FAQ regarding COVID-19

Are nursery educators and children expected to wear a mask in nursery?
Nursery educators within the building, not working directly with children will wear a face covering to reduce the risk of transmission. The World Health Organisation (WHO) published a new statement on the 21 August on when children should wear face coverings. They now advise that “children aged 12 and over should wear a mask under the same conditions as adults, in particular when they cannot guarantee at least a 1-metre distance from others and there is widespread transmission in the area.” This update does not affect early years as Public Health England advises that for safety reasons, face masks should not be used for children under three. In addition, misuse may inadvertently increase the risk of transmission and there may also be negative effects on communication and thus children’s development. The majority of staff in early years settings will not require PPE beyond what they would normally need for their work. PPE is only needed in a very small number of cases. Children whose care routinely already involves the use of PPE due to their intimate care needs will continue to receive their care in accordance with our policy. A face mask will be worn by a member of staff if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained with a child who becomes unwell with symptoms of coronavirus while at nursery until they can return home. For example, if they need personal care.
Are you offering any remote services for children who are unable to attend nursery during COVID-19?

We understand how video calls have offered wonderful opportunities for families and communities to stay connected during these challenging times. However, considering the ages of the children that we care for, the evidence we have taken guidance from suggests that video calls for learning at this age can be overwhelming and lead to a feeling of bewilderment. Instead we have provided support that families can use at their own time and pace if they choose to. We have created a new section on our website – resources for home. Here we have a wide range of activities directly in line with our nursery ethos that we know our children will enjoy and have the potential to learn lots from. Here is a link to this page https://www.ktbkids.co.uk/activities-to-do-at-home/

Can I still bring in a bag for my child each day?

Parents will be asked to provide full packets of sealed nappies and wipes that we can wipe upon arrival. This avoids the need to bring in supplies each day. We will ask for parents to bring in essential items only such as a change of clothes in a sealed bag that can be wiped upon arrival. We have never encouraged children to bring in toys from home, but we will now enforce this.

Can my child still attend more than one childcare setting?

Government guidance recommends that children should attend just one setting wherever possible and parents should be encouraged to minimise as far as possible the number of education and childcare settings their child attends.

Do I need to inform anyone at nursery if I have a holiday planned?

Government guidance on travel is consistently changing and it is important for the safety of everyone that we follow the most current advice. We ask our families to be open about any foreign travel from anyone in the household so that we can ensure that we do not expose our nursery to any unnecessary risk.

Currently you are not required to self-isolate when you arrive in England, if you are travelling from countries that are:

  • covered by the travel corridor exemption
  • within the common travel area (Ireland, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man)
  • British overseas territories

You will need to self-isolate if you visited or made a transit stop in a country or territory that is not on the list in the 14 days before you arrive in England.

This applies to all travel to England, by train, ferry, coach, air or any other route.

The list for the countries covered by the travel corridor exemption is here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-corridors#countries-and-territories-with-no-self-isolation-requirement-on-arrival-in-england.

Do staff travel to work by public transport?

If it is not possible for staff to cycle or walk to work, some of our staff may need to use public transport. This is also true of some families. When it is necessary to travel by public transport, we ask that public guidance must be followed including wearing a face covering.
Staff will change into their uniform upon arriving at work. Staff and parents are advised to travel alone to nursery or to maintain social distancing. Here is a link to the guidance for the public on safer guidance for travel: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers

Does the nursery building comply with health and safety requirements?

From the guidance that we have, ventilation is one of the most important factors to consider. We are lucky that we have a wonderful flow of fresh air throughout our nursery. We have made changes to our inside space to be able to freely open all windows to maximise this flow of fresh air throughout all rooms.

Has the nursery layout changed significantly to accommodate the requirements of COVID-19?

Our nursery ethos promotes an uncluttered and stimulating environment. We have always placed very careful consideration to how the resources are laid out and we believe that less is more when setting the room for play. We have large spacious spaces within the nursery; we never have lots of children within the rooms and educators and children show care for the resources. Whilst we do have soft furnishings throughout our nursery, we have removed soft toys, cushions and blankets from being freely accessible, so they are not shared. These resources do remain available for children, but our educators can remove them straight into our laundry after a child has finished with them before they are returned. Relaxation zones are important for children’s wellbeing and we have carefully considered how incorporating more sensory resources in these areas can reduce the need for soft toys and blankets.

