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Childcare providers continue to support Hill families using special guidelines

  • Published
  • By Richard W. Essary
  • 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- Service members are critical to carrying out the Air Force mission, which is why the Child Development Center and School Age Care program at Hill Air Force Base have continued to stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CDC and School Age Care program at the Youth Center are providing weekly care for children of personnel deemed missions-essential, which is generally tailored to their work schedules.

“This allows families to keep their children home as much as possible, to reduce the risk of exposure to and the spread of the coronavirus,” said Janet Seachris, Child and Youth Services flight chief.

Numerous precautions are in place at the facilities to prevent the potential spread of any illness and to ease the minds of parents who use the base’s childcare programs.

A screening process, set up nearby the center, was created weeks ago as an extra measure for all parents, children, staff, and designated visitors accessing any of the CDC and School Age Care program facilities.

Public health professionals ask the following questions:

• Do you have any of the following symptoms to include: fever of 100.4 or greater, cough, or shortness of breath?
• Have you been in contact with anyone who has recently been diagnosed with the coronavirus?
• Have you traveled in the last 14 days, and if so, where?

If answers to all questions are “no,” the temperature of each individual in the vehicle is taken and a special wristband is given to each person. The wristbands are needed to access the program facilities.

The drive-thru screening line is open 5:30-8:45 a.m. Monday through Friday. Outside of those hours of operation, the Hill AFB Military Treatment Facility is open for screenings from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

In addition to screening, an enhanced sanitation process is also in place at the CDC and Youth Center facilities.

“We have outstanding contract custodial support,” Seachris said. “Our programs have highly regulated cleaning standards under normal conditions, and the caregiving staff have been consistently and continuously cleaning and sanitizing above and beyond those measures.”

Other measures implemented include the temporary closure of playgrounds, although children are still provided outdoor time with physical distancing for walks and wagon rides.

In addition, a mass-notification text service that sends important COVID-19 notifications and updates to parents of enrolled children was created, an adjustment to the illness exclusion policy was put into place, “family-style” dining was suspended, the use of face masks or face coverings has been highly encouraged for all adults, and long-sleeved shirts were procured for caregivers to protect their skin from child secretions and droplets.

Seachris said she is thankful for the base’s mission essential personnel and their families for their “ongoing patience and support” during these “unprecedented times.”

“We look forward to the time when we return to more normal operations within child youth programs and can eventually welcome back those enrolled families that have not been in attendance,” she said.