PIERRE, S.D. (KCAU) – The South Dakota Department of Social Services (DSS) is asking childcare providers to take steps to ensure that the health and safety of children, families, and providers remain the top priorities in the upcoming days and weeks.
“Childcare facilities are a vital link to supporting working families. It is crucial that this system be prepared to handle the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic situation so families, especially medical and emergency personnel, can continue working while their children are cared for and kept safe. I am asking my Department of Social Services to work closely with childcare providers across the state to institute commonsense practices to assist families in need, while also safeguarding the health of all South Dakotans.”For South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem
The DSS has told all licensed and registered daycare facilities of the CDC-recommended steps for cleaning and disinfection.
This is to further stress the need to employ mitigation strategies that include:
- Implementing commonsense practices for preventing disease spread such as covering coughs, staying home when sick, and enhancing already required hand washing and sanitizing practices.
- Limiting entry into the facility or home by putting into practice child drop off at the front door.
- Assessing potential risks with staff and parents from travel to affected areas.
- Ensuring that employees and children are not admitted when ill. Those showing signs of illness should be sent home and advised to call their primary healthcare provider for further screening and testing, if necessary.
- Reducing, postponing or canceling events and gatherings, especially those involving large groups or exposure to the public.
- Using spring break or temporary closures while children are away to deep clean and disinfect the facilities, especially surfaces and items in high-touch areas. The CDC provides guidance regarding cleaning and disinfection at cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/cleaning-disinfection
- Implementing regular deep-clean practices in addition to daily cleaning
- Coordinating with DSS licensing specialists, local public health officials and emergency management.
“By remaining vigilant and following reasonable protocols, we can help slow the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. We trust that parents and our childcare partners will make decisions for South Dakota families using common sense and with safety and security in mind,” said Laurie Gill, DSS cabinet secretary.
The DDS is asking childcare providers to be flexible with their staff who are ill or caring for sick family members.
They also recommend contingency planning for staff shortages in order to meet staff-to-child ratios.
DDS is asking providers to “work with the parents to identify children with special health conditions that place them at higher risk and take appropriate precautions.”
South Dakota is not currently experiencing community spread of the coronavirus and the positive cases in the state are travel related.
The DDS said in the event of community spread of COVID-19 happening, they’re asking childcare providers in the affected counties to heighten their mitigation procedures.
For more information on the childcare guidelines, visit DDS’s website or call 800 -227-3020.
For questions and information about COVID-19, visit the South Dakota Department of Health’s website or call 800-997-2880.