How are you supporting your staff during these challenging times?

We place staff wellbeing high on our agenda and offer extensive support, training and regular in-house mindfulness. Throughout this epidemic we have maintained fortnightly remote practically mindful sessions for our team with an expert provider as an outlet for open discussion, formal mindfulness practice and relaxation. We operate an open-door policy and we always listen to the individual needs of each employee and endeavour to do all we can to be flexible and offer a positive home and work life balance for our team. The high retention rate of or team we feel reflect these efforts.

How do you know that it is safe for the nursery to be open?

Prior to opening we ensured that we were confident with all the information available to us. Through extensive research we established the collaborated facts from respected sources, and this helped us to see what safe provision could look like. From this we developed a comprehensive risk assessment that we openly shared with all our families and our team. Any changes to the science and statistics, reflection from practice or feedback from our community will influence our risk assessment which is updated as often as required.

How do you know you will have enough staff to safely care for the children?

We are fortunate to have a very mature and sensible team of educators. They have a combined ‘can do’ attitude and are available to work. We employ a generous number of qualified staff and all our team are first aid trained. This means that we do not face the pressures of ratio and compliance to the standards of the EYFS when arranging staff rotas.

How does your Reggio Emilia inspiration support children during COVID-19?

When visitors come into our nursery they often comment on the atmosphere of calm, the happiness of children and the high engagement levels throughout the nursery. This is due to our carefully considered approach to providing early years care. We offer child led learning and care and through our bespoke curriculum we nurture children’s independence and confidence. Our children are given greater freedoms and responsibilities, and this encourages them to take responsibility for their actions and be considerate for others. Our children establish greater self-awareness and self-control. We have observed that our children readily comply with the changes expected of them such as increased hand washing, and other measures as necessary and have shown great resilience during periods of lockdown. Whatever the future holds, our children’s happiness and safety will always be our priority. We are reassured that our approach to early years education will help children and our team to cope in these extraordinary times.

How many other children will my child be exposed to?

In mid-July, restrictions on keeping children in small consistent groups or ‘bubbles’ in early years was lifted in England to enable more children to return to nursery. We are continuing to keep our lower and upper nursery completely separate with the exception of those children who are transitioning which is managed in collaboration with parents and the team. We are a very small nursery and with our current numbers we have no more than 15 children in either our upper or lower nursery on any one day. This means that our children can play throughout their play space without feeling restricted in any way and they can safely mix with all their friends without being exposed to a risk of interacting with too many children.

How will COVID affect those who can collect my child?

In addition to our existing child collection policy we must also consider government policy in line with COVID. At the current time government guidelines say that a child can be collected by someone from within the household, someone from your ‘support bubble’ or as you can also meet in a group of 2 households (anyone in your support bubble counts as one household) this can also be reflected in those authorised to collect. This does not need to be the same household each time. We ask for the person collecting to please come alone to support social distancing between other families and our staff.

How will my child be supported to reduce anxiety about the virus?

We recognise that this is a challenging time for children but with our professional mature team of educators, our embedded emotion coaching and our nurturing nursery ethos we are well placed to provide children with the support that they need to feel secure and safe in these times. Through role play, exploration and discussion children will be supported to understand the changes and challenges they may be encountering as a result of Covid-19 and staff will ensure they are aware of children’s attachments and their need for emotional support at this time. We have an updated bereavement and loss policy that considers COVID-19 and all our team are familiar with this policy.

How will the nursery protect staff who are considered vulnerable?

Children and staff who were classed as clinically extremely vulnerable due to pre-existing medical conditions were advised to shield up to August 1st. In England, the risk of getting coronavirus is now low enough that these individuals are no longer required to shield. We will support staff and children who were shielding but who feel that they are ready to return to nursery with the required support and we will put a risk assessment in place.

Public guidance for those who are considered extremely vulnerable https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/people-at-higher-risk/advice-for-people-at-high-risk/

How will you control the number of adults my child is exposed to?

Our educators are employed to work in either our upper or lower nursery, this has always been the case and we do not move staff around; however we like that our team feel like one big family and that our upper nursery children still see the lower nursery educators that they were close to when they were in our lower nursery. At the current time in response to COVID we are being stricter in keeping these two parts of our nursery separate. This avoids unnecessary contact between adults and between children and adults.

