Next Steps and guiding principles
We continue to monitor the situation closely and ask that all families follow the official advice at all times. If you have any questions in addition to the information provided here, please speak to a member of staff at pre-school.
As the transmission rates of Coronavirus have decreased, it is anticipated that we may be able, from the week commencing 1st June 2020 welcome some children back to pre-school. This will only happen provided the five key tests set out by Government justify it is safe to do so.
Younger children have been prioritised in the first phase of wider opening for several reasons. This approach is underpinned by scientific evidence that suggests:
• Children of all ages have less severe symptoms than adults if they contract Coronavirus
• younger children are less likely to become unwell if infected with Coronavirus
• Limiting the number of children returning reduces the size of groups coming into contact with each other.
• There is also evidence of detrimental impact, time away from education can have on children.
This approach is in line with other countries across Europe who have begun to re-open pre-schools. Approaches between countries will vary slightly depending on their public health circumstances.
All eligible children are entitled to attend – it will no longer be necessary for parents of eligible children to keep them at home. In addition, and in line with existing guidance, vulnerable children are expected and encouraged to attend where it is appropriate for them to do so.
By gradually increasing the numbers of children attending pre-school we are able to put into place protective measures to reduce risks.
Staff and children will be eligible for testing if they become ill with coronavirus symptoms, as will members of their household. A negative result will enable children to return to the setting. A positive result will ensure appropriate action can be taken to protect the children and staff at the setting.
The following principles will apply to the initial re-opening of pre-school :
• Children or staff who have been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable due to pre-existing medical conditions have been advised to shield. People in this category should not be attending pre-school.
• Clinically vulnerable people are those considered to be at a higher risk of severe illness from Coronavirus. Parents should follow medical advise if their child is in this category. Staff in this category should work from home where possible.
• A child or member of staff who lives with someone who is clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable) including those who are pregnant, can attend pre-school.
• If a child or member of staff lives in a household with someone who is extremely clinically vulnerable as set out in the guidance on shielding we advise that they remain at home as we cannot guarantee stringent social distancing can be understood our adhered to by our pre-school children.
• Staff and children should not attend if they have symptoms or are self-isolating due to symptoms in their household.
• Protective measures will be put in place for staff and children, as far as it is possible, to ensure that the risk of transmission is reduced.
A risk assessment directly addressing the risks associated with Coronavirus has been completed to assess the controls needed to protect staff and children. Our risk assessment addresses the safe care of our group of children, consistency in staffing arrangements and the statutory requirements laid out in the EYFS.
Small group sizes and staffing
One of the protective measures we can put in place is to have a small group sizes. Providers are expected to ensure that there are no more than 16 children in a group in early years settings. In this current first phase of returning children to pre school, our register is limited to a maximum of 16 children, with a daily maximum of 12 children attending to ensure we meet the statutory ratio’s laid out in the Early Years Foundation Stage. Children will not be able to change session or group until further guidance relaxes these rules. We are additionally implementing a range of protective measures detailed below. It is recognised that our early years children cannot be expected to remain 2 metres apart from each other or staff. The following has therefore been taken into consideration:
• Avoiding contact with anyone with symptoms
• Frequent handwashing and good hygiene practices
• Regular cleaning of setting
• Minimising contact and mixing
In pre-school the Early Years Foundation Stage continues to apply. We will continue to deliver the learning and development requirements of the EYFS predominately using the pre school garden.
The DfE guidance on Implementing Protective Measures in Education and Childcare Settings contains detailed advise for settings on:
• Cleaning, including supplies of cleaning and handwashing products
• Testing and tracing
• Personal protective equipment
• What settings should do in response to a case of COVID-19 being confirmed
and is further detailed below.
• Areas to be cleaned with normal household disinfectant after use. This will reduce the risk of passing on any infection
• Disposable gloves and aprons to be worn for cleaning. These will be double bagged – once in a nappy sack, then in a bin bag and stored for 72 hours before adding to the regular rubbish
• Disposable cloths to be used for cleaning surfaces with soapy water. Surfaces should then be disinfected.
• Particular attention to be given to high-touch areas such as backs of chairs, light switches, taps, door handles, grab-rails.
• If an area has been heavily contaminated FROM A PERSON WITH CORONAVIRUS use protection for eyes, mouth and nose in addition to wearing an apron and gloves
• Wash hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds and after removing gloves and aprons and other protection used while cleaning
• Do not use the mop.
• Only disposable cleaning cloths and paper roll should be used to clean all hard surfaces.
