Ask Me Anything - Covid 19 Pandemic - Our Response
Why are nurseries opening?
The latest scientific evidence indicates that COVID-19 appears to affect young children less often and with less severity. The role of transmission is unclear, but it seems likely that they do not play a significant role.
The Department of Education has published detailed guidance which enables nurseries to care for children safely and minimise the risk of transmission of the coronavirus.
Nurseries play a vital role in educating and preparing young children for school. They enable children to socialise, learn and play alongside their peers. Nurseries are also important in supporting families to work.
Will you cap the numbers at our nursery?
The Government has put in place a cap on numbers per room. The maximum amount of children we can take in any one room is 15.
This has meant we have had to reduce our places by 11 children per day - an incredibly difficult task and a decisions that has huge implications on our Business.
Can I make changes to my booking?
Your current offer of days moving forward are on your parent link app.
We have spent many hours allocating days to families based on the information you gave us in our questionnaires and booking forms.
We are allowing any family the opportunity to reduce your booking however at this stage we cannot make any increases to your booking or additional days. We understand this might not work for everyone however these are unprecedented times.
We will require 4 weeks notice to make these changes to reduce your days.
Can we start back part way through a month from June and July?
We will give you information on the date your child can re-join our nursery and this may be part way through the month.
If you have not been able to give us any information on a start date and contact us about re-joining the nursery or have not completed the questionnaire the places we can offer you will be subject to availability.
From August you will be required to start the nursery from the beginning of each month.
We cannot offer months on a part fees/part retainer basis at this point. This is a temporary measure and will be reviewed in September 2020.
Can my child attend 2 settings?
We are minimising all contact children have in the first 3 months of re-opening and therefore if your child attends 2 settings you will need to speak to us about this.
What measures have you put in place to keep children safe?
We have used the government guidance to formulate a set of safe operating procedures.
We will be emailing these out to everyone in the coming days via parent mail.
Everyone who works or attends the nursery will be required to read and follow these procedures, the most important being social distancing between groups of children/adults, regular hand-washing and children/adults not attending if they display symptoms.
Will my child notice any particular changes at nursery?
Naturally there will be an increased emphasis on hand-washing and small group activities. This is something we have always practised but will now be much greater attention to.
Your child will also remain with one key person for most of the day, together with their buddy group.
The groups will aim to be kept at a reasonable distance from one another. With core activities taking place in different area's.
There will be a greater emphasis on outdoor learning in your child's small group and I will be sending our new Flow of the Nursery Day timetable out to parents via parent mail in early June.
We are obviously very mindful of the children’s wellbeing and we will do everything to make things seems as normal as possible for them.
What will I be charged?
To allow staff and children to settle back into routines we are planning a phased return and offer of days.
You will only be charged for the days on your booking.
If you have requested a Grace period we will not be charging you for the months of June or July.
As of August you will be required to pay a 50% retainer for your nursery place.
If you wish to alter your booking permanently, one months notice will apply and you will need to confirm this by email Katie.
When will I get an invoice?
If you have indicated that you will be attending in June, you will receive a bill by the first week of June and so on for each month you start.
We will be then sending out fee calculation sheets to all families in the month of August for payments moving forward for the remainder of the year.
If you have returned to nursery but then decide to give in your notice, or decide not to attend for a few weeks, you will still be required to pay the bill for which you have been invoiced.
The required notice period remains at 1 month from the 1st June onwards.
What happens if my child is sick or if the family has to isolate?
Children can only attend when they are fit and healthy, this will mean that there are fewer sick days for everyone.
Strict measures will be in place for managing illness in the setting which are led by Public Health and the Government.
If your child is sick or if the family has to self isolate, then full fees will be due.
What happens about fees if the country goes back into lockdown?
Hopefully this won’t happen but if it does then we will have to look at the situation. We would hope our response would be the same but it is too early to say at this point.
You may well have other questions and we hope that Sally will be able to help you with. Our completed Safe Operating Procedures will be shared with you all before the 1st June.
Will staff and/or children be wearing face masks?
Currently, this is not a requirement that has been recommended to early years by the Government.
Our staff will not wear face masks but will wear visors if they are on meet and greet if they wish.
