Honeybees preschool intends to use this policy to provide precautionary measures to minimise transmission risks of disease in the setting during an epidemic or pandemic. It also states ideas for continuity of business if allowed.
Legislation and leading authorities which have guided and influenced this policy are:
Coronavirus Act 2020, Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Government Briefings, Public Health England (PHE) and World Health Organisation (WHO). Advice from but not limited to, The Secretary of State, The Chief Medical Officer, Local Authority (LA) and Department for Education (DfE). The policy also has regard to Ofsted and Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) guidance where appropriate.
Aim of Policy
This Policy defines and assists the operating arrangements in place within the preschool that assures compliance to the Government and leading bodies requirements with relation to the outbreak of a pandemic such as Covid19. This information builds upon our current procedures for areas such as Safeguarding, Child Protection and Equality and Diversity, however new practices may emerge as the situation continues. The policy and considerations may evolve and be built upon as the situation deepens and new precautionary measures have been introduced and practices have been reflected upon.
As early years providers we ensure to offer a continuum of very high standards of practice of childcare and education. The fundamental principles to be outlined in this policy are set out to ensure reasonable social distancing are enabled and that good hygiene practices are implemented as well as avoiding coming into contact with infected children and adults or anyone displaying symptoms. It states that the protective measures put in place for children, parents and staff reduce the risk of transmission. We will continue to follow all our other policies as long as they do not conflict with this policy and be guided by the EYFS as best as we can. The main areas we will be considering are:
- Minimising contact with individuals who are unwell
- Maintaining personal and respiratory hygiene (handwashing, catch it, kill it, bin it)
- Ensuring cleanliness of the environment (especially frequently touched surfaces)
- Minimising general contact and mixing (creating small groups and placing a temporarily cap on our numbers)
- The use of Protective and Personal Equipment (PPE)
Focus/ Areas of Consideration / Recommendations Children
- Only children who are symptom free or have completed the required isolation period should attend the setting.
- Providers will take the temperatures of children and staff on arrival and will risk assess any children /staff who are returning after a period of isolation.
- Extremely vulnerable children should continue under government advice (to shield).
- Families who attend at least two settings should choose only one for the remainder of the term to ensure we can obtain the children in small groups remains small.
- Children will be organised into small groups and sessions will operate solely from the outdoor area. Staff may exercise their own judgement during the day for the high standards of safety for all children.
- Children in their groups should have the same staff team caring for them wherever possible to limit the amount of people coming into contact with each other.
- Smaller amounts of children in the whole setting may be advised or preferable. As we usually run to capacity most days this could be achieved by, but not limited to: o A temporary cap on the amount of children in the setting at anyone time.
- Temporarily limiting funded hours to only 1 full day per child initially, ensuring all children have access to some preschool time over the remainder of the term
- Changing children’s hours to one full day rather than an afternoon or morning, Parents can still collect their child at any time
- Only initially allowing keyworker, vulnerable and children transitioning to school to attend
- Grouping children to certain days, such as in groups of children moving to school, where it could help with transitions.
- Prioritising children such as those who are vulnerable, those with special educational needs, those from households where both parents work (or work full time)
- Sunscreen should be applied by the parents/carers before the child arrives at the preschool. T shirts covering shoulders and leggings, loose trousers or long shorts would be preferable to minimise how much top up of sunscreen the preschool staff will apply.
Wellbeing and education
- Children should be supported in age appropriate ways to understand the steps they can take to keep themselves safe including regular hand washing, coughing into an elbow, using a tissue and adopting a catch it, kill it, bin it regime.
- Children should be supported to understand the changes and challenges they may be encountering as a result of Covid-19 and staff need to ensure they are aware of children’s attachments and their need for emotional support at this time.
- EYFS framework will continue to be delivered through play and adult led activities.
- Parents will be asked to provide a piece of cut up fruit for snack time and we will provide additional water and milk throughout the session. We will also ask the parents to bring in a named water bottle for their child.
- Staff should only attend preschool if they are symptom free, have completed the required isolation period or achieved a negative test result. All staff and their household are eligible for testing if they display symptoms.
- Providers will take the temperature of staff on arrival and a risk assessment with a health questionnaire will be completed for staff returning from isolation.
- Consideration should be given to limiting the number of staff in the preschool at any one time to only those required to care for the expected occupancy levels on any given day.
- Staff hours, days they work and length of day may change in order to meet child care demands and considerations within this policy.
- Staff will complete a risk assessment before opening to address any risks from the virus and ensure appropriate safe measures are in place to control risks.
