The emergence of Omicron, the new coronavirus variant first detected in Botswana, means more uncertainty and changes to rules about wearing masks that could filter to your child care center.
But state and local governments have handled masking ordinances in vastly different ways, which is difficult for daycares and schools to navigate.
So whether you must comply with a government mandate, or you choose to change your center’s mask policy on your own, here are three things you should NOT do when sharing rule changes with the families you serve.
1. Don’t Spring Changes on Families or Staff
Give a specific date for when a change on your mask-wearing policy will go into effect, and make sure parents and staff have time to prepare.
Often, you don’t have the luxury of time. For instance, in New York City, the mayor is expanding the city’s mask mandate to include all childcare and early intervention program workers due to the Omicron variant.
So give as much notice as you can, even if it’s just a weekend before you implement a new rule.
2. Don’t Rely on One Method to Share Changes
When you make your announcement regarding mask rule changes, do it through a variety of channels. For example, you and your staff can tell parents in-person when they pick up their kids and can also post signs around your facility or send an email blast.
And be sure to tell parents why your rules are changing. In this case, you might link to a news story about the omicron variant. And if your local or state government has tightened its regulations, share that information as well.
By being clear and upfront, parents are more likely to understand why you’re making the change.
3. Don’t Expect Everyone to be Happy
Parents have strong feelings on masks, both those in favor of their children wearing them and those against.
If regulations are in place where you live, it’s pretty simple — you must follow the law. There’s no wiggle room and parents should realize that.
But if you are not obligated by law to require masks and choose not to do so, be prepared to explain to mask-supporting parents why you are not mandating them.
And vice versa, if you decide that wearing masks in your child care center will help keep staff and students safe — and no mandate is in place — be prepared for emails and phone calls from parents who don’t want their little ones wearing face coverings.
How Procare Can Help
You can communicate with parents about your mask rules, and other happenings at your center, through Procare’s Parent Engagement app.
And with Procare’s contactless check-in, families and your staff can use QR codes and/or GPS technology for a completely touch-free check-in and check-out process.
Parents can even check in from inside their cars if your center does curbside dropoffs. The simple process is quite similar to opening a digital restaurant menu — parents just open the app, select the QR scan button and scan the code.
Procare’s technology allows your teachers and other staff to sign in and sign out easily and quickly using a tablet at your center or their own phone. Timecards automatically are updated, which frees up your time spent on a mundane administrative task.
You can get rid of stacks of paper time sheets that need to be tallied by hand and manually entered into your system. This feature for staff sign-ins and sign-outs saves you time that you can spend elsewhere in your center!
Users of Procare Desktop can take advantage of Health Check Extra. This feature takes the ability to log child health checks throughout the day, something offered by each of Procare’s child care software solutions, to a new level — it can track staff health checks as well.
It’s a way for health screening questions to be imported for child care center employees, such as details including the staff member’s temperature or any symptoms they may be experiencing. Answers of a health questionnaire are imported directly into the software.
Request a free demo of Procare today to explore how our software can help you manage your center and keep your kiddos and staff safe!