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Afterschool Children Fine Gael Health Law Playpods Preschool School Society Virus

Early Learning & School Age Child Care Notes.

It should be rightly stated that from the start of this created document, it’s clear that people behind it, have our nations children’s interest at heart. How they turn that expressed care into methods of care that are reasonably useable, is the crux of the matter here.

The state notes also state that “…current evidence suggests that children seem generally less likely to catch the infection and are not more likely than adults to spread infection to other people. Children have rarely been the person who brought COVID-19 into a household when household spread has happened.

It’s good to see this acknowledged. As a parent it’s important to me. I do wish that Leo Varadkar and his FG mates would go before a camera and state to the nation the same acknowledgement. Their silence is deafening and it’s having a detrimental effect. I posted the below to my own Facebook page (HERE) previously:

The response I got was of big agreement. A lot of worried people out there and not just coming from parents. Meanwhile, in other countries, they are implementing their own practices that are considered similar to what’s now being proposed here in Ireland.

It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that many people, parents, child care owners and fellow workers are concerned about any demanded changes they are supposed to implement by government decree. The state response is contained in their newly released three page document to those involved in early learning establishments.

One section of the notes states: “There is no requirement to reduce capacity in a setting (total number of children). However, a service may need to reduce capacity in some rooms in order to comply with the maximum size of a ‘play-pod’ [size to be confirmed] and to prevent contact between ‘play-pods’.

The state released note gives zero instruction on how staff are supposed to elite select those that will be allowed in and those that will be told, “Sorry, you have to be excluded” – or words to that affect! That’s left to the workers to somehow figure out. They will be asked to be judge and jury over upset kids who had got already and traveled to their usual pre-school places and possible irate parents at then arriving, only to find out their children were not allowed in.

Staff just trying to do their best, could be put into awkward positions as they are expected to issue verdicts between parents, their children and state dictates. Not very fair on them? Would you want to do it?

As I said on Facebook, this all feels like the state imposing mental torture on the kids and more stress on parents – some who will have thought it was ok to drop off their children before going to an appointment or even work!

 

Feedback.

I have, amid the many that know me, friends locally and nationally that either own pre-school setups or work in them. They, like myself, have raised a number of points about what we consider to be FG and Zappone’s latest pre-school notions.

First of all, some of the stuff that has to be now more carried out, is for many going to be a logistical nightmare. It’s more safety and time pressure added to what was previously, a once normal work day. Staff will now have to do a serious amount of constant cleaning of even small things besides multiple washing of hands within any one/two hour periods. Some locations have multiple rooms which are smaller than each other. How the division and exclusion methods are supposed to be applicable, is not yet clear to those being supposedly advised by state health regulation overseers.

As one person involved with pre-school and after school care put it to me on another matter:

We have to trust the parents not to bring their child if they have a temperature. Our creche is saying that a temperature of 37.5 will mean the child cannot come in. But we have parents who lie about temperature and give their children Calpol before they bring them. So after the Calpol wears off, the temperature goes up.

Are the workers now supposed to measure the temperature of every child now appearing at their doors? What if they mistakenly think a child has a higher than normal temperature and parents get angry – or if they suspect a child is ill but cannot prove it? No answers from the state as of yet. The legal implications from all this and more, are varied and could prove to be costly. In logistic terms, some places just won’t have enough equipment or staff.

Are the kids now supposed to come with their own thermometers or is the service supposed to buy one for every child – then there is the cleaning of each one, every day, all while they watch and try interact with the children – while they try to keep constant clean themselves – while they also get their hands dirty by constant cleaning everything else repeatedly as many kids continue to touch things – and lets be honest, things they are not supposed to!

As for the playpods, how many people have tried to tell young minds that they cannot touch something or go near someone – and what has been the result as soon as their backs turned for even a second or while they were distracted by another child for moment? Tell a young child to stay in one spot, does anyone really expect all of them or many of them to do just that? Minders will face a constant battle just to keep one secluded, then another, then another then back to the first again then the second or third – and on it will go per pod.

  • A logistical nightmare?
  • More staff needed? 2 (if possible) required per pod?
  • Longer work hours?
  • More cleaning supplies needed?
  • Higher costs?

I’m open to be wrong but I can see some places eventually (or immediately) saying “It’s not financially worth all this stress/pressure and hassle“. In time, less available child pre/afterschool services? What will the knock-on effect from this too?

Again, open to be wrong but I feel someone in a government department needs to start re-thinking their proposed measures.

About JeffRudd

20 year barman. Re-educated as an I.T. professional, website creator, I.T teacher, digital media management & marketing professional. Studied accountancy, taxation, business management & law. Founder of UnitedPeople political party - click here. Previously the first National Chairman of Direct Democracy Ireland (DDI) & founder of the Louth branch of DDI. Author. Regular contributor to social media. TV & radio guest experiences. Appeared in the Oireachtas & Dublin Highcourts to defend the rights of citizens along with exposing many wrongs. Consistently seeks greater democracy & accountability from all elected levels of Ireland. Currently writing two books, non-fiction "Life Behind Bars" & "Better Tomorrows".

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