Marion and Hendricks Counties in Indiana have their first confirmed cases of COVID-19. More are sure to follow. The National Children’s Alliance has issued guidance to CACs on ways to prepare:
While NCA National Standards for Accreditation require that the CAC facility is clean and physically (and psychologically) safe for children at all times, it is prudent to increase the frequency of cleaning of the physical plant, especially all surfaces with frequent handling—doorknobs, cabinet pulls, sink handles, playroom tables, forensic interview tables, etc. Likewise, sanitizing toys and play materials throughout the building should be completed frequently. Removing soft toys (stuffed animals, etc.) from play areas can be helpful as well. While hand sanitizer should be made available to adults and those interacting with children, it is important to remember that most hand sanitizer is poisonous if ingested. Therefore it should not be left on low tables or within the reach of small children. Keep in mind that normal soap when properly used while handwashing is highly effective in preventing the spread of viruses and should be encouraged for all children, caregivers, and professionals within the center. Those centers that conduct group sessions of any kind may want to consider, in consultation with your team pediatrician and local public health officials, whether the current risk level in your community warrants a suspension of sessions until the outbreak is over. Caregivers and children may have worries about catching COVID-19. Two very helpful resources to explain the virus and preventive measures include:
- For Caregivers: NCTSN’s Caregiver’s Guide to Cope with COVID-19
- For Children: NPR’s Kid’s Comic Exploring the Coronavirus. Directions to fold the printed document into a magazine for children here.
Additionally, details for staff:
Those individuals who run a temperature of 100.4 or more; those whose illness involves coughing or sneezing; and those whose illness includes shortness of breath should be immediately placed on leave and required to remain home until released by their physician to return to work. It is better to err on the side of caution than address an outbreak later. More information about the legal responsibilities of employers regarding COVID-19 may be found here.
Large fundraisers and community events may need alternate preparations. Read the NCAs full guidance and more here.