Choice Childcare Ltd
Kenton Park Nursery School COVID-19 Policy
COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It is caused by a virus called Coronavirus. Symptoms can be mild, moderate, severe or fatal. This policy and associated risk assessment held on site is to prevent the spread of the virus within the setting.
As the Nursery is open, and children are attending as usual, all staff and parents are asked to pay careful attention to the detail of this policy.
This policy has been prepared with consideration for all current Government guidance on how to control, mitigate and deal with the impact of COVID-19, and this policy will be updated accordingly as and when more information becomes available. Short term changes may also be required in the event additional restrictions during a national or local lockdown.
This policy outlines protective measures we are taking to reduce the risk of direct transmission (e.g. via coughing and sneezing) and indirect transmission (e.g. through touching contaminated surfaces).
Scientific advice suggests that there is a moderate to high degree of confidence that the susceptibility to clinical disease of younger children (typically until they become teenagers) is generally lower than for adults. However, it remains important that protective measures as outlined in this policy and in Government guidance are put in place to help reduce the risk of transmission.
In these uncertain times, the Nursery encourages feedback from all employees and parents, as we seek to continuously improve the processes which we have in place, in order to balance safety and practicality while still offering a fulfilling and enjoyable experience for children.
Who is at risk?
All those attending the setting are at risk, including staff, children, parents / carers of the children attending, visitors and any other individuals involved in the day to day operation of the setting. Some groups of people are more vulnerable to the virus and these include the elderly, pregnant women and those with existing underlying health conditions. We will continually monitor Government guidance as to additional precautions needed to protect those individuals most at risk.
What controls are required to limit the spread of the virus?
The following controls will be in place at all times:
- Handwashing and Hygiene
- All staff and children will be required to wash their hands immediately upon entry to the setting and before leaving, when they return from breaks, when they change rooms, and before and after eating.
- Hand washing facilities will be available at all times with soap and water in place.
- Paper towels will be used to dry hands and these will be placed in a lidded bin.
- The lidded bin will be emptied safely at least once each day.
- Gel sanitisers will be available in any areas where there are no immediate handwashing facilities for example outdoors.
- Staff and children will be reminded to wash their hands on a regular basis for a period of 20 seconds with soap and water and reminded of the importance of drying hands properly with the disposable towels.
- Children will be supervised at all times when hand washing to ensure that they do so properly (wash hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with running water and soap and dry them thoroughly or use alcohol hand rub or sanitiser ensuring that all parts of the hands are covered).
- Continuing to ensure good respiratory hygiene. All children will be reminded to catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue which will be disposed of immediately in a lidded bin. Follow Catch it, Bin it, Kill it to avoid touching the face, eyes, nose or mouth with unclean hands. Tissues are made available throughout the setting.
- Staff to report any problems and carry out skin checks as part of skin surveillance programme. Emollient creams will be available within the setting to protect hands from increased washing.
- Normal toothbrushing programmes will be suspended during a COVID recovery period and instead children may be asked to brush their teeth based on the dry toothbrushing guidance from the Government – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-supervised-toothbrushing-programmes/covid-19-guidance-for-supervised-toothbrushing-programmes-in-early-years-and-school-settings
- Implementing a heightened cleaning regime and protocols for the premises and toys, equipment etc
- Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly particularly in areas of high use such as door handles, light switches, furniture and toys. The areas will be cleaned regularly using appropriate cleaning products and methods.
- Equipment will not be used my multiple groups of children simultaneously, and will be cleaned between different groups of children having access to it.
- Unnecessary items will be removed from the learning environment and the use of soft toys and furnishings will be minimised as far as possible, as well as toys that are hard to clean.
- Bedding will be washed after single use.
- Doors will be kept/propped open where practical and safe to do so, to limit the use of door handles and encourage ventilation.
- Children who normally bring comforters (e.g. cuddly toys or blankets) to nursery will still be able to do so, but their use at nursery will now be kept to a minimum. Parents are asked to wash these items before they are brought to nursery and also when they return home from nursery.
- Staff will wash their uniform each day at the highest temperature permitted for the fabric.
- Rigorous checks will be carried out by management to ensure that the procedures are being fully adhered to at all times.
- Social Distancing
The recommended distance for safe distancing is 2metres however this is difficult to maintain in a setting such as a nursery. The following measures will be in place during each session:
- Parents / carers will not be permitted to enter the setting. Their child/children must be dropped off at and collected from the door until further notice. Parents will also be asked to wear a mask (see PPE below).
- Where possible the same parent/guardian should be picking up and dropping of the child at nursery, to minimise the number of interactions between different people each day.