They will continue to use their PPE for their standard care routines e.g. nappy changing. If a child was to display symptoms then they will be removed from the main nursery playrooms with a member of staff until a parent is able to collect. You will be contacted immediately.
How do I let you know of any alterations to my child’s care?
If there have been any significant changes to your child’s routine or dietary requirements, you can indicate these on your booking form.
My child has a particular toy he is attached to, so can we bring that in?
We are trying to discourage toys from home as per our Safe Operating Procedures but recognise that might be difficult for some children.
If your child needs a comforter, we would ask that it stays at nursery in your child's basket or child's drawer . We will launder this for your child and return back to their basket /drawer.
How will you look after my child’s wellbeing?
We hope that by adopting a small group approach with an emphasis on routines, this will foster security and build up their confidence after such a long absence. We have lots of resources to help the team talk confidently about the virus and be able to answer any questions the children might have. As always, if we have any concerns, we will contact you immediately.
Will you comfort my child if they are upset?
Yes. A child’s wellbeing is paramount. If your child is upset, they will be comforted as usual by a member of staff. No child will be denied emotional support. The DfE has confirmed that it does not expect providers to keep all children two metres away from each other, or to care for children while remaining two metres away, as this is simply not possible.
Its guidance states: “We know that, unlike older children and adults, early years and primary age children cannot be expected to remain 2m apart from each other and staff.” It has said that it is asking providers to try and minimise the risk of transmission by keeping children in smaller groups, and minimising the interactions between these groups.
If I decide not to return, will I have to pay a notice period?
If you decide not to return to nursery at all then you will not have to pay a notice period.
This will only be valid until June 1st, after which one months notice will apply.
If you wish to re-register your child at any point, this will be subject to availability and no registration fee will apply. We would always ask that you talk to us first if you are struggling with any aspect of your childcare booking.
OSHN Response to Covid 19
It is important that everyone complies with the latest Government guidance on Coronavirus.
We have developed these Safe Operating Procedures based on guidance from the Department of Education and the National Institute for Health Protection specifically for Early Years.
It is important that we adapt our everyday practices to ensure that we continue to offer the staff and children a safe environment. Hygiene and social distancing remain the two key elements of infection prevention and control. If any symptoms are displayed, families must be alert and self-isolate for the safety of everyone.
Covid-19 appears to affect young children less often and with less severity. Children’s role in its transmission is unclear but it seems that it is not significant.
Compassionate leadership is at the heart of this reopening and we will do everything we can to be honest, open and to communicate with you. There will be a lot of anxieties and we acknowledge that it is OK to feel worried and that COVID-19 and the lockdown has had an impact on everyone.
Everyone involved in the day to day running of the nursery will receive appropriate instruction and training on how to operate under the terms of the Safe Operating Procedures.
We aim to work in partnership with parents and trust that everyone understands and follows these Safe Operating Procedures.
The key principles of these procedures are:
Any pupil, staff member, parent or visitor with coronavirus symptoms must not attend nursery and must isolate at home
Increased cleaning processes are in place, throughout and at the end of the day
Children and team members will be social distancing as far as possible
Children will each day stay in key family groups (a bubble) with a buddy group working alongside to ensure continuity of staffing and children
Key family groups will be in place inside and outside
Arrival and departure will be staggered and children will be dropped off at separate entrances, where this is possible.
Parents will not come on site or visit the nursery rooms unless this is explicitly arranged with the Nursery Manager e.g. in the event of a child being distressed
The process for settling in sessions will be managed away from the other children.
Children and employees are welcome to attend nursery but must not be displaying any coronavirus symptoms, the most common being a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of taste and smell. There is some suggestion that a rash or sickness and diarrhea can also be a symptom.
It is important that you seek medical advice if you are unsure.
It is important that children do not attend nursery if unwell for their own wellbeing and for the safety of others. Calpol or other medication that can mask fever symptoms should also not be given after 4am on the day children are due to come to nursery.
If anyone is experiencing any symptoms they cannot return to nursery until they have completed the required isolation period and be symptom free or have achieved a negative test result (proof will be required). Prompt exclusion is essential to preventing the spread of infection. Children and employees who are classed as clinically vulnerable should follow their medical advice before attending nursery.
