Updated June 30th 2021
As of June 20th 2021 Bermuda moved into Phase 4.
There is no curfew and the below guidance must be followed.
COVID-19 is a disease caused by a novel coronavirus that can result in acute respiratory illness.
In general, these viruses are spread when a sick person coughs or sneezes. It may also be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. The majority of people with COVID-19 develop a mild illness, which may include fever, cough, or shortness of breath. Children may have milder or asymptomatic infections of COVID-19, and the virus may still be transmitted to other people.
For more general information about COVID-19, visit https://www.gov.bm/coronavirus
These Directions are for Licenced Day Care Centres, and Registered Day Care Providers. It includes advice on how to promote good public health and manage the spread of COVID-19.
Parent Pick up/Drop off
- Pick-up and drop offs should be conducted outside of the facility or home care setting
- Inform parents of allocated drop off and collection times along with the process for parking
- Ensure parents are adhering to distancing guidelines while cueing using markers
- Parents and caregivers should be wearing cloth face coverings/masks. Video resource
- Caregivers should use hand sanitizer between collection of children
- Children should change to indoor shoes before entering the classroom/home setting. These shoes should remain at school/home setting
- To reduce the risk of contamination, lunch boxes/backpacks should be non-porous and easy to clean
- Upon arrival, children should be assisted with hand washing using stations or bathrooms
- Daily sign in logs should be completed by the caregiver
- Consider accommodations for inclement weather
Children and caregivers may only re-enter the programme if they are healthy and are not under public health instructions to be quarantined or self-isolated.
- Caregivers must be advised of the risk factors before they return to work
- Seniors and/or persons with chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease, diabetes, or fragility who are at higher risk for illness from COVID-19 disease should receive medical clearance from their doctor
- Caregivers, and parents should be aware of signs or symptoms of COVID-19 and conduct daily health checks
- Temperatures of caregivers and children may be taken and recorded, but this is no longer mandatory due to the small amount of COVID-19 cases presently in the community. However:
- Parents may continue to be instructed to monitor children’s temperature at home.
- If temperatures are monitored by caregivers they should be measured by a digital or no-contact thermometer and be recorded on a daily temperature log.
- Digital thermometers should be placed under the child’s/caregiver's armpit only and sanitized between use.
*Please note that if there is another increase in COVID-19 cases temperature taking and recording may again become a mandatory requirement.
- Caregivers should ask parents about symptoms displayed by the child. This includes fever (equal or greater than 100.4F or 38C), cough, muscle aches, difficulty breathing, fatigue, vomiting, sore throat, headache, diarrhea, and sudden loss of smell and taste
- Caregivers or children with the above signs or symptoms should remain home and be assessed by a healthcare provider for COVID-19. They can return with a medical certificate
- Caregivers should be alert and monitor behavioural changes, children don’t always display outward signs of illness. Withdrawn or irritable behaviours should be communicated to parents
- Caregivers should not be asked to administer fever reducing medications. This is a clear sign that a child should not be in school
- Post signage to serve as reminders for caregivers in visible areas and, communicate the conditions for entry with parents
- Restrict all non-essential visitors to the facility or home care setting. Essential visitors include emergency services, DOH monitoring, urgent utilities or maintenance work
Child to Staff Ratios
Supervision levels remain a priority. Day Care Centres will use the standard ratios and space requirements as outlined in the Day Care Centre Regulations 1999.
