COVID-19 Policy & Procedure
Our first separate written COVID-19 policy was introduced in May 2020, in response to the pandemic. This document has evolved and been changed a number of times based on feedback from staff, parents and children, as well as new guidance from the government. The core guidance from the government on “Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak” can be found here.
We do not currently know how long these measures will be in place. We will update parents as the situation develops. Last Updated: 27th April 2021
- Since 1st June 2020 we have been accepting all children at nursery subject to the conditions below.
- Only children who are symptom free or have completed the required isolation period should attend the setting.
- Any child with a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss/change of smell or taste must not attend for 10 days or until they test negative for COVID-19.
- For any child living in a household where another person has a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss/change of smell or taste, the child must not attend nursery for at least 10 days or until the person with symptoms tests negative for COVID-19. This also applies if a child has been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
- Staff reserve the right to take children’s temperature on arrival at nursery and will not admit any child with a high temperature. We will usually take a temperature if a child or accompanying parent/carer appears unwell.
Wellbeing & Education
- Children will be supported in age appropriate ways to understand the steps they need to take to keep themselves safe including regular handwashing and sneezing into a tissue and throwing it away.
- Children will be supported to understand the changes and challenges they may encounter as a result of COVID-19 and staff will be aware of children’s attachments and their need for emotional support at the moment.
- Only staff who are symptom free or have completed the required isolation period should attend the setting.
- Any staff member with a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss/change of smell or taste must not attend for 10 days or until they test negative for COVID-19.
- For any staff member living in a household where another person has a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss/change of smell or taste, the staff member must not attend nursery for at least 10 days or until they test negative for COVID-19. This also applies if a staff member has been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
- Staff will be risk assessed if returning to work after a period of isolation or having had COVID-19.
- Staff in the nursery will be limited to the number which is needed for the number of children expected.
Physical Distancing & Face Coverings
- Staff will wear face coverings when opening the door and admitting or bringing out children or visitors.
- Staff may wear face coverings when working with the children if they wish.
- Staff will wear face coverings in shared access areas of the nursery including corridors, staff room, office and kitchen, except in the following circumstances:
- a single staff member can work in the kitchen without a face covering if they choose – other staff must knock and alert them before entering so they can both put on a face covering
- face coverings can be removed in the office by one staff member alone, or by two staff members once seated on opposite ends of the office
- face coverings can be removed by staff once seated in the staff room – as long as they are physically distanced from any other member of staff
- Only 2 staff are permitted in the staff room at a time. If more than 2 staff are having lunch at the same time then any room not in use by children at that time can be used for staff lunches as permitted by the manager.
- Only 2 staff are permitted in the office at a time.
- Staff members will avoid all close contact with each other. Staff will follow social distancing guidelines and remain 2 metres apart from each other where possible.
- All staff members will receive appropriate instruction and training in infection control and the relevant operating procedure and risk assessments.
- All staff members are responsible for ensuring that children, parents/carers and staff members follow this policy in full.
Parents & Carers
Physical Distancing & Drop Off/Collection
- Only parents/carers who are symptom free and/or have completed the required isolation periods will be able to drop off and collect their child.
- Only one parent/carer is permitted to drop off or collect their child.
- Parents/carers must wear a face covering when dropping off or collecting their child. Any parents/carers who are exempt under current guidelines must notify the nursery manager.
- Pre School and Pee Wees must enter via the cloakroom and Teeny Weenies must enter via the front door.
- Only one child and parent/carer can enter the cloakroom at a time.
- Parents/carers of children entering via the cloakroom are requested to take off their child’s coat, jacket and shoes.
- Parents/carers must stay 2 metres away from staff.
- Parents/carers have been requested to stay 2 metres apart when waiting to drop off or pick up children. If queues start forming, then tape, chalk or paint will be used to mark safe queuing distances at the entrance to the nursery.
- Parents will not be able to enter the nursery except for very limited reasons, such as settling a child who may become distressed, or during the settling in sessions of a new child. Parents must not come into close contact with other children or staff.
- As our nursery is small, we have multiple start/end times and we will be using two entrances, we are not initially requesting any additional staggering of start/end times. This will be reviewed if queuing become an issue.
- Parents will receive clear communications regarding the role they play in the safe operating procedure and all measures being taken to ensure the safety of their children and themselves.
- Parents should use Famly to give messages to staff about their child and to ask any questions. This allows staff to respond at an appropriate time, and will also reduce queues as only one child can enter or leave the nursery at a time.
- Visitors must wash their hands when entering the nursery unless they are wearing a fresh pair of gloves.
- All surfaces touched or objects handle by visitors must be sprayed with disinfectant and wiped down upon their departure.