It is preferable that your child only attends one setting to avoid mixing with different groups of children. Please speak with Sally if this is going to be a problem or to make them aware that this is the case.
2.1 Drop off and collection of children
Parents are asked to drop off and collect their children at the gate and not to enter the nursery unless it is bad weather. Whilst parents are waiting, it is important to maintain social distancing by keeping a distance of two metres apart. It is preferable if only one parent carries out drop off and collection.
Parents may be allocated a suggested time for arrival and drop off to ease pressure in the car park or waiting outside. Please approach the nursery slowly when driving as there will be parents and children waiting to enter.
Children will be assigned to a key family group based on the room they are in and a team member from that group will be responsible for collecting and delivering that child back to the parents. We will give you a limited handover, unless there is an important issue to discuss, as other parents may be waiting.
2.2 Temperature and symptom monitoring
Routine temperature testing is not recommended as a reliable method for identifying coronavirus. Parents and employees should follow the NHS guidelines and, in particular, evidence of a high temperature and/or new continuous cough.
2.3 Travel outside of local area
If you travel internationally or to an area of the UK under local COVID restrictions, then you must be tested and have a negative result before returning to nursery. This is not limited to countries listed on the current government quarantine list, high risk areas are being amended so frequently we are asking that testing occurs after any overseas travel. This is to ensure every possible protection factor is in place for the staff and the children in our care. While we understand the practicality of this may seem difficult for some we will continue to put the safety of everyone first and this is a precautionary measure that we have chosen to have in place. The only exception to this is if you have already quarantined for 14 days after your arrival back into the UK.
3 Implementing social distancing
It is very difficult to avoid a level of physical interaction with young children and it is important to have their wellbeing at the centre of everything we do. If a child is in need of a hug, then it would not be fair to deny them this. To help with social distancing the children will be grouped in small groups (a bubble) with a practitioner and this group will work alongside a buddy group to ensure that an adult is always available. Social distancing will also apply to coat pegs, seating arrangements and sleeping.
3.1 Playrooms and groups
We aim to keep children in their groups which will be identified by their usual room name e.g. The Nest. We would only merge groups if there was no other choice.
The practitioners will organise designated areas, indoors and outdoors, for the children in their groups. Children will have access to the full range of activities that are considered safe at this time.
As always, children will eat in their rooms or outdoors.
The practitioners will serve the children.
No food will be eaten out of shared platters or containers.
The children will need to bring in their own, named, drinking cup and take it home each day to be washed.
Drinks will be offered at 30 minute intervals instead of cups being at the children’s level to avoid accidental sharing of cups.
All employees will undergo a return-to-work induction and training on the new Safe Operating Procedures, with emphasis on good hygiene practices and maintaining social distancing.
3.4 Fire drills and lockdown practice
If we have to respond to a fire or emergency lockdown, we will continue to manage social distancing, as far as possible. The safety of the children and employees will always come first.
We know that this is a very unusual and worrying time for everyone. It is very important that at the forefront of this heightened awareness of safe operating procedures, we do not forget that care and consideration must be taken of the need to ensure that everyone within the nursery community feels safe and secure. We will try our best to create a normal nursery environment and hope that you will bear with us.
We will concentrate on building secure attachments and we will continue observing and assessing the children, regularly updating our community facebook page. We will not be able to carry out lengthy handovers. We want our team to spend time with the children, playing and building their relationships.
We would always speak with you immediately if we had any concerns. If your child is expressing any concerns or worries, it is important that you inform the key person/Nursery Manager.
5.1 Settling in sessions/transitions
Parents may enter the nursery for the purpose of settling-in sessions, if not doing so would cause a child distress. The Manager will give further guidance on the day. It is important that social distancing continues to be maintained. The parents will not be able to spend time in the children’s rooms in order to minimise any risk of infection.
We will aim to organise groups of children who are due to transition so they can transition together. However, some children who were due to transition might need the reassurance of the family group they were part of in order to feel safe and secure and parents might prefer them to stay within a particular age group. The Nursery Manager will assist with this.