- Excess furniture may be removed to provide additional space
- Use area dividers and floor markings to define larger spaces
- Identify vetted substitutes/relief staff to provide coverage as needed
- Day Care Providers will continue with the 1:3 ratio
- Provide parents with copies of updated sick policies
- Update emergency contact lists and speak with parents about securing alternative care in the event the child is sick and unable to attend school, or there is an emergency which requires temporary closure
- Caregivers who become ill while at the facility should be sent home immediately and directed to seek medical consultation
- Provide an isolation room to accommodate sick children and contact parents for pick up
- Restrict visitors from entering the facility or home care setting
- Post this guidance in a visible location
- Establish protocols for sick staff, document and distribute expectations
- Restrict extracurricular activities in your facility (e.g., Karate, Gymnastics, Dance, Music)
- Consider remote platforms for the continuation of extracurricular classes
- Confirm with Allied Health Therapist how service delivery will be modified
Supplies and Equipment
- Ensure adequate supplies
- Supplies should also be accessible to caregivers in designated areas (e.g., isolation room)
Persons at Increased Risk for Serious Complications of COVID-19
Some individuals may be at higher risk for serious complications following infection of COVID-19. This includes individuals vulnerable to infection, seniors, and women who are pregnant and/or breastfeeding.
Extremely vulnerable persons include caregivers, children, or parents who have underlying health conditions, compromised immune systems, or respiratory conditions. Such individuals should limit face to face contact. It’s important that all individuals at increased risk take precautions to reduce their risk of getting sick. They should not be encouraged to provide child care or visit the facility or home care setting.
Please review all guidance for persons at risk.
• Minimize time spent queuing/standing in lines.
• Caregivers should implement practical measures to safely support children’s play within their care groups
• Weather permitting, plan more outdoor learning activities
• Where feasible, facilities can modify their schedules by providing half-day programs,splitting children into two groups to attend morning or afternoon sessions
• Facilities can choose alternating days such as: Monday/Wednesday/half-day Fridays (Group 1) and Tuesday/Thursday/half-day Friday (Group 2)
• It is best for cohort children and teachers to remain the same
• In the absence of requisite caregivers, masks must be worn, smocks changed, and enhanced hand hygiene and cleaning protocols must be used
• Settings with open floor plans should use room dividers to establish clearly defined spaces
• Child to staff ratios and the distancing will determine the number of care groups allowed
• Consider creative ways to host large group activities (e.g., Zoom PTA meetings). Alternatively, postpone or cancel facility events (e.g., performances or graduation ceremonies) where the appropriate distance between persons cannot be maintained
• Facilities with elevators are to limit usage to no more than two adults at a time
Minimizing risk of spreading germs during activities
- Face coverings/masks are NOT recommended for young children and should NOT be worn by children under 2 years of age.
Children in day care facilities are not required to wear masks. Mask wearing is for school aged children only.
According to the World Health Organisation: “Children aged 5 years and under should not be required to wear masks. This is based on the safety and overall interest of the child and the capacity to appropriately use a mask with minimal assistance.” (ref. WHO 21 Aug. 2020)
- Reinforce "no sharing" practices of food, water bottles, or other personal items and belongings
- Suspend group sensory play activities (e.g., water table, sand boxes)
- Suspend activities that permit the mixing of children from different care groups
- Brief transitions where children may be walking through a corridor are low risk
- Increase frequency of hand washing and cleaning protocols between use of shared toys within groups
- Stagger mealtimes and bathroom breaks, outdoor play, and use of indoor activity spaces
- Open windows to allow better circulation of air
- Family style meals, pizza parties, or group snacks are acceptable when there is one designated server
- Caregivers and children should wear long hair tied back and caregivers may wear smocks over their clothing
- Clothing that becomes contaminated with saliva, nasal discharge, and spit up should be changed
- Place any contaminated clothing in a plastic bag until it can be laundered
- Wash hands after holding a child and also wash any bare skin the child may have touched (e.g., the neck, face, or arms)
- Soft toys that cannot be wiped down regularly are known sources of infection. Temporarily remove stuffed animals, pillows, area rugs
- Rotate the toys for adequate cleaning and sanitation
- Substitutes or floaters may be used to relieve caregivers; enhanced hand hygiene protocols, masks, and smocks must be used
- Caregivers should wear cloth face coverings/masks as tolerated, and when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
Social Emotional Well-being
• Provide a selection of children’s books about emotions, feelings, transitions, and challenging behaviours
• Provide a safe space with access to a special box of calming toys/activities (e.g. rainsticks, snow globe, books about feelings)
• Recognize that “All Behaviour is Communication”
• Seek to understand the underlying cause/triggers of the behaviours to provide an appropriate response
• Focus on community helpers, highlighting Nurses, Doctors, Grocers, Police
• Provide information in an honest and age-appropriate manner
Provide remote options for homebound children to stay connected, activities and resources may be found at Hungry Little Minds and Tiny Happy People
Additional guidance available here Helping Children Cope and Five Ways To Help Children Heal
Children take their cues from their adult caregivers; Please review the Mental Health Guidance
- Use of mini vans, or mini buses to transport children for pick up/drop off services and/or field trips should not be provided unless distancing guidelines can be maintained.
