COVID Policy – from January 2022
Statement of Intent
Footsteps Preschool intend to use this policy to provide precautionary measures to minimize transmission risks of disease in the setting during the COVID19 pandemic.
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 Organization (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 setting that assures compliance to the Government and leading bodies requirements with relation to Covid19. This policy will be reviewed regularly in line with the government guidelines.
The fundamental principles to be outlined in this policy are set out to ensure good hygiene practices as well as avoiding coming into contact with infected children and adults or anyone displaying symptoms. It states the protective measures put in place for children, parents, and staff as best as possible to ensure the risk of transmission is reduced. We will continue to follow our other policies if they do not conflict with this policy.
The main areas we will be considering are:
- Minimising contact with individuals who are unwell
- Maintaining personal and respiratory hygiene (regular handwashing, catch it, kill it, bin it)
- Increased cleaning routines, ensuring cleanliness of the environment (especially frequently touched surfaces and resources)
- The use of Protective and Personal Equipment (PPE)
Focus/ Areas of Consideration / Recommendations
- Only children who are symptom free or have completed the required isolation period following a positive test should attend preschool.
- Anyone who have had close contact with a positive covid case no longer require to isolate. (Unless they have symptoms and test positive)
- It is the parent / careers responsibility to be open and honest with the setting and keep your child at home for five days if they display symptoms: HIGH TEMPERATURE, CONTINUOUS COUGH, LOSS OF TASTE, or have had a positive test result. They can return to preschool after 6 days if they test negative on day 5 and 6. Children must have 2 negative tests before returning to preschool.
- Any child living with a positive case can now attend preschool but must be closely monitored for symptoms of illness.
- Social distancing is no longer a mandatory requirement
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 on entry and continuously throughout the day, coughing/ sneezing into an elbow, using a tissue and adopting a catch it, kill it, bin it regime.
- EYFS framework will continue to be delivered through play and adult led activities.
- Children will have access of fresh drinks of water using their own individual drinks bottles throughout the day.
- Staff should only attend preschool if they are symptom free.
- Staff will take lateral flow tests if they display any symptoms of illness.
- Positive test results must be reported to the manager immediately by phone please.
- If staff test positive they must remain home for 5 days, then test on day 5 and 6. They can return once they have had two negative test results.
- Staff hours, days they work and length of day may change in order to meet childcare demands and considerations within this policy.
Physical distancing/ grouping /safety
- Staff to be informed of measures in place and any new or updated policies and procedures.
- Wearing of masks is now not necessary but recommended to be worn in crowded places.
- Staff can choose to continue to wear additional PPE during intimate care and wear disposable gloves and apron if completing one to one care and if supporting an ill child with Covid symptoms a face mask and/or visor should also be worn if a 2 meter distance cannot be maintained.
- After dealing with an ill child who displayed symptoms the staff member 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.
- Staff will be responsible to ensure appropriate cleaning takes place and enough ventilation is in the room such as opening windows. If doors are open, staff will ensure the safety of the children is maintained through continuous risk assessments.
- All staff members must receive appropriate instruction and training in infection control and the standard operating procedure and risk assessments within which they will be operating.
- Online training on noodle is available to allow their training levels to be maintained if appropriate.
- Only parents/carers who are symptom free and or have completed the required isolation periods will be able to drop off or collect their child.
- All visits are by appointment only and must be recorded with full details of who will be in attendance and their contact numbers.
- All visitors must use hand gel on arrival, log in with the visitors book.
Hygiene and Health & Safety
- All children and staff must wash their hands upon arrival at the nursery for at least 20 seconds.
- Hand washing stations are located outside the front and back door.
- Children and staff members should be encouraged to wash their hands frequently, this includes before and after eating food, after visiting the toilet or playing outdoors, after sneezing, blowing their nose or coughing into their hand and dealing with unwell individuals.
- 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. A steam cleaner is provided alongside cleaning fluids.
- Communal area, touch points and hand washing facilities must be cleaned and sanitised regularly and cleaned thoroughly at the end of the day and sanitised at the beginning of each day.
- A deep clean may be needed after a child has become ill in the area they were waiting.
- Every weekend the scout hut cleaner will deep clean and disinfect each room to ensure walls floors and all other surfaces are completely germ free.
- All waste must be disposed of in a hygienic and safe manner following government guidelines.
- Tissues must be immediately disposed of and placed in a bin with a bag.
- Bodily fluids must be double bagged and disposed of in a bin with a bag, lid, and foot pedal.
- Nose wiping must include the use of hand gel or handwashing directly after wiping.
- All items within the setting requiring laundering must be washed in line with NHS laundry guidelines.
- The setting and all activities should 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.
- Regard should be taken to ensure the rotation of learning experiences involving materials which are not easily washable such as malleable materials (dough, clay) and the suspension of the sharing of food and utensils.
- The playhouse will be closed to ensure children are not enclosed in small spaces.
- 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 always be maintained. PPE should be disposed of following government guidelines.
- Face masks may be reintroduced if there is an outbreak in the setting.
- Keep windows open where possible to ensure good levels of ventilation.
- If doors are opened, ensure the children safety is maintained with locked gates.
- A monitor is placed in the kitchen to assess ventilation levels. This must show green at all times. If the monitor falls below green staff must increase the levels of ventilation by opening doors and windows.
- All resources required for play and learning experiences of children should be regularly washed and/or sterilized regularly.
Supplies Procurement & monitoring
- The setting 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.
- The setting 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 facemasks. These items will be washed at a high temperature in accordance with relevant guidelines and separate to any other 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, getting a test as soon as possible.
- Whilst waiting for the child to be collected they should be isolated from others in the office. A window should be opened for ventilation.
- The staff member will wear suitable PPE while caring for the child.
- The area should be thoroughly cleaned, immediately after.
- 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.
In the event of a positive case, outbreak, or closure.
- Footsteps will follow DFE guidelines for our area and recognise the detrimental effects on children if settings close. We will only consider closing as a last resort, if staff are not available to work due to illness.
- Parents/ carers are responsible to notify a member of the management team at the earliest point of receiving a positive test result.
- If the preschool has been exposed to a positive case they will follow the guidance given by the DFE and Department of health.
- If advised, a member of the management team will then notify all families immediately to notify of possible closures or to arrange immediate collection of their child.
- Additional cleaning will be arranged to ensure minimal spread of the virus.
- Staff will continue to contact the parents and families via tapestry and facebook with activities, videos, progress reports and well being checks or to answer any questions and offer support.
Children and staff travelling from abroad
- Anyone travelling to England following trips abroad must adhere to current travel legislation. Parents/carers should consider the impact on their childs learning if they have to quarantine or isolate on return.
If any child or staff display covid symptoms they must not attend preschool.
Any positive cases of covid must isolate for a period of 5 days. On day five a lateral flow test must be taken with a subsequent test 24 hours later. If both tests are negative and they do not have a temperature, the child/staff can return to preschool.
If there is an outbreak at preschool, all staff and children may be asked to take a lateral flow test each day before attending. Results must be sent to preschool.
Any parent / career failing to inform the setting of a child’s positive result that continues to attend will risk immediate termination of their contract with Footsteps Preschool for putting other children, staff and families at risk.