- Staff to be informed of measures in place and sign a disclaimer to state they have read and understood the preschool policies and procedures.
- Wherever possible staff should remain with the small group of children, the groups of children who they are allocated to and not come into contact with other groups.
- Emergency revisions to the EYFS may have been implemented which provides some flexibility on ratios and qualifications to make this feasible.
- Staff have been advised by the government not to wear PPE such as facemasks during their day, but should continue to wear PPE at the usual times such as intimate care which includes wearing disposable gloves and an apron.
If a member of staff is caring for a child who has developed symptoms of covid 19 throughout the day they will be required to wear a face mask whilst they look after the child who is isolated from the group waiting to be collected. This is because a 2 metre distance is not able to be kept from a child displaying symptoms.
- The staff member who was caring for the unwell child should continue to wear PPE and clean the affected area with disinfectant.
- All PPE should be removed and disposed of following current government guidelines, the staff member should wash their hands for at least 20 seconds.
- The staff member who supported the unwell child does not need to go home unless they are developing symptoms themselves.
- Social distancing must be maintained during breaks. This may be achieved through a range of strategies including the staggering of breaks and staff taking a break in the pavilion kitchen or their car.
- Staff members should avoid physical contact with each other including handshakes, hugs etc.
- Staff to wear fresh, clean clothes for each session. If uniform isn’t able to be laundered in time for the next session they are in, the staff member should speak to their manager and fresh suitable clothes should be worn instead.
- Advise staff to remove their work clothes before they enter their home and take a shower immediately to remove any germs they may have picked up.
- Where possible, meetings and training sessions should be conducted through virtual conferencing.
- All staff members must receive appropriate instruction and training in infection control and the standard operating procedures and risk assessments within which they will be operating.
- Online training may be available to allow their training levels to be maintained if appropriate.
- Only parents who are symptom free and or have completed the required isolation periods will be able to drop off or collect their child.
- We will aim to minimise the ‘pinch points’ during the day and limit drop off and pick up to one parent per family.
- We will advise and ensure that parents follow the social distancing guidelines and ensure that queues are avoided for families waiting to enter preschool.
- Parents will be called forward to the wooded area to drop off or collect their child.
- When parents are waiting to drop off or collect their child, social distancing should be maintained in a safe area sticking to government social distancing policies.
- Consider allowing a parent to enter the first gated part of the wooded area for the purpose of settling an upset child. If a child has become distressed and needs the parent to settle them, this should take place in the gated area. The provider should consider measures to minimise contact between the parent and other children and staff members.
- Parents should receive clear communication 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 inform preschool of their circumstances and if they plan to keep their child away, this helps preschool to conform to our safeguarding policy.
- Attendance to the setting should be restricted to only children and staff as far as practically possible and visitors should not be permitted to the preschool unless essential (e.g. essential building maintenance).
- Where essential visits are required these should be made outside of the usual preschool operational hours where possible.
- As far as possible parents and carers should not enter the premises or the pavilion unless there is an emergency.
- Wherever possible staff and parents should travel to preschool alone, using their own transport or if possible walk.
- If public transport is necessary, current guidance on the use of public transport must be followed.
- Parents should avoid visiting any shops on the way to preschool.
- Parents are advised that they cannot leave any travel accessories including buggies, car seats, scooters in the setting premises or grounds.
Hygiene and Health & Safety
- All children and staff must wash their hands upon arrival at the nursery for at least 20 seconds.
- Hand sanitizer will be available for all children and staff to use regularly.
- Children and staff members should be encouraged to wash their hands frequently, this includes before and after eating food, after visiting the toilet, after sneezing, blowing their nose or coughing into their hand and dealing with unwell people.
- Bodily fluid spills should follow the correct procedures as normal.
- An enhanced cleaning schedule must be implemented that includes furniture, surfaces and children’s toys and equipment and all staff are responsible in their area of work.
- Communal areas, touch points and hand washing facilities must be cleaned and sanitised regularly and cleaned thoroughly at the end of every session.
- A deep clean may be needed after a child has become ill in the area they were waiting.
- All waste must be disposed of in a hygienic and safe manner following government guidelines.
- Tissues etc that have been used by a child or staff member with suspected Covid 19 must be disposed of following the government guidelines.
- Tissues must be immediately disposed of and placed in a bin with a bag, lid and foot pedal.
- Bodily fluids must be double bagged and disposed of in a bin with a bag, lid and foot pedal.
- Tissue bins will be emptied regularly throughout the day.
- Staff will not be required to wear their uniform if it cannot be safely laundered before the next session.