- Use increased trips to transport smaller groups ensuring the appropriate supervision at the starting point, as well as at the drop-off point, until all children have safely arrived
- Identify interesting sites within walking distance and plan related learning activities
- Caregivers and children must wash hands with soap and water upon entering the facility (including returning from outdoor play), before and after meals, and after bathroom breaks for at least 20 seconds. Sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat or Happy Birthday Song twice
- Provide additional hand sanitizer stations (e.g., wall mounted hand sanitizer dispensers) in supervised areas
- Children are more sensitive to hand sanitizer, soap and water is best
- Cover your cough. Sneeze into sleeve or a tissue, dispose and wash hands
- Avoid touching your face, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Reusable hand towels are not advised
- Proper glove use requires washing hands before and after, see techniques for safe removal
Environmental Cleaning, Disinfection, and Disposal
In preparation for the return of children, facilities and home care settings should clean and sanitize the facility and materials using approved cleaning products or a professional cleaning company.
- Increase cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (FTS) to include toys, counters, tables, desks, chairs, railings, light switches, door knobs, cabinet and closet handles
- Dirty surfaces should be cleaned with detergent, or soap and water prior to disinfection
- Post a visible cleaning schedule to communicate cleaning intervals for bathrooms, FTS (frequently touched surfaces such as: changing tables, potties, toys, phones, keyboards, counters, tables, desks, chairs, railings, light switches, door knobs, drawer, cabinet and closet handles) to be included, and who is responsible
- When diapering a child wear gloves and wash hands, secure and dispose of trash daily
- All toys and surfaces are to be cleaned between use throughout the day and disinfected daily if soiled
- Mats and cots should be sanitized at the end of the day before being stored
- Provide lined, preferably covered and foot operated waste receptacles for safe disposal of waste.
- Products used for sanitizing or disinfecting should be fragrance-free, and EPA registered
- Follow cleaning guidelines for facilities with no known or suspected cases
Isolation Room Protocols
Ensure your isolation room is equipped to accommodate children needing to be separated and under supervision until a parent collects them. Clean and disinfect the area immediately after the child with symptoms has been sent home. Gloves, and masks should be available for use in this space. Please refer to the guidance for wearing a face mask.
Outbreak Response Plan
Caregivers are responsible for creating an Outbreak Response Plan, to be used in combination with the Guidance for Infection Control for Nurseries and Other Childcare Settings.
Confirmed Cases of Covid-19
In the event of a confirmed case of the virus in your facility or home setting, please immediately notify the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (ESU) as well as the Child Care Regulation Programme. At that time, you will be advised of next steps for your programme. Please refer to cleaning and disinfecting with known or suspected cases.
This situation continues to evolve, and as such any updates will be communicated once new information becomes available. Please be mindful that the recommendations will not supersede any of the existing health and safety standards outlined in the Day Care Centre Regulations, 1999; the Child Care Standards 2018; or the recently legislated COVID-19 laws.
The Child Care Regulation Programme understands that you play a vital role in the island’s response to this virus and we thank you for your cooperation and continued efforts adhere to these guidelines.