- Parents will be asked to practice safe distancing of 2 metres whilst waiting to drop off their children. We appreciate that this will increase the time waiting to enter the nursery therefore please stagger approaching the entrance to avoid long queues.
- Parents may be asked to provide estimated drop off and pick up times, so that the Nursery can plan ahead for any busy periods and potential ‘bottlenecks’, in order to minimise any adult-to-adult contact.
- Activities which bring larger groups of children together will be avoided as far as possible. Some activities may be suspended or reduced, including circle time, sand play, water play, play dough, cooking activities and any others which pose a high risk of contamination.
- Use of shared rooms and spaces will be minimized, and rooms will be cleaned between use by different groups.
- Group sizes will reflect the number of staff available to ensure that groups are kept as small as possible, although from 20 July 2020 the Government guidance no longer requires this. EYFS staff to child ratios will be used as a guide for group sizes, and adhered to where possible and practical. Splitting up children into smaller groups will mean while social distancing may be difficult to implement, the number of interactions between different children, different groups of children and different staff can be reduced. Children in each group and staff caring for those groups will be kept as consistent as practical and possible.
- For holiday club, the guidance stipulates that group sizes should be no more than 15 children, and these should be as consistent as possible.
- Currently there are no restrictions in place for children attending more than one setting. Parents and carers are being encouraged to limit the number of settings their children attend as far as possible, and ideally to ensure their children attend the same setting consistently.
- As far as possible we are seeking to control group sizes and limit interactions between different groups (and other settings should be following the same guidelines), depending on the guidelines and the spread of the virus, it may not possible to accept children that are attending more than one setting e.g. private nursery / school nursery / childminder. During times when this control in force, it is likely that parents which will need to choose just one setting temporarily. We recognise that individual parents have different childcare requirements and this policy may be an inconvenience, and will discuss the implications of this on an individual basis.
- For holiday club, attendance from children who live outside the local area is discouraged. Ideally, children attending should live within walking or cycling distance, regardless of how they travel to nursery. This is consistent with Government’s advice to restrict transmission of the virus between different localities.
- Lunch times and snack times for children will be staggered/split to keep the group sizes small at these times.
- Lunch times and snack times for staff will also be staggered and split to help ensure social distances can be maintained in the staff room where possible.
- All resources will be cleaned and disinfected immediately after use.
- Outdoor play will be encouraged as much as possible.
- Any sleeping children will be placed two metres apart, and sleep breaks will also be staggered if necessary and practical.
- Visitors will be kept to a minimum. Access will be granted for essential repairs and maintenance to be carried out if necessary during opening hours, from a safe social distance only. Where possible repairs will be carried out outside of opening hours. Visits to the nursery for prospective parents will be scheduled for outside of opening hours where possible, but where this is not feasible, visiting parents will be asked to wear a mask and will be kept at a safe social distance from all staff and children at all times.
- Parents and staff will be asked to avoid public transport where possible in travelling to nursery. However, in cases where alternative transportation is not available, individuals are advised to maintain a safe social distance and follow the transport providers’ guidance e.g. wearing a mask and gloves.
- The Government guidance states that if non-symptomatic children present behaviours which may increase the risk of droplet transmission (such as biting, licking, kissing or spitting) or require care that cannot be provided without close hands-on contact, they should continue to receive care in the same way, including any existing routine use of PPE. The risk of transmissions remains low where children are non-symptomatic. However, additional space and frequent cleaning of any affected surfaces, objects and toys will be required. Cleaning arrangements should be increased as necessary, with a specific focus on surfaces which are touched a lot.
- Managing Sickness
Contact with unwell individuals should be minimized for staff, children and parents, and no one should attend nursery if they have coronavirus symptoms themselves or live with some displaying symptoms.
- A child will only be required to go into isolation and remain away from nursery in specific situations:
- The child has any symptoms of coronavirus
- The child has tested positive for coronavirus
- The child lives with someone who has symptoms or tested positive
- Someone in child’s support bubble has symptoms or tested positive
- The child is told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or Public Health England
- The child arrives in the UK from a country with a high coronavirus risk
(The above approach applies equally to members of staff.)
- All staff and children will have their temperature taken upon entry to the Nursery and this will be recorded. This will give rise to a pattern of each person’s usual temperature when well. Any person with a temperature above 37.8 will not be allowed to enter the nursery. This is not being advised by the Government, however we are putting this in place as an additional step to give parents and staff peace of mind.
- The temperature of each child will also be recorded again approximately 30 minutes after they have been at nursery, and their body temperature has acclimatised to the surroundings, with any material difference noted and acted upon as necessary.