- The setting will be risk assessed before opening or going ahead to address the risks from the virus and due consideration given to any adaptations to usual practice. Sensible measures should be put in place and policies and procedures followed.
- It is expected that this would include, but not be limited to, the suspension of learning experiences involving materials which are not easily washable such as malleable materials (playdough, clay) and the suspension of the sharing of food and utensils.
- Limit the resources that we have out available for the children including any toys which have intricate pieces that would be hard to clean.
- Remove anything which cannot be easily wiped down or cleaned at the end of the day.
- Play food, play cutlery and crockery etc. should be removed or anything else which may be ‘mouthed’ by many children.
- Baking, food play and finger painting should be avoided.
- Water play should be restricted to the water butt where children can access this with their own utensil and container. Shared water play using the large trays is to be avoided.
- The use of the large bubble cars will be prioritized over the small cars with have a more intricate design.
- The use of large equipment such as obstacle courses which involve cones, hoops, tunnel-play, large balls and stepping-stones will be prioritised over other forms of play such as stickle bricks and lego.
- Government guidance is that PPE is not required for general use in early years settings to protect against COVID- 19 transmission.
- PPE should continue to be worn and disposed of as normal for nappy changing, one to one care and the administration of first aid.
- If a child shows symptoms, staff should wear a face mask, visor, disposable gloves and apron if a 2-meter distance cannot be maintained at all times. PPE should be disposed of following government guidelines.
- Where premises have been temporarily closed during the lockdown period or where they may need to temporarily close during future lockdowns appropriate Health & Safety checks should be conducted prior to reopening including legionnaires checks.
- Keep windows open where possible to ensure good levels of ventilation. If doors are opened ensure the children safety is maintained with locked gates.
- Children should not be permitted to bring items from home into the setting unless absolutely essential for their wellbeing. Any comforters that are brought in from home should be clean and hygienic. Any belongings that are brought in from home should remain in the child’s bag in the wooded area.
- All resources required for play and learning experiences of children should be regularly washed and/or sterilized. Any resources which are difficult to clean should be removed.
- Equipment used by staff such as stationary, tablets etc. should be allocated to individual staff members where possible and cleaned regularly in between use.
Supplies Procurement & Monitoring
- The preschool should ensure an adequate supply of essential supplies and contingency plans such as additional suppliers are in place to minimise the impact of any shortages of supplies. (Anti-bacterial sprays, Gloves, hand sanitizer, hand soap, paper towels).
- The preschool will not be able to operate without essential supplies required for ensuring infection control.
- A monitoring system for the usage of PPE is essential to ensure that a supply of stock is available to all who require it as and when required to meet the operational needs of the setting. When stocks are low, other options may be considered, such as the use of washable tabards and facemasks. These items will be washed at a high temperature in accordance with relevant guidelines and separate to any other preschool washing.
Responding to a suspected case
- In the event of a child developing suspected coronavirus symptoms whilst attending the setting, they should be collected as soon as possible and isolate at home in line with the current NHS guidance.
- Whilst waiting for the child to be collected they should be isolated from others in a previously identified room or area. If possible, a window should be opened for ventilation.
- The staff member responsible for the child during this time should be a staff member from their group. The provider will provide suitable PPE for the staff member caring for the child such as a face mask, visor disposable gloves and apron.
- The area should be thoroughly cleaned immediately if the area cannot be left unvisited, and if the area can be left unvisited then it should be cleaned after 72 hours.
- The person responsible for cleaning ideally should be the person dealing with the unwell child and should continue to wear their PPE. This should then be disposed of according to current government guidelines.
- In the event of a staff member developing suspected coronavirus symptoms whilst working at the nursery, they should return home immediately and isolate at home in line with the NHS guidance. They should also follow current testing advice for themselves and their household.
- Once Early years settings open to more children, all children who are attending a childcare setting will have access to a test if they display symptoms of coronavirus, and are encouraged to get tested in this scenario. The aim is to enable children to get back to childcare, and their parents or carers not to need to self-isolate any longer than necessary, if the test proves to be negative. A positive test will ensure rapid action can be taken to protect other children and staff at Honeybees.
- We ask all parents and carers to ensure they organise a test for their child, in the event that they develop coronavirus symptoms, and notify us immediately of a positive test. Parents can access a test for under 5’s by contacting 111.
Monitoring of this policy
This policy will be reviewed annually by the setting managers/Committee. New government legislation and policies will be incorporated appropriately as and when required or informed.
Adopted by Authorized Signatures: Tina Lambert and Lisa Sanford
Review Date: Ongoing - (September 2020)