Under normal circumstances, Pasitos de Luz welcomes all of the children, families, visitors, and volunteers and is proud to hosts tours. We know all of these provide support and reassurance for families, donors and supporters. We pride ourselves on being a family and donor-centred organization.
But the COVID-19 pandemic is a difficult time for all of us. Times have changed quickly and dramatically due to the virus. As a centre focussed on children with disabilities, we must do everything we can to prevent the spread of this disease and protect our children, their families and our staff. A minimum number of our children are returning to our facility in September 2020. Approximately 25 children who suffer the most debilitating of diseases and are desperately in need of therapy for pain relief and muscle control/development will attend.
In order to do this, we need to place strict limits on the people who can enter the bus and building and who interact with the children, as well as ensuring strict cleanliness and protection is in place.
Protocols for reactivating services in Pasitos de Luz Casa Connor
In December 2019, the SARS-CoV2 coronavirus disease, COVID-19, emerged in the city of Wuhan, China, which has spread and is consequently affecting various regions of various countries, among the ones found in Mexico.
On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO), declared the existence of a public health risk of international interest in accordance with the regulations of the International Health Regulations. On March 11, 2020, the WHO, given the alarming levels of transmission, severity and inaction, declared that COVID-19 be characterized as a pandemic due to the high number of infected people and deaths it caused around the world.
On May 13, 2020, the Strategies for the Reopening of social, educational and economic activities were presented, establishing stages in which progress towards the new normal in the Mexican Republic would be made in a gradual, orderly and cautious manner, including the return to educational activities. In the case of this document, the focus is on the restart of activities in nurseries/centres such as Pasitos de Luz.
Schools in general, and in this case nurseries such as Pasitos de Luz, in conjunction with local health services, play an important role in slowing the spread of diseases and protecting minors and vulnerable personnel to help to ensure they have safe and healthy learning environments.
Intake of children – initial health and hygiene assessments/requirements
This initial intake consists of a check-in of the children with an assessment of their current state of health. If any symptoms are found that could put the child, members of his/her household or the other children or staff at risk, the child will be returned home and sent for a comprehensive medical evaluation. It is not ruled out that any person may be an asymptomatic carrier. Therefore, the assessment must focus on the presence of any of the following:
- Muscle weakness
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal bloating
- Diaper rash
- Breathing difficulty
The measures that must be carried out before the children board the transportation and/or are admitted to Casa Connor include:
1. The mother, father or guardian who brings the child will have their body temperature taken. In the case of a fever, the child will not be able to access the transportation to the centre.
2. General personal hygiene of the child, such as bathing and short nails, will be assessed and must be in place.
3. The application of antibacterial gel at the entrance of the transportation vehicle (except for babies) must occur for the children, as well as to the person who brings their child.
4. Determination of the child’s body temperature will be taken with a thermometer.
5. Continuous hand washing with soap or sanitizing with gel must occur (as often as possible).
6. All persons must avoid wearing jewelry and other accessories.
7. Younger children must have a clean diaper. All children must have clean clothes.
8. Personal hygiene products and clothing for each child must be identified in a separate container with his or her name.
9. Children must not bring toys or personal objects to Casa Connor that could be the means of transmission of infections.
End of day delivery/pick up of the children
1. Only one person must go to pick up the child, and establish a specific area for the delivery of the child. It is essential that the pickup is in an area where it is not saturated or where there is no crowding of people.
2. Mothers, fathers or guardians must arrive in time, before the usual time, to pick up the child. They will be provided with sanitizing gel to use prior to taking their child.
3. It is requested and recommended that mothers, fathers and guardians keep their children at home after leaving Casa Connor and to avoid crowded places.
4. Pasitos de Luz will keep mothers, fathers or guardians informed of the daily health status of their child and of the staff.
Hygiene measures at Casa Connor
• There is an intake area at the entry for any person entering the facility. All persons will have their body temperature taken with an infrared thermometer and will apply an antibacterial gel for hands available at the entrance of Casa Connor.
• Access to Casa Connor will be denied if a temperature registers above 37ºC, or other COVID-19 symptoms are displayed such as runny nose, nasal or conjunctival congestion, dry or productive cough, watery eyes.