Visitors to the nursery will not be encouraged unless it involves a safeguarding issue that cannot be resolved by telephone. Interviews or meetings will be conducted via video conference. There will be no parents’ evenings for the time being, nor any other mass events such as pre-school graduations.
5.3 Nursery show-rounds
These will now take place on a Saturday.
Any contractors to the nursery will be reminded of National Institute for Health Protection guidance prior to entering the building.
6 Health, Hygiene and Safety
6.1 Reducing the spread of the virus
It is recognised that good hygiene and cleaning practices will significantly reduce the spread and transmission of the virus as well as everyone being alert to the symptoms. Doors and windows will be opened as much as possible.
An enhanced cleaning schedule will be implemented throughout and at the end of the day. Communal areas, door handles and shared facilities e.g. iPads, must be regularly cleaned. The Room Manager will be responsible for recording these cleaning schedules.
The rate of hand washing must be significantly increased. Everyone, including children, must wash their hands on arrival at nursery. If no wash basins are available, sanitiser will be available. There will be regular opportunities for hand washing throughout the day.
6.3 Use of Tissues
The children will be supported in age-appropriate ways to understand the steps they can take to keep themselves and others safe and this includes sneezing into a tissue (or their arm if immediate) and then to dispose of the tissue.
The children will be taken to the toilets and supervised. Hand washing signs will be displayed to ensure hand washing is thorough and the practitioners will talk to the children about why we are washing our hands.
All employees and children should wear clean clothing every day. If you have travelled on public transport, it is advised that you change your clothing on arrival at nursery. Children should bring one bag with changes of clothing to last their weekly booking pattern and take it home with them at the end of the week.
6.6 Risk assessments
All risk assessments will reflect the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Certain activities will be adapted or removed to reflect this risk e.g. going on trips using coaches.
6.7 Items from home
If your child requires a comforter e.g. soft toy or blanket, please bring it in a bag and then take home at the end of the day and wash it. We would prefer no toys or comforters to be brought into nursery but do understand that this could cause distress.
6.8 Resources at Nursery
Toys and resources that are difficult to clean will be removed, including cushions and soft toys. The children will only share toys and activities within their groups. We will aim to sanitise items at the end of each day.
7 Responding to a person displaying symptoms of COVID-19
7.1 A child
If a child is suspected of displaying coronavirus symptoms whilst attending the nursery, they should be collected as soon as possible and isolate at home in line with NHS guidance. The child must be tested before they return.
Whilst waiting to be collected, they will be isolated from others in a designated area. An employee will stay with them and will wear PPE.
If the child becomes very unwell, we will follow our normal emergency procedures and call 999.
The isolation area will be cleaned once the child has been collected.
7.2 An employee who displays symptoms
In the event of an employee developing coronavirus symptoms whilst at work, they will leave work as soon as possible and isolate at home in line with NHS guidance. They will be required to have a test before they return.
7.3 PPE Equipment
Government guidance is that PPE is not required for general use in nurseries to protect against COVID-19 transmission. Hand washing, effective cleaning and social distancing are the most effective measures. Gloves and aprons will be used for nappy changing and first aid. Aprons will be worn at mealtimes
7.4 Reporting, testing and tracing
Everyone is now eligible for a COVID-19 test, should they display coronavirus symptoms.
Any suspected or confirmed case must be reported to the Nursery Manager as soon as possible. If a positive result is confirmed, the practitioners and children associated with that group/bubble must self-isolate for 14 days before returning to nursery. Positive tests will be reported to the National Institute for Health Protection and Ofsted by the Nursery Manager.
The Nursery Manager is responsible for contacting the National Institute for Health Protection if a case is confirmed or if a symptomatic person is admitted to hospital, a possible case refuses testing, there are a cluster of possible cases/unexpected increase in absenteeism or a suspected case has a definite link to a confirmed case.
If there is reasonable evidence that a positive diagnosis was caused by exposure at work, this will be reported to RIDDOR.
If someone in your household, or someone you have close contact with, is contacted by track and trace and told they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, you need to be tested. If they test positive, then you will also need to self-isolate for 14 days even if you do not test positive yourself.
The Government’s tracing app is a way of helping to protect everyone.
8 Further guidance