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What requirements must ECD centers meet before reopening?

These are the requirements to be met by early childhood development programmes and partial care facilities to ensure the safety of staff and learners during lockdown level three.

Answer: 

These are the requirements to be met by early childhood development programmes and partial care facilities to ensure the safety of staff and learners during lockdown level three.

This applies only to:

Programmes and facilities that were already operational when the State of Disaster was declared, including:

  • mobile programmes
  • playgroups
  • childminder/day mother services
  • parental support programmes
  • after-school services, and
  • toy libraries.

NOTE: Only children who were already attending a programme or facility ‘immediately prior to’ its closure under lockdown may return.

Programmes and facilities operational when the State of Disaster was declared and intending to reopen should meet the following requirements:

  • Be registered or conditionally registered as required by the 2005 Children’s Act, or have applied to register,
  • be in receipt of a registration enforcement notice (proof of which should be provided to the provincial Department of Social Development), or
  • be required to register and, not having done so or applied to do so, undertake in writing to be registered within six months of reopening.

These requirements, however, do not apply to:

  • Grade R and pre-Grade R programmes and classes provided by government or independent schools, or
  • The aftercare facilities provided by those schools for children attending their Grade R and pre-Grade R classes, or to
  • Education support centres falling under the 1996 South African Schools Act.

Early childhood development programmes and partial care facilities intending to reopen are required to adhere to the following rules:

  • comply with prescribed minimum health, safety and social distancing measures and departmental operating procedures.
  • complete the declaration form provided
  • display it publicly
  • develop a workplace plan for curbing the spread of Covid-19
  • complete the self-assessment form provided, and
  • in the case of unregistered programmes, prove that they have participated in the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s ‘Vangasali’ registration

Conditions to be met when returning a child to a programme or facility to which the new directive applies to include:

  • several affecting who should accompany the child
  • daily screening
  • underlying health conditions, and
  • access to information on the Covid-19 infection prevention measures in place.

The directive also deals with:

  • the hygiene, disinfecting and cleaning measures to be taken and protocols observed
  • procedures to be followed when a member of staff, child or person accompanying a child displays Covid-19 symptoms
  • personal protective equipment requirements
  • permits and certificates for the movement of children and staff between metropolitan areas, districts and provinces, and
  • record-keeping for the duration of the State of Disaster.

 Important

  • The return of a child to an early childhood development programme or partial care facility is voluntary.
  • Outings, excursions, extramural activities, open days and activities involving people who are not staff members are prohibited.

Read also Will schools reopen in 2020?

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