- While we accept that young children do sometimes exhibit symptoms similar to those of Coronavirus, especially during the winter or while teething, we do not currently have the flexibility to make allowances for this.
- If anyone becomes unwell with coronavirus symptoms – a new continuous cough, high temperature or a loss or change in sense of smell or taste – they will be isolated and sent home to follow the stay at home guidelines. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection
- Any members of staff who have helped someone with symptoms and any children who have been in close contact with them do not need to go home to self-isolate. However, they must self-isolate and arrange for a test if they develop symptoms themselves (in which case, they should arrange a test), if the symptomatic person subsequently tests positive (see below) or they have been requested to do so by NHS Test and Trace
- Children and staff and other adults with any signs of Coronavirus should not attend nursery and should arrange a Coronavirus test if they have not already done so.
- All test arrangements and results will need to be communicated to the Nursery Manager as soon as possible.
- Until the test results are received, the symptomatic child/staff member and their family members should stay at home.
- Where a child (or a member of their household) exhibits any of the Coronavirus symptoms, however mild, they will need to isolate for at least 10 days from the date the symptoms started (until all symptoms have gone other than a cough or loss on sense of smell or taste as this may last for several weeks after the infection has gone).
- If the child and their household are able to access coronavirus tests, and the test results are negative, when evidence of the test results is provided to the Nursery, the child will usually be allowed to return to nursery. This will be at the discretion of the Nursery Manager, based on the specific circumstances, and will be impacted by whether someone in same household has tested positive or the general wellbeing of the child regardless of the Coronavirus test results.
- If a child does not have Coronavirus symptoms, but they test positive for the illness, they will need to self-isolate for 10 days from the date of the test (see ‘Test and Trace’ below). If they develop symptoms during this period, they will need to self-isolate for a further 10 days from the date the symptoms started.
- In the event of a child or staff member testing positive, their household members must self-isolate for 14 days, and the rest of their ‘group’ at nursery may be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 14 days. If during the 14 day period, any household member develops symptoms, they must self-isolate for at least 10 days from the date symptoms started, and also arrange a test for themselves.
- However, the guidance states that the household members of the children/staff in group sent home to self-isolate, do not need to self-isolate themselves unless the children or staff member who they live with develops symptoms themselves, or unless they are advised to do so by NHS Test and Trace or the Local Health Protection Team.
- The guidance states that in some cases, a larger number of other children may be asked to self-isolate at home as a precautionary measure but that where settings are observing guidance on infection prevention and control, which will reduce risk of transmission, closure of the whole setting may not be necessary. The priority will as always will be the safety of children and staff members and we will be guided by Public Health England as to any steps which are necessary.
- In the event of a positive test for a staff member or child, the Nursery will be operating a 100% transparency policy, and all parents and staff will be informed of this, regardless of whether any action is necessary. However, we will not be able to disclose the identity of any individuals testing positive for privacy reasons.
- If a child or staff member is seriously ill, 999 will be called.
- Test and Trace
As a childcare setting we are fully engaged with the NHS Test and Trace process. We have now displayed a QR code in the Nursery for all visitors to scan, if we do not already hold their contact details. Staff members and parents/carers must be ready and willing to:
- book a test if they are displaying symptoms. Staff and children must not come into the setting if they have symptoms and must be sent home to self-isolate if they develop them in the setting. All children can be tested, including children under 5, but children under 11 will need to be helped by their parents or carers if using a home testing kit.
- provide details of anyone they have been in close contact with if they were to test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or if asked by NHS Test and Trace
- self-isolate if they have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms
The following are key guidelines to underpin the system –
- If you develop symptoms you may wish to alert the people who you do not live with and that you have had close contact with over the last 48 hours to let them know that you might have COVID-19 but are waiting for a test result. At this stage, those people should not self-isolate. Alerting those that you have been in contact with means they can take extra care in practising social distancing and good hand and respiratory hygiene. They can also be more alert to any symptoms they might develop.
- People who have tested positive will receive a text, email or phone call requesting that they log into the NHS Test and Trace website to create a confidential account where they can record details about their recent close contacts. If you do not have access to the internet, then you will be phoned by a contact tracer working for the NHS Test and Trace service. The information you provide will be handled in strict confidence and will enable the NHS Test and Trace service to contact those people and provide them with advice on whether they should go into self-isolation. The people contacted will not be told your identity, but by alerting them when you first develop symptoms, you can help make sure that they are prepared for being contacted by the Test and Trace service.
- In the event of a positive test at nursery, we will follow the steps below –
- Notify the local health protection team (HPT) immediately that a child or a member of staff who has attended has tested positive for coronavirus.
