Keeping the kids safe
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 06/05/2020 (1127 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Captain Hook has been in many hot spots during his storybook adventures, but nothing compares to being put in a commercial dishwasher.
The figurine — small enough to be clenched in a toddler’s fist — is among the hard plastic toys placed inside a mesh bag and scalded during a wash cycle. Fuzzy toys such as teddy bears get their cleansing baths in a laundry washing machine that runs hot enough to kill germs.
It’s all part of the new normal at Maples Day Care, 1575 Templeton Ave., as staff boost safety precautions for both children and staff.
“Younger kids sometimes put their mouths on toys, and those toys go into the dishwasher,” says assistant director Crystallyn Salvador.
It’s 7 a.m., and Salvador and her colleagues are hustling to sterilize the facility before parents begin to drop off their children.
With a blitz of spray-bottle sanitizer, staff spritz cupboards, doorknobs, sinks and the knee-high tables and chairs. Nap mats are spread farther apart than normal for physical distancing.
At 7:30 a.m. promptly, the parents arrive and ask to enter the secure facility by pressing an outdoor button that is regularly wiped down with sanitizer.
Parents are regularly advised about contagion precautions and urged to keep their children away from the daycare if someone in the home exhibits possible symptoms of the novel coronavirus.
The children seem happy to arrive at their home away from home, but some don’t understand why their favourite staff members can no longer accept physical affection. No hugs or fist bumps now.
“The best part of being an early childhood educator is the hugs; kids give the best hugs,” Salvador says. “It’s the hugs I miss the most. I used to stand in the hall and give them all high-fives as they left, they loved that, but now we have to stay safe.”
“It’s the hugs I miss the most. I used to stand in the hall and give them all high-fives as they left, they loved that, but now we have to stay safe.”
How much do the children understand about the pandemic that has changed their daycare routine?
The Maples facility cares for children from the age of three months to 12 years, so comprehension of the COVID-19 crisis varies.
“One girl, about five years old, used the expression ‘social distancing,’ so she’s obviously getting information at home,” says Salvador.
— Carl DeGurse