• Casa Connor has a sanitizing mat impregnated with chlorine solution at the entrance upon admission that will be required to be used before entering.
• Staff uniforms may not be reused. At the end of the day the worker will make sure to place the uniform in the used container.
• Staff will clean and disinfect the work area at the beginning of each shift, and at the end.
• All persons will ensure to keep a healthy distance.
• Staff must ensure to avoid the concentration of people and not exceed a maximum of 8 persons per room / 15 in the babysitting area.
• It is mandatory for all workers to use the personal safety products provided (gloves, face masks, etc.)
• Staff will ensure natural ventilation of all areas.
• Cleaners will double the frequency of cleaning garbage cans. These containers must have a bag and lid.
• Posters with hygiene procedures are in place in the building reminding of the essentials of personal protective products, sanitation care and needed
• All persons will carry out frequent hand washing and scrub for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
Hygiene measures in transport
• Disinfection of the vehicle will be carried out before each service (Collection and Delivery)
• Mandatory use of face shields to board will be required.
• There will be an infrared thermometer, sanitizing gel, face mask for monitoring and service of users / parents.
• A record of incidents will be kept for improvement.
• There will be printed information provided to parents and staff on what to do in case of COVID-19 symptoms.
Strategies to prevent spread
• Limit the presence of non-essential visits. Visitors will not be allowed to enter Casa Connor when children are present. Visits can occur on Saturdays, or after the children leave, with follow up cleaning and disinfecting to occur prior to the return of the children.
• Suspension of the presence of volunteers who deal directly with children will be implemented. Volunteers will not be accepted at this time and until further notice.
• Tours will not be conducted except by special request. The number and timing for tours will be very limited, and only on Saturdays or after the children leave, with follow up cleaning and disinfecting to occur prior to the return of the children.
• If a visit is approved after hours or on Saturdays, the visitors will be subject to all the entry requirements and are requested not to touch anything. Entry will be denied for anyone demonstrating potential symptoms of COVID-19.
• Pasitos de Luz management will continually monitor and evaluate ways to adapt to the needs of children and family members at risk of illness.
General health measures to be followed
1. Sneezing – cover nose and mouth with the inner corner of the arm or use a disposable tissue.
2. Do not greet with kisses or hands and avoid hugs.
3. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth; if you do, ensure you wash your hands with soap and water first for at least 20 seconds.
4. Do not share food, drinks, glasses, cutlery or personal hygiene utensils.
5. Do not spit, if you do, use a tissue and then wash your hands. Dispose of the tissue in designated garbage cans.
6. Ventilate closed spaces.
7. Carry out daily cleaning and disinfection of frequently contacted surfaces (landlines or cell phones, computers, switches, tables, chairs, knobs, handrails, toys) with disinfectant solutions.
8. Proper handling of human excrement when changing diapers or handling potties is required.
9. When storing toothbrushes, avoid bristle contact.
10. Verify that all garbage cans have a lid, are covered at all times and ensure their daily cleaning.
11. Ensure mothers, fathers or guardians are aware of NOT taking the girls or boys to the bus or Casa Connor if they have at least two of the following signs and symptoms: Cough, fever or headache, accompanied by at least one of the following signs and symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat / burning
- Runny nose
- Red eyes
- Chest pain
This recommendation also applies to Pasitos de Luz staff.
12. Girls and boys with sick close relatives must stay at home for at least 14 days. For readmission, the parent or guardian must present the sick relative’s medical discharge. It is recommended and essential that girls and boys are not in contact with the sick family member.
13. If a girl, boy or member of staff working at Casa Connor does not attend, staff will investigate the reason.
14. Avoid going to confined areas or crowded places.
15. Maintain basic vaccination schedules for girls and boys with coverage equal to or greater than 90 percent.
16. Increase influenza vaccination coverage in girls, boys, workers and workers by 95% or more during the vaccination season.
17. Do not self-medicate, and if you have symptoms related to COVID-19, stay home and call 800 267 6247. Only if you have difficulty breathing, go to the health unit.
18. Thorough cleaning activities with disinfectant solutions must be performed throughout the Casa Connor centre on the same day a suspected case is identified (at the end of activities). Casa Connor may close for a period of time at any time if any cases are suspected to have been present.