- Work with the HPT to carry out a rapid risk assessment and identify appropriate next steps.
- With HPT advice, identify close contacts of the symptomatic individual.
- Contact tracers will inform contacts that they need to self-isolate for 14 days in line with guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.
- Notify Ofsted swiftly through the usual notification channels of any confirmed case of coronavirus (either staff member or child). Also notify Ofsted if the setting is advised to close as a result.
- Where possible support provision for children who are isolating so that they can continue to learn remotely. e.g. homework packs.
- Communicate in writing to parents/carers and staff to update them as to the situation and the advice provided by the HPT.
- Based on current guidance, settings should send home those people who have been in close contact with the person who has tested positive, advising them to self-isolate for 14 days from when they were last in close contact with that person when they were infectious. Close contact includes:
- direct close contacts – face to face contact with an infected individual for any length of time, within 1 metre, including being coughed on, a face to face conversation, or unprotected physical contact (skin to skin);
- extended close contact (within 1 to 2 metres for more than 15 minutes) with an infected individual;
- travelling in a small vehicle, like a car, with an infected person
The HPT will confirm the criteria for those individuals needing to be sent home, depending on the specific case. To support this the Nursery will keep a record of children and staff in specific groups/rooms (where applicable), and close contact that takes places between children and staff in different groups/rooms.
- The HPT will also contact settings directly if they become aware that someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) attended the setting – as identified by NHS Test and Trace.
- All staff, children and household members who experience symptoms must arrange a test. The Nursery will request evidence of test results in all cases.
- The Nursery reserves the right to refuse entry to the premises for any individual if there are grounds to believe that this may put others at risk.
- In some cases, health protection teams may recommend that a larger number of other children self-isolate at home as a precautionary measure – perhaps the whole site or a group. If settings are implementing the controls as advised, addressing the risks they have identified and therefore reducing transmission risks, whole setting closure based on cases within the setting will not generally be necessary, and should not be considered except on the advice of health protection teams.
All necessary precautions will be taken in relation to PPE and masks, and the Nursery has supply chains in place to source equipment as necessary. However, we are being led by Government guidance as follows –
- The Government’s guidance clearly states that wearing a face covering or face mask in nurseries is not recommended and that: childcare settings should not require staff, children and learners to wear face coverings. Therefore we will not currently be asking children or staff to routinely use face masks, however we will keep this under review should the guidance change.
- All visitors to the Nursery will be asked to wear a mask upon entering the premises, and to keep this on for the duration of their visit.
- All parents/carers dropping off and collecting their children will be asked to wear masks, even if they are not entering the building. This is to give added comfort to all other parents, and also for those staff members who may be opening the door and/or bring your child to you for collection.
- The guidance states that children, young people and students whose care routinely already involves the use of PPE due to their intimate care needs should continue to receive their care in the same way. So where masks and PPE are already being used, this will continue as normal.
- If a child develops coronavirus symptoms while at a setting, a “fluid-resistant surgical face mask”, a disposable apron and disposable gloves will be worn by the supervising adult and any staff member coming into contact with the symptomatic child. The Government advice currently states that it is only a requirement to wear PPE in this situation where a 2m distance cannot be maintained, however we will continue to supply PPE to all staff operating in this situation, regardless of whether they are able to maintain a distance. The Nursery will therefore keep a supply of this equipment on site for in the unlikely event that it is needed.
- Face masks must:
- cover both nose and mouth
- not be allowed to dangle around the neck
- not be touched once put on, except when carefully removed before disposal
- be changed when they become moist or damaged
- be worn once and then discarded – hands must be cleaned after disposal
- 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 will also be worn by the staff member. The Nursery will also keep some eye protective wear on site.
- The DfE states that if anyone becomes unwell with a coronavirus symptoms in an education or childcare setting, they must be sent home, and advised to follow government guidance. If it is a child who has fallen ill, the guidance states that they should be moved to a room where they can be isolated behind a closed door with appropriate adult supervision while awaiting collection. This room will have an opened window for ventilation if possible. If moving to a separate room is not possible, the child will be moved to an area at least 2m away from other people. PPE – gloves, apron and face mask – should be worn by staff caring for the child while they await collection if a distance of 2m cannot be maintained (such as for a very young child or a child with complex needs).” The Nursery Manager and the staff member caring for the child will jointly make a decision if necessary as to whether a face covering and/or eye covering is appropriate for the staff member.
- If a member of staff has helped an unwell child, or other children have come into contact with them, the guidance states that they should wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds afterwards, but that they are not required to go home unless they develop symptoms themselves or the child subsequently tests positive for coronavirus. If the member of staff does develop symptoms, they are able to access a free coronavirus test.
