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Coronavirus: nurseries requisitioned for the children of caregivers

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Nurses, nursing aides, doctors: the country needs them to deal with the Covid-19 epidemic. But what do they do with their babies when the daycares are closed?

It is to welcome the children of staff from hospitals, nursing homes, home assistance services, homeless centers, etc. deemed a priority by the Ministry of Solidarity and Health, that a good hundred nurseries, near hospitals, have been requisitioned by prefectures throughout France to remain open despite the general confinement.

“We entered crisis management the day after the government announcements,” explains Jean-Emmanuel Rodocanachi, president of Little Red Riding Hoods, one of the largest networks of private crèches in France with its 450 establishments.

Nursing staff and law enforcement

Historically close to the hospital sector, the group has been approached in several regions. And on March 17, the day of confinement, 18 establishments out of 450 in the Little Red Riding Hood network were on deck: a crèche in Lyon (Rhône), next to the Hospices Civiles, another in Caen (Calvados) on the site of the CHU, one in Versailles (Yvelines), next to André-Mignot hospital…

“We continue to receive the children of the usual nursing staff and we have released cradles for the others”, explains the pioneer of the company crèche, also requested in certain departments to welcome children of the police.

Parents who are on the front line facing the Covid-19 … “The risks of contamination are therefore greater,” admits Elodie Colas, coordinator of one of the crèches of the private network requisitioned in Compiègne (Oise). It is therefore on a voluntary basis that we have assembled a team of 10 people, who take turns every day between 5.45 am and 7 pm ”.

“A spirit of mutual aid and solidarity”

Nursery nurses who, for some, have their babies looked after in emergency wards opened by town halls! “The legitimate concern of our employees was quickly followed by a spirit of mutual aid and solidarity. We understand how important our role is, ”underlines Elodie Colas.

In accordance with ministerial orders, to limit the risk of contamination, children must be divided into groups of 10 per space, managed by separate staff, without ever gathering. “We have of course strengthened our hygiene protocols, details the nursery nurse: put hydroalcoholic gel at the entrance, respect the meter distance with parents, clean the door handles several times a day …”

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With babies, apart from limiting kisses, it is difficult to change behavior. “Compared to the mask, the instructions of the ministry, transmitted day by day to the teams, are clear: one does not wear it if one is not sick”, specifies the professional. And if the slightest suspicion of contamination from an educator occurs, she stays at home, which does not ensure zero risk.

Relief Fund

If, for these crèches, the revenues are assured – the family allowance funds (CAF) will directly bear 100% of the cost of these guards -, Jean-Emmanuel Rodocanachi wonders how his business will recover from the crisis, “because partial unemployment will not cover all the costs ”.

An emergency fund has been set up by the Cnaf (national family allowance fund). She will pay 27 euros per closed place per day for public crèches and 17 euros for private ones.

“But the state will have to go further if we want the 12,500 crèches and 4,400 microcrèches in France to be able to reopen under good conditions,” said Elsa Hervy, general delegate of the French Federation of crèche companies (private commercial sector ) to which 1,900 establishments are affiliated.

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