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Frequently asked questions

Knowledge/Keeping up to date

Where can the latest versions of the Reopening Guidelines and support documentation be found?


Each entity maintains a copy of their most up to date versions of the Guidelines and support documentation. They will also provide a dated list of any addendums that are made in the light of new regulations or guidance being received through official channels. These addendums will be shared will all the relevant nurseries





Training

Is it mandatory for principals to attend the training provided by the ECA?


Yes, it is mandatory that all principals to attend the training. It is recommended that the deputy manager also familiarize themselves with this training by accessing the recorded versions of these sessions.




How can a nursery principal/ manager or staff member register to access the recorded mandatory reopening training?


Nursey staff should use one of the following links: https://www.kinderly.ae/booking or https://eca.gov.ae/ar-ae/eca





Once joining the Webinar training session can we leave and re-enter if we need to attend to urgent business?


Once participants have joined a session it is not possible to exit the Zoom call and rejoin a few moments later. In addition, participants who arrive late to the start of the Zoom session will not be permitted to enter the session and will need to rebook on an alternate date or watch the recorded session once these are made available on the Kinderly website.(www.kinderly.ae/takween).





Process

Can nursery principals/ managers upload documents immediately?


After attending all 3 sessions of the training, the principal/manager from MOE and ADEK licensed nurseries can upload documents to the kinderly website. (www.kinderly.ae/moe) or (www.kinderly.ae/adek) Licensing Authorities will gain access to all uploaded documentation for their licensed nurseries through this platform. Reopening plans should not be sent directly to ADEK or MOE Licensing Authorities.

Nurseries licensed by SPEA should follow procedures as per SPEA guidance.




What are the actual steps in the reopening process? Could a visual representation of the process be developed to help nursery managers understand the next steps and the anticipated timelines?


An infographic will be released to help nursery principals and staff to better understand the various steps in the process. kinderly.ae/takween The timelines are yet to be confirmed by the Licensing Authorities.




What are the required documents needed for the reopening plan? Where do we upload the documents?


What to upload and where to upload the documents required for the submission of the reopening operational plan can be found on the following link: https://www.kinderly.ae/takween




How do new nurseries open during this time?


New nurseries will have to comply with the Licensing Authority’s regulations for obtaining an Education License. Following completion of that process and gaining approval licensed nurseries will then be expected to complete the ‘reopening plan’ process as per their Licensing Authorities expectations. This process is for all nurseries and expectations are aligned with the NCEMA Protocols and Procedures.




If a nursery decides to delay opening until January, can Licensing Authorities allow the nursery to renew the medical contract by December when the trade license renewal is due?


It is up to individual nurseries to decide whether they are ready to reopen or not. It is their choice to delay opening. Licensing Authorities cannot answer questions about delaying the renewal of medical contracts on behalf of other entities or contractors. It is essential that nurseries meet the licensing requirements for all entities prior to applying to reopen.





Licensing

Which regulations are mandatory? The procedures and protocols issued by NCEMA and/or the guidelines issued by the Licensing Authorities?


All NCEMA protocols and procedures are mandatory. The additional guidelines issued by the relevant Licensing Authorities clearly state which guideline nurseries ‘must’ comply with.




Will nurseries by considered non-compliant if they meet NCEMA expectations but not those of the Licensing Authority?


The Licensing Authority’s guidelines provide additional guidance on how to successfully implement the NCEMA protocols and procedures. All Local Authority guidelines are underpinned by the NCEMA protocols and procedures and the guidelines are therefore complementary. The guidelines do not replace any of the Federally approved protocols or procedures.




Which entity will issue the NOC needed by nurseries to reopen?


The relevant Licensing Authorities maintain responsibility and accountability for the licensing of all nurseries under their jurisdiction so they will issue the NOC. ECA are working in partnership with all Licensing Authorities to support the sharing of all information, delivery of training and the collection and tracking of all submitted reopening plans.




Do Government entity nurseries also have to be compliant with NCEMA protocols and procedures?


All licensed nurseries are expected to be compliant with the NCEMA protocols and procedures and are expected to adhere to their Licensing Authority’s guidelines in order to reopen. They are all expected to maintain high levels of compliance in order to remain open.




Will the nursery be allowed to open if the nursery license has expired and the reopening date is within the one -month grace period of nursery license expiry date?


Nurseries should have a valid license when reopening and they must try to renew the license before expiry date. Nurseries must not operate with an expired license. If a nursery has an extenuating circumstance or is having difficulty renewing their license, they should immediately contact their Licensing Authority so that actions can be taken to achieve renewal of their license.





Closure

NCEMA protocols and procedures make reference to the nursery being closed permanently if there is more than one reported COVID-19 case. Does this mean that the nursery will cease to operate, and the nursery’s license will be revoked?


