains.

Due to ‘bubble’ size limits of 10 children, our maximum roll numbers will allow significantly more floor space than required in Alert Level 3.

We will ensure each bubble has the correct minimum floor space for the children attending.

The actual number in a facility to be determined according to the ability to manage the space requirements and other public health measures. Initially the number of children must be limited to 10 in an early learning bubble, but this can be increased to 20 once all processes are running smoothly. There can be multiple early learning bubbles on a site but there must be no mixing between bubbles.

We are lucky at Kids Cove to have small group sizes already and separate facilities for each room at our centres. Each learning space can accommodate a bubble of up to 10 with separate sleeping, nappy changing, outdoor spaces and entrances.

To limit the amount of people in contact with each bubble, and to ensure consistency of health and safety practices, we will have the same kaiako working with these bubbles throughout Level 3.

Siblings who attend the same centre and teachers who are parents will be in the same bubble.

Parents are asked to keep any sick children at home. If a sick child comes to the centre, send them home.

As per our pandemic plan and regular health policy.

We request that if your child or someone in your household is at all unwell that your child stays away from the centre.

Ensure all children regularly wash and dry their hands.

This is as per our pandemic plan but we will ensure kaiako know this is vital. Children’s hands will continue to be washed before and after kai times and with nappy changes/toileting, after using tissues and whenever else needed.

We will wash your child’s hands when they arrive and before they leave.

Ensure hand sanitiser is available, with teachers/staff supervising its location and use in order to avoid child access.

Hand sanitiser is available in each room at our centres. We request that you use this as needed, we recommend when you arrive and before you leave.

Please ask kaiako where this is kept as it may not necessarily be next to the entrance or at the sign-in area due to children’s safety.

Put in place staggered entry and exit times to avoid all children coming into or exiting the centre all at once and parental drop-off at entrance to limit numbers entering site.

This is generally in place, as all of our children are enrolled for different hours. Pick up and drop offs will be at the main foyer, so parents don’t go into individual rooms. However, due to limiting teachers interacting with each bubble we are reducing opening hours from 8am to 4.30pm under Alert level 3.

If you know your whānau arrives during what is usually a busy time, please consider coming a bit earlier or a bit later than normal.

To limit the amount of people at the centre at one time, we request that only one person drops children off and picks them up (similar to shopping alone at the supermarket). We also request that school-aged children do not come into the building.

We request that all whānau please use common sense around social distancing when you drop off and pick up.

Ensure that children have their own food containers and do not give and take food to and from each other.

We request parents to provide meals from home for the initial 2 weeks of level 3. We are a nut free centre, so please do not provide your child with anything containing nuts.

All children will be served their meals in individual tiffin’s – there will be no shared kai plates.

Teachers will serve children at all meals. Children will not be allowed to share their food.

Meal breaks should be staggered.We assume this relates to teacher’s meal breaks, only one teacher will be on break using the staff room at one time.
Put away any toys that cannot be easily wiped down or cleaned frequently

As per our pandemic plan, playdough, water play, messy play or any other type of play that can easily spread germs will not be available.

All toys/resources that are used will be cleaned at the end of each day in hot soapy water or cool bleach water.

We will rotate resources that cannot be cleaned, such as books.

If we can’t disinfect it, we won’t use it.

Disinfect and clean all surfaces daily.

We will review our regular cleaning schedule with the centre cleaners for the end of each day to ensure we uphold high cleaning standards (we cannot speak highly enough of our current commercial cleaners, they are the best we have ever had).

Additional cleaning of surface ‘hot spots’ throughout the day as a manager’s responsibility or to delegated to a particular kaiako. Such as, door handles, light switches and bathrooms at least once in the middle of the day.

PPE is not required or recommended as necessary in any educational facility by the Public Health Service.

Thank goodness! How awkward would that be in our space?

Gloves will be used when required under normal policies.

Contact tracing registers must be set up to record who is on site in each physical space each day, who visits e.g. parents.

Centre Manager (or delegated to one Kaiako) will be responsible to sign children in and out. This is so only one person is using the sign in sheet to reduce potential virus transfer. They will note who dropped off and picked up each day, as well as the time.

The visitors register must be used for anyone else who may visit the centre (public health, MOE, management).

Couriers and food delivery will be operating under contactless delivery.

I hope the above gives you assurance that we are taking every practical measure to ensure health and safety in our centres. We will be implementing these along with our usual policies and pandemic procedures; this document will also be posted on Story Park. We may get more requirements and considerations from the MoE between now and when we re-open, and of course we will share with you any and all information as it arises.

Your Centre Leaders will be in touch as soon as we have been able to work out the full details of actioning this plan for each centre (drop off/ pick up area, opening times, bubble size and shape, and which Kaiako and tamariki will be in your child’s bubble).

Again, thank you for your community spirit and if you have any questions, concerns, or comments please do not hesitate to contact me on details below or your centre leaders directly:

Ngā mihi

Jassu Gill on behalf of all of us here at Kids Cove.
E: jassu@kidscove.co.nz