• Avoid creating splashes and spray when cleaning
• Items that cannot be cleaning using detergents or laundered (for instance, our sofa) this should not be used as we cannot clean it effectively.
• Any items heavily contaminated with bodily fluids that cannot be cleaned by washing should be disposed of.
• Staff uniforms should be bagged up and taken home at the end of the session. Items should be washed in accordance with manufacturing instructions. Do not shake dirty laundry. Wash and dry completely. Anything used to carry uniform home should also be cleaned and disinfected in line with the cleaning guidance above.
• Rubbish and waste from cleaning and usual day to day activities should be put in a plastic rubbish bag and tied when full.
• Waste should be stored away from children
Testing and tracing
Where a setting has a positive case, Public Health England will advise on the appropriate course of action, and the relevant group of people with whom the individual has mixed closely, will be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 14 days. Please be aware that if there is a positive case at pre-school. The setting will close and all children and staff will need to self-isolate for 14 days before re-opening.
Personal Protective Equipment
PPE, over and above that required for cleaning is unlikely to be needed at Pre-school and only if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained from any child, young person or other learner displaying coronavirus symptom
What we will do in response to a case of COVID-19 being confirmed
If anyone becomes unwell with a new cough or high temperature whilst at pre-school they must go home, in the case of a child, be collected as soon as possible. They must then follow the COVID-19 guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection.
Children awaiting collection will be moved away from other children and adults in a well ventilated space.
If a child needs to use a bathroom they should use a separate bathroom to the one usually used. This will then need cleaning and disinfecting in line with procedures outlined above.
PPE should be worn by the member of staff attending to the child awaiting collection IF a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained.
In an emergency, call 999 if they are seriously ill, injured or their life is at risk.
If a member of staff has helped someone who was unwell with a high temperature or new, continuous cough they do not need to go home unless they develop symptoms themselves (in which case a test is available) or if the child tests positive. Following our Protective Measures staff should wash hands for 20 seconds and clean affected areas in line with our cleaning procedure.
Someone who develops symptoms compatible with coronavirus should be sent home and will need to self-isolate for 7 days. Other household members should self-isolate for 14 days. All staff and children attending the setting will have access to a test if they develop symptoms of coronavirus and we encourage you to be tested in this scenario.
If a child or staff member test negative, they can return to their setting and the other household members can end their self-isolation.
Where a chid or staff member test positive, the rest of the group will need to continue self-isolation for 14 days (this will include any staff member that worked with that child earlier in the week). Household members of that wider group do not need to self-isolate unless the child or staff member they live with subsequently develops symptoms.
As part of the test and trace programme, if other cases are detected within the cohort or wider setting, Public Health England will advise on the most appropriate action to take. This may involve a larger number of children and adults self-isolating.
To access testing parents should use the 111 online coronavirus service.
Whilst we will adhere to GDPR and Confidentiality, we will have to inform parents if there is a suspected case of Coronavirus at pre-school.
No one with symptoms should attend for any reason
Families must notify pre-school if their child is unable to attend so that we can explore the reason and address barriers together.
Families must notify pre-school if their child is unable to attend due to displaying symptoms of Coronavirus
The DfE will continue to monitor attendance at early years settings via local authorities.
Staff-wellbeing and workloads
The Management team and committee remain conscious of the wellbeing of all staff, including the management team and committee members themselves. We endeavour to implement flexible working practices in a way that promotes a good work-life balance and supports all staff.
Parents and staff are encouraged to walk, cycle or drive where possible and to avoid using public transport.
Costs associated with opening for more children
The DfE guidance “Actions for education and childcare settings to prepare for wider opening from 1 June 2020” confirms that early years settings will continue to be paid by local authorities for provision of free entitlement. Where parents access hours beyond the free entitlement they are eligible for, we shall continue to charge parents in the normal way.
Key worker Groups
As we slowly increase our occupancy levels and staff return to their normal working pattern it may be that your child’s key person may temporarily have to change. We will keep you informed if this is the case.
Daily Procedure and changes to usual routines
• Staff will set up classroom and outdoor space on arrival in the morning whilst adhering to social distancing, cleaning and handwashing guidance.
• Wheel out coat trolley (and lunch trolley when we resume lunches) to the main gate.
• Unfortunately there will be some changes to the resources we can offer at time. The following resources will not be accessible for the time being:
o Dressing up
o Soft toys
o Water play to be reintroduced at a later date and with consideration to ongoing government guidance.
• As much as possible, resources will not be shared – for instance blocks would be divided up between children using them and pens and pencils will be divided between children and cleaned before being offered to other children.