According to the NCEMA protocols and procedures in the case of more than one COVID-19 case being reported within the nursery community the nursery principal will be asked to close the nursery and work in partnership with the relevant government authorities and entities to address the issues. The actions taken and progress made towards reopening will be under the control of the Ministry of Health and Prevention, including negative COVID-19 tests for all adults and children. During this time the nursery will remain closed, but the license remains valid. The licensing of nurseries remains the responsibility of the relevant Licensing Authority.





Cleaning

Can a team of cleaners be used to clean all classrooms when there are no children on site?


If there are no children on site, cleaners do not need to be specifically assigned to a classroom. A team of cleaners can be used. External cleaners can also clean all classrooms onsite during deep cleaning/sanitization, as children will not be present.




What cleaning products are nurseries allowed to use? Can we use bleach?


Disinfectant solutions should be prepared daily for each cleaning shift. Cleaning products from reputable suppliers will have been approved by the relevant authorities. Please note that it is essential that the products are used as per the instructions provided by the cleaning product manufacturers.




What requirements are there about cleaning the nursery before opening? Are there ongoing expectations about cleaning and hygiene?


Nurseries are required to sanitize the building no more than 5 days before reopening and thereafter on a regular basis. An external company must be used which is licensed with the relevant Municipality. Additionally, strict hygiene and cleaning guidelines have been put in place such as hourly cleaning of bathrooms and high traffic areas. Classrooms and learning resources are limited to specific bubbles and will be cleaned throughout the day. Mealtimes have strict protocols and hygiene and handwashing guidelines must be followed by staff and children. Please refer to the reopening guidelines and manual for further details and clarification on the roles and responsibilities of all staff members in maintaining levels of cleanliness and safety.




Is it mandatory to do deep cleaning to the nursery through a cleaning company? Can nurseries use nursery cleaners?


Each nursery is required to deep clean the nursery using an external, licensed cleaning company, no more than 5 days prior to reopening. Thereafter, cleaning should be conducted regularly by the relevant nursery staff in accordance with the issued guidelines. The roles and responsibilities for maintaining appropriate levels of cleanliness and hygiene are clearly stipulated in the support documentation provided by the Licensing Authorities.




Should a toy be immediately removed after a child has put it in their mouth?


Do not immediately remove a toy/item if a child puts it in their mouth, as it will disturb the child and disrupt their learning experience. Remove the toy/item when the child has finished playing with it. Do not allow any other child to play with the toy/item before it has been sanitized.





Registration of children

When can registration of children begin?


MOE and SPEA have reserved the right to open registration only for those nurseries who are awarded a NOC. Registration can only take place following the successful completion of their reopening plan and a positive outcome following a compliance reopening approval visit. Both the MOE and SPEA will expect nurseries to provide evidence of their ‘bubble’ model in their reopening plan and not details of registered children.

ADEK have allowed nurseries to begin registering children during their reopening process.




Can nurseries open for registration before receiving a NOC from their relevant Licensing Authority?


#1. ADEK have approved the registration of children by nurseries who have registered to attend the mandatory reopening training. This includes nurseries being able to collect registration fees etc. However, this arrangement is on the understanding that should the nursery not receive their NOC before the advertised start date, these fees will be refunded to all parents with immediate effect. According to the ADEK’s reopening plan guidelines, in order to complete the documentation, the nursery needs to provide evidence of the number and names of registered children and staff

#2. MOE and SPEA have reserved the right to open registration only for those nurseries who are awarded a NOC. Registration can only take place following the successful completion of their reopening plan and a positive outcome following a compliance reopening approval visit. Both the MOE and SPEA will expect nurseries to provide evidence of their ‘bubble’ model in their reopening plan and not details of registered children.

*Details of the nursery’s fee policy and refund policy will be reviewed as part of the reopening plan (Emergency Financial Policy).




Do all children have to be registered on the Licensing Authority digital registration system as well as being registered in the reopening plan?


This is dependent on the expectations of the Licensing Authority.

#1. Nurseries licensed with ADEK will expect all children to be registered on both. Details about all children, including those who are newly enrolled, will need to be mentioned in the reopening plan. These details will also have to be registered on ADEK’s digital registration system once the child physically attends nursery and the Emirates ID card is made available by the parent.

#2. MOE and SPEA licensed nurseries will not be permitted to start registering children until they have received final permission to reopen. Thereafter, they be required to maintain aformal inhouse registration documentation using electronic software. . They are expected to add the child’s details into the Licensing Authorities digital registration system only once the child start attending the nursery and the child’s Emirates ID card can be used to enter the information onto the system.




