COVID-19, Lockdown, And An Eventual Return To Daycare: Part II
Because CF patients are a high-risk health population, COVID-19 has made us even more precautionary than we were prior to the pandemic. We have taken the lock-down and masking mandates seriously, and as far as know, have been spared from any exposures to the virus. Margo’s daycare closed down due to COVID-19 in mid-March, and our jobs switched to 100% remote.
This time at home with Margo while balancing our two full-time jobs was hard. I always felt like I was not doing enough for myself, my job, and for Margo. However, we made the best of it by getting in lots of walks everyday, exploring local nature preserves, and establishing a schedule and a routine that helped our days flow. While we were disappointed to have to cancel our summer trips and we missed our friends and family, we felt safe in our little bubble and we made some wonderful memories at home.
The return to daycare
In late June, our county partially re-opened, including childcare facilities. We spoke to her daycare principal about their safety protocol and how they were planning to implement it. We emailed the guidelines to our CF clinic and the clinic director reviewed it and we spoke to a nurse by phone. They were supportive of sending Margo back, both given the safety protocol and the fact the daily COVID-19 numbers in our county were low.
COVID-19 daycare requirements
Here are a few of the new requirements:
- Kids over age 2 have to wear masks while indoors. There are natural breaks from wearing masks during snacks, lunch, and naptime, and whenever they play outside
- Frequent sanitization of toys, books, playground equipment, classroom furniture, doorknobs, etc.
- Smaller class sizes and social distancing inside
- There are no adults inside the building except for daycare staff. We drop off and pick up the kids outside. Temperature check, hand sanitization, and a health screening are conducted at drop-off every morning.
- We have to provide a fully disposable lunch three times a week. They provide morning and afternoon snacks and we supplement CF-friendly foods with all meals.
While they were very serious requirements, we also viewed them as a CF caregiver’s dream. Everyone was being cautious, additional sanitization measures were in place, and outdoor play was being prioritized.
Adjusting to daycare COVID-19 precautions
The biggest adjustments for Margo were the masks and social distancing from her friends. She had experienced wearing masks to her CF clinic and on airplanes, but they were usually short-lived. We talked to her before she returned about the importance of masks in keeping herself and others safe.
To our surprise, she and all of her classmates adjusted very well to masks and to staying a safe distance from her classmates. The school takes these precautions seriously and have made them part of their class rules, and for Margo, it’s not an issue.
Keeping an open mind
Sending Margo back to daycare in a global pandemic was not an easy decision to make. We frequently consulted our doctors and daycare staff and really deliberated on all of our options. In the end, we feel good about our decision. We believe she is in as safe of an environment as she could be, and she truly loves her school.
Within a couple of weeks of her being back, we noticed some positive changes which reflected the lessons, new routine, and the socialization she was experiencing again. We are still maintaining the mindset of "let's see how this goes and adjust accordingly,” and would instantly return to at-home learning if the need arises. So far, so good, and for that we are grateful.
Is your child with CF going to daycare during COVID-19? It's not an easy decision to make!
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