Triangle day care facilities exercise abundance of caution as more children return

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – More children are back in day care as more parents are going back to work. North Carolina health officials issued guidelines and requirements for childcare facilities. They will now report COVID-19 clusters in licensed day cares and schools.

The director of the Goddard School on Creedmoor Road in North Raleigh said the center has put numerous procedures in place to help keep children safe. Robin Fuller said it all starts at dropoff.

“There’s someone that does temperature checks. They have questions, as well, that they need to answer: symptoms that they could have had or family members have had,” she said.

The state has given extensive guidance to child care centers, issuing both safety requirements and recommendations.

“The new rules are very strict,” Fuller said.  

Teachers emphasize, even more than usual, the importance of good handwashing. They also seat children farther apart and minimize contact between groups of children.

“They go in and out from the classroom without crossing paths with other classrooms,” Fuller said.

In addition to the cleaning done every day, the center has also added additional sanitizing every weekend.

Fuller said the center hasn’t had any coronavirus cases. But, from now on, when a licensed child care center or school has a cluster of cases, defined as five or more linked cases, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services will make that information public. The state will release the name and type of facility, the county where it is located, and the number of cases and deaths among staff and children.

The information will be released twice a week.

“It’s in our communities and we are starting to see more spread in settings that involve our kids,” explained NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen. She emphasized that most cases of COVID-19 in children are mild and produce minor or no symptoms, but the state is monitoring a rare inflammatory syndrome linked with the virus in children.

“I think it’s important for families to know what’s going on,” Fuller said, adding that it’s also important to know how a center is responding. “It doesn’t mean centers can’t still be safe after something like that. There are cleaning guidelines we already have in place which really do keep families and children safe.”

Fuller said the staff will work directly with the health department if cases arise.

“We would follow their guidelines to a T. Whatever they advised us to do at that particular time, we would do,” she said.

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