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In light of the increasing COVID-19 numbers, West Side Family Place has decided to be proactive and move all of our programs to our outdoor space at 2819 West 11th Avenue. This includes all indoor programs currently scheduled for St. James Community Square.
Basic Transmission Facts of COVID-19
COVID-19 is a respiratory infection that is spread by droplets. These are small particles that are dispersed when people cough or sneeze.
Transmission of the virus occurs when a person touches a droplet from an infected person and then touches their own face; mouth/eyes/nose. This requires you to be in close contact – less than the so-called social distancing of 3 – 6 feet. Frequent hand washing and physical distancing are two of the ways to stop the virus from being transmitted.
Droplet transmission is much more likely when in close contact in an indoor setting. COVID-19 can also be transmitted through droplets in the environment if someone touches the contaminated area then touches their face or eyes without cleaning their hands. This speaks to the importance of regularly cleaning one’s hands and also cleaning of high touch areas in the environment.
Physical distancing is proven to be one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of illness during an outbreak.
- Use a common-sense approach
- Reduce contact with parents/caregivers and other staff in the program
- Be outdoors as much as possible
- Set up small group activities
- Increase space between children during activities, snack time, etc.
- Limit physical interactions between everyone as much as possible
- Share age appropriate information with the children to encourage social distancing
There will be times that we may find these strategies physically challenging in the WSFP environment. When this is the case, perhaps if you need to pass by someone, turn your back as you pass by, keeping your hands in front of you. Be aware of the space/room you are in and how it is used.
- Because the virus can survive on environmental surfaces (up to 48 hours on hard surfaces) frequent cleaning can reduce the spread of the virus in the home or at workstations. Cleaning should take place using common household disinfectants.
- Additional staff time will be allocated to thoroughly clean the play room, common areas and individual workspaces
- As with City of Vancouver Playgrounds, play equipment will not be sanitized after each use. However, disinfectant will be provided and parents will be encouraged to use them to wipe touch surfaces of riding toys before and after their child uses them.
- WSFP will not provide shared toys and toys will be removed from the sandbox. Families are welcome to bring their own toys to use in our yard.
Staff who are ill with any of these symptoms – even if mild – need to stay home: fever, chills, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, and new muscle aches or headache.
- If you are at all unsure of your status, the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment can help you assess whether you should stay home or not.
- If a staff member starts showing symptoms of what could be influenza or COVID-19 while at the centre must be isolated from others and should go home immediately. For this reason, when programs are running, there should be two playroom staff and one office staff so back-up is available.
- Sick workers are required to wash / sanitize their hands, use a mask and go straight home. (Upon arrival, consult the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool, or call 811 for further guidance related to testing and self-isolation. Masks will be available in-house should the need arise.)
- If the worker is severely ill (e.g. difficult breathing, chest pain), 911 should be called.
- Any surfaces the ill worker has come into contact with should be cleaned and disinfected.
- Staff are prohibited from the workplace if:
- They are directed by Public Health to self-isolate
- They have arrived from outside of Canada or has had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case – must then self-isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms
Information will be provided through social media, on our website and through member newsletters. To ensure that clients and the general public are aware of services and adopted safety protocols, communications will include:
- Services/products being provided (e.g., modified services, additional services)
- Operating hours and registration procedures
- Updated contact information
- Safety protocols being implemented at WSFP
Other workplace protocol (WCB recommended)
- Visitors are to be limited in the workplace
- Review OFAA protocols for First Aid (see WCB Guide – Appendix A)
- If there is any question related to health and safety concerns, the executive director and/or office staff should be advised immediately.
- When resolving safety issues, all staff will be involved (routine online staff meetings to be continued for this purpose).
- All staff will be trained by the office manager and/or the executive director on COVID-19 related safety plans and related protocol when taking on new roles, responsibilities, and processes.
- Staff has put a cleaning schedule with safe processes in place to support program start-up and ongoing safety in the centre.
- Personal protective equipment, such as masks and gloves, are not required for regular course of work, but will be made available for workers when cleaning bodily fluids and when disinfecting the space.
For July and August, WSFP programs will be held outdoors, for small, preregistered groups of 5 to 12 families to allow for physical distancing. Each session will be one hour in length.
- Group size will be determined by the space and the age of the children. For example, parent – infant groups will be larger because the children will not be interacting with each other
- Adult participants will be encouraged but not required to wear masks and hand sanitizer will be available for all participants
- Each family will be asked to bring a blanket to sit on. Activities will be planned to reduce the amount of physical interaction while at the same time providing a stimulating social experience for both children and caregivers.
- We will not be using shared toys nor providing shared snacks
- Participants will be asked to pre-register online to ensure efficient and safe collection of personal information necessary for contact tracing
- Registration will be online and will open at 8am the morning of the program.
- The registration platform will gather information necessary for contact tracing, should it be required and to reduce the amount of information collected at sign-in. This will include name, address and phone number for all participants. If a child is attending with a caregiver, contact information for both the adult and the child/ren will be collected.
- The registration form will ask participants to certify that they are not experiencing any of the following symptoms (even if mild): fever, chills, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, and new muscle aches or headache. If they are experiencing any of these symptoms, they will be asked to stay home
- WSFP policy for drop-in program is for each family to attend only once per week to give more families the opportunity to participate
- Sign-in will sheets will be pre-printed based on registration data and will include the name of the participants. Rather than have participants sign, staff will ensure the information is correct and complete and will place a check mark next the person’s name to confirm that they were in attendance
- For off-site program, one or two spaces may be left open for “walk-in” participants to join. In this situation, the participant will be asked for the name, address and telephone number for both children and adults
This document will be revised once programs have been confirmed for September. For as long as pandemic protocols need to be in place, WSFP will focus on small-group programming. Programs will be held outdoors as much as possible.
For the health and safety of our environment and its users, we ask that if you or your child are displaying any of the symptoms below please rest and play at home.
Thank you for your cooperation!
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