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The number of newly registered COVID-19 cases is again on the rise all over the world; consequently, disease control rules have been made more stringent in early September in nurseries and kindergartens operated by the Hegyvidék municipality. As per the municipality's own decision, the institutional communities were separated into smaller classes with the aim of preventing the need to shut down the entire building in the event of sporadic cases.

"We see new positive cases are on the rise in Hungary as well, so we introduced strict precautions in our nurseries and kindergartens", Deputy Mayor Krisztina Fonti told our paper. "We want to avoid having to close entire institutions due to the outbreak as it would create great difficulties for parents who, because of their work schedule, are unable to arrange daycare for their children in any other way."

Among other steps taken against the epidemic, the deputy mayor mentioned that since the beginning of the school year, all nurseries and kindergartens take the temperatures of the children upon arrival. If the non-contact thermometer reading is above 37.3 °C, the child must be taken home and needs a medical certificate to attend again. Naturally, children must also stay home if any other member of the household is under official quarantine or showing symptoms of coronavirus infection. If the family has been abroad in recent weeks, the head of the institution must be informed.

The disease control rules implemented a few months ago will also remain in force, meaning that to enter the building, parents must wear a mask and use the hand sanitizer installed in the hallway. Each child can only be accompanied by one person, and accompanying adults are asked to spend as little time in the building as possible and to maintain social distancing.

The municipal government spends significant amounts on testing the staff of Hegyvidék kindergartens and nurseries regularly, applicable to all employees without fail. Buildings are kept clean and disinfected, including items handled frequently such as door handles, water taps, toys, and sports equipment.

As Krisztina Fonti told us, the heads of all nurseries and kindergartens were asked to create strictly separated classes and to ensure that children from separate classes do not come into contact with each other either in the building or in the schoolyard. These classes may consist of one group each, or of several groups if they use a shared dressing room and bathroom.

“The purpose of setting up smaller units is that if someone catches the virus, it is not the entire institution that will have to be shut down”, the deputy mayor explained. As she told us, this measure was taken not under a central instruction but as a decision made by the Hegyvidék Municipality. She added that in the event of an infection, the Board of Education will decide on the partial or full closure of the nursery or kindergarten, and the local government can only make recommendations in the matter.