Reopening of nurseries: how will they accommodate babies?

Réouverture des crèches : comment vont-elles accueillir les bébés ?

To respect the rules of social distancing, the crèches will certainly not be able to accommodate all children. We take stock with Elsa Hervy, general delegate of the French Federation of Nursery Companies, on the measures that should be implemented.

[Mise à jour du 23 avril à 12h22]. This Tuesday, Jean-Michel Blanquer unveiled a progressive calendar to prepare for back to school, for students from kindergarten to high school. The start of the school year will therefore take place over three weeks, between Monday 11 and May 25. But these dates do not concern the cribs, and the parents wonder about their reopening date. For Elsa Hervy, general delegate of the French Federation of Nursery Companies, it is completely normal that Jean-Michel Blanquer does not mention the return to the nursery “since they depend on the Ministry of Health and Solidarity”. Pending more specific responses from the government, the Association of Mayors of France delivers its recommendations for a safe return to school for young and old.

Emmanuel Macron said in his speech on April 13 that crèches, schools, colleges and high schools would gradually open from May 11. “The Ministry of Health announced that it would give recommendations in the coming weeks, and Edouard Philippe must unveil his deconfinement plan within 15 days“reminds Elsa Hervy. We must therefore base ourselves on the dates announced by the President of the Republic, namely” from Monday, May 11 “, but a reopening of the crèches must be done in certain ways.

Wear masks. “When the nurseries reopen, we will stick to what is done in hospital nurseries“Elsa specifies. For example, early childhood professionals wear masks which they remove when they are more than a meter away from the child so that the child can see their face.” However, we note that babies are not “terrified” in the presence of an adult who wears a mask and that after a period of adaptation, the children do it perfectly “.

Rules for dropping off your child. To limit the risk of the virus spreading, parents will no longer enter reception areas. “Instead, we can make a reception on the ground, that is to say that the father or the mother deposits his child and that an early childhood professional would then pick him up“.

Daily cleaning of the premises. The premises must be cleaned daily and more complete disinfection must be carried out in the event of Covid-19. “We will wash everything every day and we even ask for two sets of toys, to allow the Monday games to be washed on Tuesday. They would then be put back into service on Wednesday and so on to alternate every other day “. In addition, the fabrics must be washed at 60 ° C and the wooden toys will be replaced by plastic toys.

Activities. In this epidemic period, the recommendations are more stringent with toddlers: ban on gathering times, or joint activities with babies so that children do not cross paths. “We could also suggest to the section ways to make a slide, and the next day, it would be the turn of the older section, with disinfection in the meantime”.

Less than 10 babies? Since the beginning of the Covid-19 epidemic, healthcare workers have had the possibility of having their children looked after in schools or in crèches. The government has specified that the crèches cannot accommodate more than 10 children in order to comply as best as possible with the rules of social distancing. “In a crèche which has 40 places with an activity room, a dormitory, a bedroom … We will instead welcome only 30 children, who will be divided into different sections to create small groups“says Elsa Hervy. accommodation capacity, “we are waiting for a more precise answer for the crèches, since the schools accept groups of up to 15 pupils, we do not know if we stay at a maximum of 10 or if we will be able to accommodate more children“she specifies.

And in kindergartens?

For Isabelle, Atsem and founder of the Atsem National collective, it is almost impossible to respect social distancing with toddlers. In nursery school, for example, children are often not clean:“we change them regularly, because sometimes there are small accidents” says the early childhood specialist. The promiscuity is therefore great: “in addition to pedagogical and educational aid, children’s hygiene is essential. We help them dress, take off their shoes, blow their noses … “

The Association of Mayors of France is demanding more specific health instructions from the government. In a press release dated April 21, the AMF recommends: regular screening of all nursery professionals in permanent contact with toddlers, the social distancing especially for parents who drop their children off at the crèche, setting up a Covid-19 Symptom Emergency Plan in a baby or an adult as well as details concerning the practical arrangements for preparation and organization of meals. Regarding naps, “strict instructions must be applied to organize nap times, both in crèche, in nursery school, and in leisure accommodation: cleaning of equipment, social distancing, health instructions, number of children by dormitory… “specifies the press release. Finally, the mayors of France also believe that the premises should be fitted out and that parents should have the choice to keep their children at home if they object to a back to the nursery.

1 – Reception capacity

Awaiting clear response from government to find out how many children we can accommodate in nurseries. We are especially worried about not having enough places depending on the number that will be announced and having to choose the 10 children who will be accepted and those who will not be able to be accommodated. It is up to the government to specify these selection criteria “, says Elsa Hervy.

2 – Wearing a mask

Again, the French Federation of Nursery Companies awaits specific recommendations on masks. “Will early childhood professionals have to wear surgical masks or cloth masks? Is it the state that will provide the masks or is it our responsibility? In this case, we must organize ourselves, knowing that the deadlines for supply currently varies between two to three weeks, we may not be ready for May 11“says Elsa Hervy.

3 – Early childhood professionals

Finally, if there is not enough room for all the children in the nurseries, “We must be able to guarantee the crèche staff the possibility of looking after their own children, since they are essential, and must be able to come to work”.

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