Can parents come to the nursery with their child’s Emirates ID to register on the Licensing Authority’s digital registration system as well as to pay the registration fees?


Nurseries should inform new parents to present their child’s Emirates ID on the first day of attending nursery. All new children will then be registered on the relevant licensing authority’s digital system. Returning children are already enrolled in the Licensing Authority’s registration system.Registration fees should be collected via a bank transfer

Arrangements should be made to collect fees via a bank transfer from initial registration and throughout the year.




Are children with chronic diseases and those who are labelled ‘at risk’ allowed to enroll in nursery?


Nurseries are not allowed to accept the registration of children who have a chronic disease, as listed in the guidelines.




Can potential parents enter the nursery?


If tours of the nursery need to be conducted, virtual tours should be offered or should only take place when staff and children are not present.




Do nurseries need to inform all parents of their fees and refund policy?


Details of the nursery’s fee policy and refund policy will be reviewed as part of the reopening plan (Emergency Financial Policy). Parents must be made award of all fees and be informed of the refund policy of the nursery prior to registration.




How should parents pay fees?


Arrangements should be made to collect fees via a bank transfer for initial registration and throughout the year.





Nurse and Clinic

Employing DHA nurses will now be extremely difficult. Will we still be required to have DHA licensed nurses or will nursing assistants/HCA’s be sufficient?


The presence of a nurse is a mandatory requirement and no exception will be made.

Each nursery is required to have on staff or contracted, a full-time nurse who attends each day or they will not be allowed to open. The nurse will conduct daily health screenings and temperature checks and play a vital role in the health, safety and wellbeing of the staff and children. If the nurse is sick, the nursery must use the deputizing nurse for that day and secure a more permanent arrangement as soon as possible.




All nurseries currently licensed by the MOE are expected to have a licensed nurse’s clinic on site. Can the Nurse’s room be licensed by MOHAP as a nurse’s clinic if the room has a wash basin but does not have a toilet?


All currently licensed nurse’s rooms will continue to be accepted. All nurse’s rooms will only be licensed if they meet MOHAPs standards for licensing a nurse’s clinic.




What happens if a nurse leaves or is absent due to sickness?


A replacement nurse must be found immediately as per MOHAP requirements. A nursery is not allowed to be open without a MOHAP registered nurse present.





Isolation room

Can the existing nurse’s clinic be used as an isolation room? If the clinic cannot be used, what are the restrictions?


The NCEMA guidance clearly states that the nurse’s room cannot be used. All guidelines are directly linked to the mandated criteria as per National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority’s (NCEMA) protocols and procedures.




What requirements are there when establishing an isolation room? How should use of the isolation room be managed?


Each nursery is required to establish an isolation room which is separate from the nurse’s room in order to isolate any suspected cases of COVID-19. Adults in the room must wear PPE and sit 1.5m apart from the suspected patient. Suspected patients will then be required to leave the building within the hour and the isolation room will be thoroughly sanitized. The nurse should not have sole responsibility for any child in the isolation room. A familiar adult should be identified to remain with the child at all times during isolation. It is expected that the named individual will stay with the child until he/she is collected by the legal guardian.





Staffing

Who is responsible for submission of the reopening plan if the manager leaves after having participated in the mandatory training?


All nurseries are advised to involve a designated deputy manager in the submission of all documentation during the reopening process. Named individuals can access recorded copies of the online mandatory training session for managers in the event of an emergency handover.




Will there be a quick turnaround of work permit approval for new staff members?


The recruitment of suitably qualified and experienced nursery staff significantly contributes to the quality of provision offered by nurseries. Licensing Authorities aim to ensure that all applications are given the attention required for processing within the previously agreed timelines.




Are nurseries allowed to hire an assistant nursery supervisor without CACHE 2?


All staff must be qualified as per the UAE Federal regulations. Qualifications for nursery staff have not changed.




Can pregnant women work in the nursery?


Yes, they can if they meet the eligibility criteria. All staff need to a get negative test result before resuming work and fortnightly tests thereafter.




Can we volunteers or parents play an active role in the classrooms?


No, unfortunately since they will not have received the mandatory training to work safely in the nursery environment they are not permitted to support in a classroom or anywhere else in the nursery.




Do nurseries have to pay for COVID-19 tests for their nursery staff?


It has been confirmed that SEHA will organize testing for all nursery staff within the Abu Dhabi Emirate. A circular will be issued by ADEK with the details of this process. Other Licensing Authorities are yet to confirm whether similar arrangements will be offered by MOHAP in other Emirates. To date the nurseries licensed by other Licensing Authorities are responsible for the cost of testing all staff on a fortnightly basis.





PPE


Capacity

How will the capacity be calculated and approved? How long will nurseries be expected to operate at 50% capacity?


