The Malta Independent 24 September 2020, Thursday

Personal toys banned, class sizes limited in Covid-19 rules for Kindergarten

Tuesday, 15 September 2020, 12:14 Last update: about 9 days ago

Children will not be allowed to take personal toys with them to Kindergarten while class sizes will be capped at 15 and 19 people for Kinder 1 and 2 respectively as part of the newly published Covid-19 rules for Kindergarten.

The rules, published by the Ministry for Health, stipulate several Covid-19 related mitigation measures in the daily operations of Kindergarten classes.

The number of children in the classroom should be the result of a calculation of a 1.5 metre distance between one child and another and a 2- meter distance from the Kindergarten Educator and the children according to the particular room size.

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Regardless of this though, maximum effort should be made for the number of children in each class not to exceed 15 for Kinder 1 and 19 for Kinder 2.

Educators shall wear a mask or visor at all times when in contact with children, while LSEs should also always wear a mask or visor.

The guidelines state that all toys and surfaces must be sanitised after each use with toilets and changing rooms cleaned at least three times a day.

Parents or guardians are also not allowed in the kindergarten, including in reception.

Meanwhile, children will not be allowed to take their own personal toys and any other non-essential items.  Students with disabilities and special needs who have toys or educational material specifically designed to stimulate them are exempt from this rule.

Much like their older counter-parts, the children will be placed in bubbles – which means that they will only interact with a specific group of children and educators.

In order to limit the contact between different bubbles, playground times should be staggered and groups should be kept separate for other activities such as art, music, and exercising.

At nap-time, children’s mats should be spaced out as much as possible, ideally two metres apart.

Meanwhile, parents who fall in the vulnerable category for medical reasons should discsuss the child’s attendance at the Kindergarten with their doctor and the school’s management in order to assess the level of risk of in-person attendance of the child.

“The decision to attend rests with the parents/guardians of the child”, the guidelines read.

Parents should also take the temperature of their children in the morning prior to sending them to Kindergarten, and if there are signs of illness, the child should not be taken to school.  This also applies if the parents are sick or have temperature.

Staff who feel or are sick meanwhile are not to report for work and should call 111 if they have any symptoms suggestive of Covid-19 in order to book a swab test. In that case, they should self-isolate and not attend school until the result of the test, and in the event of a negative result should only resume their duties when they are completely well.

Birthdays will also be diferent for students this year, with cakes not being allowed as sharing of food is discouraged. 

The full guidelines as published by the health authorities can be found here.

Photo: Stock

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