- All visitors to remain strictly 2 metres away from staff.
- All visitors must wear a face covering while in areas of the nursery with children in them, or where they cannot stay 2m away from staff. This includes any person taking a tour of the nursery while it is open.
- Parents, staff, children or visitors must not enter the nursery if they are displaying any symptoms of COVID-19.
- Visits will be kept to a minimum quantity and length of time, and will take place, as much as possible, when there are minimal numbers of children in the nursery. This includes prospective family visits, and any settle sessions with parents/carers.
- Wherever possible staff and parents should travel to the nursery alone, using their own transport
- If public transport is necessary, current government guidance on the safe use of public transport must be followed.
- Parents may not leave travel accessories such as car seats, buggies, scooters in the nursery cloakroom.
- Although initially paused, outings out of the nursery to places like the field and the beach resumed on 20th July 2020.
- Outings to the playground or other places where surfaces are touched by children were allowed to resume from 26th April 2021, as vaccination levels increased and following guidance about the low risk of transmission outdoors and from surfaces. Extra care will be taken to ensure thorough hand washing after outings to the playground.
- Children will not be allowed to approach other groups whilst on outings. This will include not using equipment at the playground that is being used at that time by non-nursery children.
Hygiene, Health & Safety
Hand Washing & Personal Hygiene
- All children and staff must wash their hands on arrival at the nursery and before they leave to go home.
Children will be encouraged to wash their hands more frequently during the day, such as after wiping their nose, before and after eating, when coming in from the garden, before touching their faces.
- Staff will wash their hands more frequently, such as before preparing and serving food, after wiping children’s noses, after cuddling children, after supporting toileting or nappy changing, after handling items brought in from outside the nursery, before eating, before touching their faces, and before leaving the nursery.
- All frequently used surfaces (tables, counter tops, toilets, sinks) will be cleaned and disinfected twice daily.
- Floors will be steam cleaned or disinfected daily, door handles and light switches must be disinfected at least daily.
- Telephones and tablets must be disinfected at least daily.
- Procedures for cleaning resources are explained in the sections below.
- Any bins that children have access to will be emptied three times daily.
- All waste will continue to be disposed of in a safe and hygienic way.
- Bedding and flannels will continue to be washed between use by different children and will not be shared.
- Current Government guidance is that PPE should not be required in general practice in nurseries to protect against COVID-19 transmission. PPE, such as aprons and gloves, will continue to be worn as usual for nappy changing and the administration of first aid.
- PPE consisting of disposable gloves, a disposable apron and a fluid-resistant surgical face mask will be worn for supervising a child with COVID-19 symptoms and for cleaning the area they were isolated in, as specified below. If a risk assessment determines that there is a risk of splashing to the eyes, for example from coughing, spitting, or vomiting, then eye protection should also be worn.
Premises & Resources
- Windows will be kept open when possible to ensure good ventilation.
- Children are not permitted to bring items from home into the setting, including toys and lunch boxes, unless absolutely essential for their wellbeing. When this is the case items must be cleaned on arrival.
- Any toys or other resources accessed by children will be cleaned and disinfected prior to being put away by the end of the day.
- To manage cleaning of resources, some difficult to clean items may be removed from the rooms. Free access to some resources may be limited, so that staff can control when children use resources and they need to be cleaned.
- Equipment used by staff, such as tablets and stationery will be allocated to individual staff members where possible and cleaned at least daily.
- The setting will ensure an adequate supply of essential stock, such as gloves, aprons and disinfectant materials as the nursery will not be able to operate without essential supplies to ensure infection control.
Responding to a Suspected Case
- If anyone becomes ill with a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss/change of smell or taste in the nursery they must be sent home and advised to follow the “COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection”.
- If a child is waiting to go home, they should be isolated in the Teeny Weenies room with the gate closed with appropriate adult supervision. If the Teeny Weenies room is not available, they can be isolated with a member of staff in another room and the door closed. If it is not possible to isolate them, the child should be moved at least 2 meters away from others.
- Staff will call 999 if they become seriously ill or their life is at risk.
- The staff member responsible for the child during this time should if possible be someone who was already working with that child.
- The staff member caring for the child will wear appropriate PPE. This consists of disposable gloves, a disposable apron and a fluid-resistant surgical face mask. If a risk assessment determines that there is a risk of splashing to the eyes, for example from coughing, spitting, or vomiting, then eye protection should also be worn.
- If the child needs to use the bathroom whilst waiting to be collected they should use a separate bathroom. This should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before being used by anyone else.
- The member of staff who has cared for the child who was taken unwell does not need to go home unless they develop symptoms. The staff member should wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds.
- The area where the child was isolated should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected by the same staff member, while still wearing the PPE.