The maximum capacity approved for each specific nursery is reflected on the nursery license issued by the various Licensing Authorities. Based on the NCEMA reopening protocols the total capacity of children allowed on site at any one time is 50%. The NOC will reflect the 50% capacity allocation for each nursery. These NCMA protocols are reinforced in more detail in the MOE guidelines and include additional details on the effective use of available space to safely accommodate 50% of the children. There is currently no indication of the timeline for the increase in capacity as we work together to reduce the effects of the pandemic within the UAE.




What is the maximum capacity allowed in nurseries? Will this change?


The capacity of the building is determined by the square meters per child – 3.5 square meters indoors and 5 square meters outdoors—and the maximum number of children inside each separate bubble which is 8 for 45 days to 2 years and 10 for 2 – 4 years. Currently, as per NCEMA’s Reopening Framework’s protocols and procedures, nurseries are permitted to operate at 50% capacity. Should any changes in capacity be approved by NCEMA in the future, this will immediately be communicated with nurseries.





Bubbles

Please explain the difference between the 20 children aged 2-4 years being allocated to a single bubble as compared to only 10 children in the bubble being allowed to attend?


The nursery can allocate places to 20 children who are going to be able to attend and be part of a particular bubble. Nurseries can be flexible for example, 10 children may attend in the morning with 10 others attending in the afternoon, or they could attend on different days. There must not be any more than 10 children in a bubble at any one time.




Can there be more than one bubble of children/staff at the same time inside a large classroom or in a shared, open space within the nursery?


Nurseries are advised to follow the suggested guidance of having one room per bubble. In the instance that a large space needs to be subdivided to accommodate more than one group then the partitions must be considered safe enough to prevent the spread of the virus. For example, ADEK have informed their nurseries that they expect ‘permanent’ partitions which ensure that children and staff are not able to see into another bubble and expect a separate entrance to the space allocated to each ‘bubble’.




Each bubble is only allowed to have 8-10 children and 2 adults. How many bubbles are allowed in a nursery per day?


The number of bubbles depends on the capacity of the nursery. Nurseries are mandated to operate at a 50% capacity rate until further notice.

Each bubble must have 2 qualified staff members as per the guidelines. An additional staff member must be allocated to the bubble to cover for staff absence. Staff may not rotate and must remain in their own bubble.

Children from the registered number of children allocated to any specific bubble can join or leave the bubble during the day so long as the maximum number is not exceeded at any point.

Only one bubble can use the allocated space per day, but the nursery could allocate half of the children from each bubble to a morning of afternoon session.





Supporting vulnerable populations

Are children with chronic diseases and those who are labelled ‘at risk’ allowed to enroll in nursery?


Nurseries are not allowed to accept the registration of children who have a chronic disease, as listed in the guidelines.





Compliance

What is the expected timeline in which the reopening compliance visit will take place?


The compliance team will arrange the ’reopening’ compliance visits following a successful resubmission assessment. The exact timings of these visits will be dependent on their schedule and will be negotiated with the nursery principal.




Will nurseries receive Compliance Visits?


The Licensing Authority’s Compliance Team will be conducting regular visits to all nurseries to specifically check that they are following the mandated guidelines. Nurseries will also receive a NOC Inspection in order to gain approval to reopen.

The NOC schedule of visits is arranged with the nursery manager / principal by the Licensing Authority or ECA representative.




What will happen to a nursery if they are not following the reopening operational guidelines?


The Licensing Authority is enforcing a zero-tolerance policy for those nurseries violating the guidelines. They will be reported and depending on the risk factor of the violation will be given 1-10 days for corrective actions. At that time if they are still found to be non-compliant, they will be fined or suspended from operations until they follow the necessary guidelines.




Will we be fined for issues arising with not being compliant to NCEMA’s reopening protocols and procedures?


Nurseries may incur fines if they are not compliant with the regulations. Please note: Unpaid fines issued prior to the COVID-19 suspension of services still apply and will need to be paid.





Equipment

Can children use large play equipment e.g., a climbing frame when they are playing outdoors?


Yes. Children in the same bubble may use the equipment. No more than 4 children can be around the same toy/tool. Equipment will then have to be sanitized before any other group can use it.




Can children use play equipment that is likely to be shared e.g., Bicycles


Yes. Children in the same bubble may use the equipment. Try to avoid sharing within the bubble, wherever possible. No more than 4 children can be around the same toy/tool. Equipment will then have to be sanitized before any other group can use it.




Can children access small outdoor equipment that promotes physical development and play?


Yes. Children in the same bubble may use the equipment. Try to avoid sharing within the bubble, wherever possible. No more than 4 children can be around the same toy/tool. Equipment will then have to be sanitized before any other group can use it.





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