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C.O. day care, early child care centers to incorporate new safety practices

BEND, Ore., (KTVZ)-- There are, as you'd expect, many changes to come for Oregon's day care and early child care education centers, due to new safety regulations to protect staff and children from COVID-19.

Under the draft rules announced Thursday, hindergartners and older youngsters will now be required to wear masks -- and if you're a parent dropping your child off at one of these facilities, you'll have to say your goodbyes at the door.

The Wonder Years Preschool on Northeast Studio Road in Bend has 20 children from ages 2 to 6 years old, less than half of its usual occupancy.

Michelle Harris-Waldow, the director and owner of the center, said Friday that some of her students have already started wearing masks and faculty wears them throughout the day.

"A lot of the kids are used to seeing people in masks," Harris-Waldow said. "They're out in the community and are used to seeing them, so it's not strange, now that we are almost four months into this. But us all knowing why we are wearing masks vs. them understanding, it's a really hard concept for them."

The Cottage Daycare off of Northwest Williamson Boulevard in Bend, like The Wonder Years,  has parents bringing in masks, and most of the children are excited to wear them.

While owner Sue Stendahl told NewsChannel 21 it helps her young ones keep their hands and toys out of their mouths and face, Harris-Waldow shared that some of the children at her preschool have texture sensitivity and don't like having masks on their face.

In addition to masks, centers will now incorporate tracing by recording the departure and arrival of each child and who drops them off,  while also conducting temperature and health checks.

The Wonder Years Preschool normally signs students in and out , but Harris-Waldo says now they'll make modifications to have additional columns for the health checks.

Centers that normally take children on field trips are now only permitted to do them outdoors, while no longer providing transportation.

Communal platters have been eliminated during meal and snack times, and hand-washing and building sanitation practices will need to include COVID-19 disinfecting solutions.

"With hand-washing, it was always something that was important," Harris- Waldow said. "But now we're actually getting them to sing the songs with them.

"Understanding how long you need to wash and its your thumbs, the backs of your hands, and in between your fingers, the tips of your fingers. And why it is important to wash before you eat, before you color and after you color, and when you come back inside."

Cottage Day Care and The Wonder Years Preschool told me that parents are limited to front door or lobby drop-offs only, they've both limited the items children can bring  from home.

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Arielle Brumfield

Arielle Brumfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Arielle here.


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