Overview: Learn how to reopen your child care center following quarantine
[This information has been updated from the 2020 article: "Wondering How to Reopen Your Child Care Center Following Quarantine?"]
Most child care facilities are reopening following post-quarantine guidelines. However, most facilities are still coming out of mask mandates and also need to monitor classrooms understandably if a single Covid case occurs. How can your child care center successfully reopen after quarantine?
REOPENING YOUR CHILD CARE CENTER SUCCESSFULLY AFTER QUARANTINE:
When it comes to post-covid reopening, it's suitable for you to take a minute to consider how you can give your facility a refresh leading up to its reopen. This might include adjusting the classrooms’ daily schedules to make social distancing easier; revising procedures for diapering, toilet training, and restroom use to reflect intensive cleaning and disinfecting expectations; and creating a schedule for playground and gym time.
The following 6 tips — including the three we've mentioned above — are easy to implement and can help your center on its way to a successful reopening in this post-quarantine environment.
1. SET A TIMELINE:
One of the most difficult decisions that directors and owners face is deciding when to reopen. Safety is everyone’s top priority. Yet, many First Responder parents with young children must have child care in order to work. How does a child care center decide when it’s safe to reopen?
The CDC published a list of indicators that schools can use to help determine the right time to open. Essentially, directors and owners must assess the level of risk versus the level of need for their community.
Seer’s pre-paid online services make it easy for families to pay for and schedule care remotely. This way, directors and owners can quickly determine the needs of their existing families.
2. BECOME FAMILIAR WITH NEW GUIDELINES AND REGULATIONS:
There is an incredible amount of COVID-19 information being published from the federal, state, and local levels. Make sure that you are familiar with, and prepared to implement, any new requirements and recommendations.
Be sure to set aside enough time to thoroughly review all the new guidance.
You can take advantage of Seer’s planning tools, such as scheduling and staff planning, to make sure you can dedicate the time needed!
3. UPDATE YOUR POLICIES AND PROCEDURES:
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected almost every industry. Child care facilities of all sizes will need to revise several policies and procedures in order to continue to provide safe, quality care.
Consider what sections of your facility will need updating to ensure everyone's safety. The following list might be helpful in determining what might need to change:
Cleaning and Disinfecting : Sanitizing is more critical now than ever before. Develop a schedule for increased cleaning and disinfecting that outlines what is to be cleaned, who is responsible, and how often disinfecting should take place.
Parent Drop-off and Pick-up: To facilitate smooth traffic flow during drop-off and pick-up times, think through the process your parents will go through and optimize it to keep them safe and allow them to enter and exit efficiently. Communicating new policies and procedures with your families and staff helps to ensure a smooth reopening. Seer’s Parent Portal makes that communication easier than ever! You can share and store contact information and send messages with the click of a button.
Emergency Management Plan: Directors and owners should consider updating their Emergency Management Plan to include a section on how future shutdowns will be managed. Some states require plans to be reviewed by an emergency management department; reach out to local law enforcement or fire departments for help reviewing your plan.
4. TRAIN STAFF:
Staff members will need thorough training on any new policies and procedures to ensure a smooth reopening. This is also a great time to update staff on annual training requirements such as First Aid/CPR, MAT certification, Trauma Response, and more. Check out Seer’s Staff Planning tools and learn how to keep track of training and certifications.
5. FOCUS ON ENROLLMENT:
Centers both large and small in size continue to face enrollment challenges. With the unemployment rate hitting an all-time high during the pandemic, many centers have struggled to maintain enrollment goals.
Consider offering virtual tours by appointment, or put a virtual tour video on your website and social media.
This is also a great time to offer incentives such as referral discounts for enrolling. Consider what will appeal to the families in your area. Child Care Seer’s Billing and Booking Requests tool make tracking discounts and incentives effortless!
6. OPENING DAY:
On opening day, keep your schedule open! Ensure you're available to answer questions and help when and wherever needed — not just for parents, but staff, too.
So much of the child care business is about building trust and positive relationships. Remember, it's equally important to support and build rapport with your staff! In fact, studies have shown that employees are more productive and loyal when they feel valued and appreciated.
Be sure to smile and greet everyone who enters the facility — from children and parents to staff members.
Use Child Care Seer’s scheduling tools to ensure you have the proper coverage for opening day to maintain peace of mind and availability for families when they need you.
We also recommend rearranging classroom furniture to help children naturally maintain the recommended 6 feet of social distancing. Be sure to look for blind spots!
Perhaps the most critical step in the reopening process is communicating with family and staff.
For easier communicating, families and staff members can update contact information, send and receive messages, and track schedules right from their phone with Child Care Seer — no app required.
Learn more about Child Care Seer's packages, and how we can help your child care facility reopen post-quarantine.
Recognize this is the "new normal." With so much of the child care industry being affected by COVID-19, it’s important to consider and plan for the financial impact of the changes required of your business.
Seer’s financial management tools can help directors and owners keep track of expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the increased cost of supplies such as Personal Protective Equipment, labor for cleaning and sanitizing, and updates to the business processes, budgeting will be important to ensure long-term success.