Wiesbaden child care center providing support through the COVID pandemic

Joan Engel cleans the sink in the infant room at the end of the day. All surfaces in the room are cleaned with soap and water and then sprayed with a sanitizing solution.

Throughout the COVID 19 lockdown here at U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, the child development centers have continued to provide needed support to our community of Soldiers and Civilians. The center on Clay Kaserne has 140 children because it is a School Age Center and Child Development Center combined and the center on Hainerberg Kaserne has 21 children.

Even though neither center is at full capacity, both the centers have placed safeguards in place that have ensured the children and staff are safe while at the centers.

The centers have been successfully working through COVID for more than a year and have instituted safeguards to ensure the safety of both children and staff members.

The center on Clay Kaserne practices social distancing, have instituted more cleaning requirements, wear masks, use Pods which are rooms with staff and children only in the same room, disinfects inside and outside consistently throughout opening hours and has stepped up handwashing procedures beyond normal levels.

The center also does not do family style dining as of yet, but serve the children their meals.

Susan Hutchings, facility director of Child and Youth Services, Child Development Center on Clay Kaserne, said parents are not allowed in the center.

“We screen each family at the door and ask COVID-specific questions, as well as taking the child’s temperature before they come into the building,” she said. All paperwork and payments are done outside.

Patricia Floyd, director of Child and Youth Services, Family and Morale Welfare and Recreation, Hainerberg Child Development said, “We have lost the majority of our families through PCS and other child care arrangements. In addition parents/customers are not permitted inside of the facility.”

At the Hainerberg center, Floyd said all employees in the facilities must wear face masks at all times to protect one another. They follow the 6 feet social distance and use hand sanitize to cleanse their hands before entering the facility.

Once inside of the facility, hands are washed with warm water and soap for 20 seconds. In all the classrooms there is a cleaning staff that does the cleaning inside and outside the classrooms.

Staff arrive 30 minutes before the doors open to ensure that all classrooms are cleaned, organized and ready to go. After closing, the staff have 30 minutes to clean and sanitize their classrooms for the next day.

The Management Team does daily laundry for the classrooms and washing and drying all staff aprons (uniforms) to make sure they are clean and ready for the next business day.

During meal times, only one staff prepares all of the children’s plates to decrease cross contamination while wearing gloves on both hands.

Hutchings said they will continue to provide a safe environment when the center opens to full capacity.

Each room at the CDC has a staff member who is designated as the cleaning person for that room. All the surfaces that the children or staff member touch are cleaned with soap and water and then with a sanitizing solution.

Although the cleaning is done throughout the day, the surfaces must be cleaned at a minimum of three times during the day. The carpets are disinfected after the children leave for the day.

“We clean all the toys too,” Ray Engel, the assistant director of the CDC said. “The toys are cleaned and sanitized throughout the day and in the evenings after the children leave.”

“We have always had a system in place to provide a clean and safe environment. We will continue to keep our cleaning standards and go above and beyond the normal cleaning standards,” Hutchings said.