- Cleaning the affected area with normal household disinfectant after someone with symptoms has left will reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people, so this will be done immediately after the event.
- If the child needs to go to the bathroom while waiting to be collected, they should use a separate bathroom if possible. The bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected using standard cleaning products before being used by anyone else.
- Used PPE and any disposable face coverings that staff, children, young people or other learners arrive wearing should be placed in a refuse bag and can be disposed of as normal domestic waste unless the wearer has symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), in line with the guidance on cleaning for non-healthcare settings.
- Any homemade non-disposable face coverings that staff or children, young people or other learners are wearing when they arrive at their setting must be removed by the wearer and put in a plastic bag that the wearer has brought with them in order to take it home. The wearer must then clean their hands.
- To dispose of waste from people with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), such as disposable cleaning cloths, tissues and PPE:
- put it in a plastic rubbish bag and tie it when full
- place the plastic bag in a second bin bag and tie it
- put it in a suitable and secure place marked for storage for 72 hours
- This waste should be stored safely and securely kept away from children. You should not put your waste in communal waste areas until the waste has been stored for at least 72 hours.
- Storing for 72 hours saves unnecessary waste movements and minimises the risk to waste operatives. This waste does not require a dedicated clinical waste collection in the above circumstances.
- Clinically Vulnerable / Extremely Clinically Vulnerable Individuals
If you have symptoms, you should try and stay as far away from other members of your household as much as possible. It is especially important to stay away from anyone who is clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable with whom you share a household.
Government guidance is being regularly updated when new information becomes available. The current guidance affecting ourselves is as follows –
Rates of community transmission of COVID-19 are now reduced to levels below that when shielding was introduced. Shielding measures will, therefore, be paused from the 1 August, with the exception of areas where local lockdown means that shielding will continue. In all respects, the clinically extremely vulnerable should now follow the same guidance as the clinically vulnerable population, taking particular care to practise frequent, thorough hand washing and cleaning of frequently touched areas in their home and workspace.
Clinically vulnerable staff can return to work. As for all staff, this includes continuing to observe good hand and respiratory hygiene, minimising contact and maintaining social distancing in line with the latest staying alert and safe guidance. This provides that ideally, adults should maintain 2 metre distance from others and, where this is not possible, avoid close face to face contact and minimise time spent within 1 metre of others.
While the risk of transmission between young children and adults is likely to be low, adults should continue to take care to socially distance from other adults including older children and adolescents People who live with those who are clinically extremely vulnerable or clinically vulnerable can attend the workplace.
Pregnant women are in the ‘clinically vulnerable’ category. They are generally advised to follow the above advice, which applies to all staff in early years settings.
- During times where the cases of the virus are rising and additional Government controls are in place, staff members who are clinically vulnerable – for example, those with diabetes, or who have mild-to-moderate asthma – may only able to work from home if possible, or return to work if they can observe social distancing. However, in a nursery setting this will be almost impossible. Providing childcare is a face-to-face activity and maintaining a social distance of 2m will not be achievable at all times. Staff members in this group will be able to discuss what options they may have with the Nursery Manager, if the current guidance on shielding changes.
- Staff members who are clinically extremely vulnerable – such as those with specific cancers or with severe respiratory conditions such as cystic fibrosis – may also be subject to different Government guidance depending on the spread of the virus. These staff will be able to discuss any options they may have with the Nursery Manager.
- More detailed guidance on who is considered ‘clinically vulnerable’ versus ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ is available on the Government’s website and is updated as and when research is identifying specific groups which may be at higher or lower risk.
- The guidance states that staff who live with someone who is clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable), including those who are pregnant, can attend their education or childcare setting.
- Staff who live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable may sometimes be advised to only come to work if stringent social distancing can be adhered to, depending on the spread of the virus. Staff in this group will be able to discuss any options they may have with the Nursery Manager.
- The Department for Education states that “few if any children” will fall into the category of clinically vulnerable, but that “parents should follow medical advice if their child is in this category”.
- Children who have been classed as clinical extremely vulnerable may sometimes be asked not to attend nursery, if this in keeping with Government guidance. When this is necessary, this will be communicated to parents/carers.
- Children who live with someone who is clinically vulnerable, but not clinically extremely vulnerable, can usually still attend nursery.
- Children who live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable may sometimes be advised to only attend nursery “if they are able to understand and follow social distancing instructions”. We believe this would be very difficult for the children of the age that we care for, and therefore we may on occasion have to advise these parents/carers that their children cannot attend nursery.