COVID-19 Update

Pandemic Policy

Dear Parents,

We have been continuing to monitor the quickly developing situation around the COVID-19 virus and taking guidance from the relevant Health Authorities.

We understand that childcare providers and parents have questions about CEFA programs and services in the event that childcare facilities close as a result of COVID-19. The Ministry of Children and Family Development is monitoring the situation closely on behalf of our industry and we are committed to keeping parents and childcare providers informed.

At this time, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Provincial Health Officer of British Columbia are not recommending childcare closure strategies for the prevention of COVID-19. Direction may continue to change, and we will update you accordingly.

CLOSURE POLICY

Childcare programs in BC are licensed and regulated through the Ministry of Health, childcare licensing.  As a result, CEFA may be directed by a childcare licensing officers to close operations during a pandemic or other communicable disease outbreak.  CEFA will follow all directives provided from the Ministry of Health.  The legal authority to close a child care program for public health reasons falls under the purview of the local Medical Health Officer and the Provincial Health Officer and their decision overrules any decision to stay open that an individual child care operator or parents may wish to make.

Childcare ratios are required during operation, regardless of a pandemic or communicable disease outbreak.  In the event that enough employees are unable to come into work or are in a quarantine and ratio is not able to be met, CEFA may require reduced operational hours or rotating days off between children.  This decision would be made as required, and would be communicated with parents in writing, via email.

In the event of a short term closure due to a pandemic or communicable disease outbreak (less than 30 days), fees are due and payable as per usual operations to enable us to continue to pay our amazing teachers and maintain services beyond the outbreak.  Any fees payable during closures exceeding 30 days will be determined on a case by case basis.

Fee reductions such as the CCFRI or ACCB are provided through MCFD, and may or may not be provided during required pandemic or communicable disease closures.  Parents may directly contact the MCFD office at 1 888 338-6622, to discuss MCFD’s policy regarding CCFRI or ACCB payments; this decision is sadly outside of CEFA’s authority.

TRAVEL POLICY

New information is being provided daily by the Provincial Health Officer and Minister of Health regarding COVID-19. The Provincial Health Officer has advised against all non-essential travel outside of Canada, including to the United States. If people do travel outside of Canada, they are asked to self-isolate for 14 days upon return. This would include staying away from both school and work. The federal government has now also warned against all international travel and is limiting inbound flights in order to restrict the spread of COVID-19.

Spring Break is typically a peak travel period and we would request that:

  • Students or staff returning from travel outside of Canada stay home for 14 days after returning home. They should monitor themselves daily for symptoms like fever or cough. Parents should assist children as needed. Those who develop develops symptoms, should stay home and call their health-care provider or 8-1-1 t to discuss any need for testing and follow up.
  • Students or staff, who have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 also stay home for 14 days after their last encounter. Individuals should monitor themselves daily for symptoms like fever and cough. Parents should assist children as needed. Those who develop symptoms should stay home and call their health-care provider or 8-1-1 to discuss any need for testing and follow up.

We would request all families follow this course of action, and we will continue to monitor this situation and immediately advise accordingly if anything changes.

Upon return from Spring Break, CEFA schools will be monitoring for flu-like symptoms, in accordance with Provincial Health Authority guidelines.  Schools will therefore reserve the right, out of an abundance of caution for the well-being of all students and staff, to amend some operating practices (for example: dropping students off at the door, excluding all non-essential entry into the school, and even refusing entry into the school).

PREVENTION POLICY

Public health officials have consistently recommended that among the most important prevention measures are

  • For people who are sick to stay home; and,
  • For everyone to be mindful of hygiene practices, such as regular handwashing and not touching your face.

HEALTH AND WELLNESS POLICY

Our health and wellness policy continues to apply during a pandemic or communicable disease outbreak, however, additional restrictions may apply, based on government / licensing officer directives.  This may include, but is not limited to, extending our required at-home “symptom free” time period following any symptoms or requiring children with symptoms – even if they are feeling well and have plenty of energy – to remain at home.  Any temporary changes to our health and wellness policy during a pandemic / outbreak will be communicated in writing, via email, and will link to the authorized source of information that our temporary change is based on.

ADDITIONAL CLEANING

In the event of a pandemic or communicable disease outbreak, CEFA, while in operation, will follow additional cleaning measures.  This includes:

  • Using a Ministry of Health-approved sanitizing solution within the program twice a day, to sanitize the facility and all equipment.
  • Any food provided by our program will be served directly to children rather than a family-style or buffet style snack or meal service
  • Increasing handwashing and using social stories and direct teacher instruction with children to promote healthy handwashing habits

INDIVIDUAL EXCLUSIONS

In the event that the Ministry of Health provides a regional or provincial quarantine recommendation for individuals – be it due to international travel, linked to potential exposures, or linked to individual symptoms, CEFA will require all families and children to comply with this recommendation.  In the event this occurs, the Ministry of Health will provide our childcare program with written information; this recommendation will be shared directly with families.  These exclusions will apply equally to all children, families and employees

Authorized sources of information

A pandemic or localized communicable disease outbreak is subject to governance by official sources:  our childcare licensing officers, the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Children and Families, and the federal government.  While we appreciate that social media and news sources provide an extensive amount of information, we will respond to official, authorized sources of information only.

A non-biased, inclusive approach

Fear-based responses in times of pandemic or communicable disease, have historically led to actions stemming from bias and self-protective measures.  Not only can these measures lead to conflict between parents, childcare educators, and community members, but they can also lead to actions rooted in racism.  CEFA has an inclusive-based approach and works to be a safe space for all families and children; we will not tolerate acts of racism or bigotry towards any parent, child, employee, or community member.  Any such acts may be subject to an immediate dismissal from our program.

In addition, anyone looking for more information about COVID-19 can visit the BC Centre for Disease Control’s website at: www.bccdc.ca

Again, the health and wellbeing of all our students and staff is of utmost importance. We thank everyone for their understanding during this unprecedented time and rapidly evolving situation.

 

Regards, CEFA Systems.