Organisations in the childcare and education sectors have drawn up a long-term plan to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in day care, out-of-school care (bso), and childcare centres (in Dutch) in case of future outbreaks.
In this long-term strategy 4 scenarios have been developed. Each scenario includes the measures from the previous, lighter scenario as well.
Scenario 1: Childcare is open without measures (verkouden scenario)
In this scenario (verkouden) the coronavirus behaves like the common cold. Patients experience symptoms, but the coronavirus does not cause mass hospitalisation. Your facility can be open without protective measures. Standard hygiene measures apply. You should follow the National Institute for Public Health and the Environments (RIVM) hygiene guidelines for day care, kindergartens, and out-of-school care (in Dutch).
As the proprietor you should use scenario 1 to prepare for the worse scenarios 2, 3, or 4.
Scenario 2: Childcare is open with basic measures (Griep+ scenario)
In this scenario (Griep+) the coronavirus has a more serious, flu-like effect on patients. This causes a heavy burden on the healthcare sector. Your facility may remain open, but must follow the basic corona measures:
- wash your hands regularly
- do not shake hands
- cough and sneeze into your elbow
- ensure good ventilation with fresh air
- stay home and perform a covid (self)test if you experience any symptoms
You must pay extra attention to vulnerable children and staff, and ensure the mental well-being of all children and childcare professionals.
You can take optional preventive measures, such as:
- childcare professionals with symptoms should get a (self)test
- 1 parent at a time drops off and picks up their child(ren).
- let children play outside if possible
Scenario 3: Childcare is open with extra measures (continue strijd scenario)
In this scenario (continue strijd) there is a continuous battle against a new coronavirus variant which is more contagious. Affected persons experience a heavier illness or are less immune to the virus. There is a (temporary) risk of overloading the healthcare sector capacity. Your facility may remain open, but you must follow these rules:
- the basic corona measures from scenario 2
- adults keep 1.5 metres distance
You take the following preventive measures:
- childcare professionals perform (self-)tests according to the RIVM guidelines
- you draw up a plan in case of an outbreak of the coronavirus in your childcare location
- parents must wear a facemask when droping-off and picking-up their children
- parents get a (self)test or have someone else pick up their child(ren) if they have symptoms
- children of 4 years and up stay at home if they have symptoms of the common cold or get (self)tested
- if there is self-test advice for primary schools, children from groups 6, 7, and 8 must get (self)tested before they attend out-of-school care during the holidays
You should also take measures to restrict contact:
- organise online meetings instead of face-to-face
- keep the handing over of children as short as possible
- establish (marked) walking routes for your location.
Scenario 4: Childcare is open in bubbles (worst case scenario, emergency plan)
In this scenario (worst case) a new variant of the coronavirus emerges with a great risk at high mortality rates. Your facility can remain open in bubbles insofar as possible. Children must stay within their own group as much as possible, and should be grouped with other children from the same schools or class.
You must comply with the following rules:
- all the rules from scenarios 2 and 3
- childcare professionals from at-risk groups perform different tasks (in consultation)
- limit the amount of outside staff and other external parties to your location as much as possible
- limit the staff to only those necessary for the primary work in the location
- parents drop off and pick up their children in the schoolyard/outside when picking up or dropping off their children
- organise childcare in bubbles or cohorts as much as possible
- limit contact between groups as much as possible
Not all of the measures in each scenario apply for childminders. The protocol for Childcare & Covid-19 will be developed further and rules for childminders will be specified in time. Which measures will apply to childminders depends on if any (new) virus variant emerges and how the outbreak develops.