• Children’s artwork will be displayed at pre-school to reduce the likelihood of spread back into the home environment.
• Surfaces and resources will be wiped down straight after use using warm soapy water or anti-bacterial spray, dilute bleach etc and following the cleaning and protective measures highlighted above.
• Children will have snack prepared for them but this will no longer be self-service.
• Carpet times or small group activities at the beginning and end of each day will be reintroduced slowly and when considered appropriate.
• Water bottles to be kept out of reach to discourage children from accessing each others.
• As much play as possible to be hosted out doors.
On the gate/For Parents
• Parents to respect social distancing whilst waiting for pre-school to open and following the one way system painted on the pavement.
• Only one parent should attend at drop off or collection.
• Depending on attendance, staggered drop-off and collection may be implemented.
• Depending on attendance, gate may be latched open during arrival/ departure time.
• Parents not to access site further than entrance by bike shed.
• Children to be dropped off one at a time, parents are asked to wait for the parent in front to leave the premises before entering.
• Parents are asked to place Bags and coats on the coat trolley and Lunchboxes onto lunch trolley
• Children to use hand-sanitizer to clean hands then play in the garden supervised by other member(s) of staff.
• Parents will need to manage children that are unwilling to leave them. We cannot breach social distancing to take children from parents.
• Children can only attend 1 early years setting. (ie they cannot attend other settings on different days or be brought or collected by a childminder).
• Parents to apply suntan lotion prior to children’s arrival at pre school.
• We reserve the right to refuse a child at pre school if we have good reason to suspect, or have knowledge that parents/carers have breached government advice with regard to social distancing.
Implementing Safety Precautions
• If our numbers increase smaller groups may need to be established:
o Children will not mix between groups
o Staff will not mix between groups
o Indoor and outdoor space will be allocated to each group to minimize risk. Orange barrier fencing to be installed to divide the outdoor area in two for safe outdoor play.
o Children and staff will remain in designated space/room and allocated outdoor area.
• Staff to try to avoid getting down to eye-level with children in close contact.
• In close proximity, staff should try remain above or behind children (if you think about trajectory this maintains a reasonable distance between a child’s mouth possibly ejecting Covid-19 and our mouths/noses inhaling it. If we stand behind children, the likelihood is even less.
• If anyone begins to show symptoms during a sessions they must be removed from other children and to be collected as soon as possible.
• Anyone who develops symptoms: cough, temperature etc MUST follow the 7 day isolation period with family members isolating for 14 days as detailed above.
• Children and staff MUST NOT attend pre school if any other family member is isolating due to showing symptoms of COVID-19.
• Parents must have arrangements in place to collect children promptly should they begin to show symptoms during a pre school session.
• Nappy changing to be moved into the hallway or outdoors if play is in the garden as these are better ventilated areas. Nappy changing to be carried out “side on” as we do at the moment and with the addition of PPE as detailed below.
• Additional cleaning in operation throughout the session.
• Staff will arrive in uniform for the session/day and to change out of uniform at the end of session. Clothes to be bagged up and washed prior to the next session whilst following the guidance given on cleaning outlined above
• PPE – gloves and aprons to be used for cleaning, managing children’s personal care, preparing lunches etc.
• Staff will follow guidance on increased handwashing as soon as possible after any interaction with children or surfaces
• Hand sanitizers are available at various points around pre-school. Staff are encouraged to use them regularly.
• A cleaning schedule has been implemented following the guidance given on cleaning outlined above with a focus on cleaning high-touch surfaces such as taps, door handles, chairs, tables, handrails (on the outside path), gate, keypad etc. Toilets to be cleaned after each use (adults and child).
• The school caretaker will complete an additional cleaning routine of “high touch” areas during the day.
• Tapestry observations to be completed during pre school
• Manager or Deputy to make contact with parents if children do not arrive for a pre-planned session.
• Pre School staff are expected to adhere to the government advice with regard to social distancing and will not be allowed on site should the management team have reason to suspect this has not been followed without good reason.
• Manager/Deputy to make contact with parents to arrange collection if children become unwell during pre school.
• As per existing contracts of employment staff MUST inform one of the management team as soon as possible if they are unable to fulfil their session on the rota.
We will of course continue to follow government guidance at all times. As this is continually changing we may need to update you with those changes. Links to the current guidance that has informed this document along with our risk assessment can be found below.
We thank you for your continuing support and for your patience as we continue to adapt our working practices to ensure the safety of your children and our staff.
We look forward to welcoming children back to pre school