 

How will you encourage such young children not to cough over each other or their carers?

We always have a supply of tissues throughout our nursery, and we advocate children use these following the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ procedure, using bins for tissue waste which are emptied regularly throughout the day. We also encourage children to cough into their elbow.

How will you ensure that the toys are clean for the children to play with?

Maintaining higher infection control throughout the nursery easily becomes part of our routine. We have always advocated that a few quality resources offer far more value than many disorganised resources and we have now implemented a stricter rotation of resources that are freely available to the children to allow for deeper cleaning and sterilisation for example of our role play props, blocks, loose parts and other toys and resources. We have also made changes to remove learning experiences involving materials which are not easily washable such as play-dough and sand replacing these with suitable alternatives. Our educators support children to tidy resources throughout the day with everything having a designated basket or space on a shelf at child level. We have extended this to incorporate wiping clean resources as they are put away after a session. We have generous adult to child ratio and so this will not detract from the care that a child receives but will model positive approach to hygiene standards that are important to keep children safe.

How will you reduce adult to adult transmission?

We are lucky to have a large open plan indoor space and so it is possible to deploy staff and groups of children throughout the nursery with 2 metres distance between. Our team know that social distancing between adults is important and understand that it is not appropriate to have physical contact with each other and with other adults in work including parents, for example hugs and handshakes. We have made provision within the nursery for additional ‘relaxation areas’ for staff to be alone during lunch breaks. Training of the team will make the most of innovative online methods

How will you reduce risk from parents dropping their children to nursery?

How will you reduce risk from parents dropping thWe have made changes to our drop off and collection to prevent parents entering the nursery. This will reduce adult contacts and reduce unnecessary risk to children. We have strongly encouraged families to limit drop off and pick up to one parent per family and we have strict policy to only allow parents who are symptom free and who have completed any required isolation periods to drop off or collect their child from nursery. eir children to nursery?

How will you reduce the risk of indirect transmission of the virus for example by touching contaminated surfaces?

We will clean surfaces that children and adults are touching including but not limited to tables, chairs, door handles, sinks, toilets, light switches and bannisters regularly throughout the day. This will be done using a disposable cloth and warm soapy water and a disinfectant spray.

If my child is upset how will they be comforted?

We will continue to comfort children in the way that supports them to settle. Whilst we will reduce the number of adults that have contact with a child, the educators that are working with a child will do so consistent with our emotion coaching policy and our nursery ethos. We do provide cuddles for the children in our care and there is no evidence that in early years settings it is no longer safe to do this.

If my child or someone in our household gets symptoms of coronavirus what should I do?

Current official symptoms of COVID-19 remain:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

If a staff member, child or other adult within the community has at least one of the symptoms of coronavirus, medical advice is clear: they must self-isolate for at least 10 days. Anyone else in the household must self-isolate for 14 days.

A test should be ordered immediately at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ or by calling 119.

If the test is negative, and they feel well and no longer have symptoms similar to coronavirus (COVID-19), they can stop self-isolating. They could still have another virus, such as a cold or flu – in which case it is still best to avoid contact with other people until they are better. Other members of their household can also stop self-isolating.

If the test result is positive, they must complete the remainder of the 10-day isolation.

Anyone in the household must also complete self-isolation for 14 days from when the positive household member started having symptoms.

The NHS test and trace service will send a text or email alert or call with instructions of how to share details of people with whom you have had close, recent contact and places the individual has visited.

Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus must self-isolate for 14 days from the last contact. The household does not need to self-isolate but should take extra precaution.

Contacts should be tested if they develop symptoms and at this stage members of their household must also self-isolate immediately for 14 days.

If parents are not entering the nursery how will I know what activities they will be enjoying?

We have changed the format of our weekly bulletins to make them even more informative with images and descriptions of the activities the children have enjoyed throughout the week. We also have an active Facebook page where we share snap shots of our nursery experience.  Each child has an individual learning journey through an online portal where parents will be able to securely log on and view images and videos of their children at nursery.

If you suspect a case of COVID-19 within the nursery will that person be tested?

Current guidance states that if anyone in the household develops a fever or a new continuous cough they are advised to follow the COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection guidance (which states that the ill person should remain in isolation for 10 days and the rest of the household in isolation for 14 days). Testing for children and members of their households, will have access to testing if they display symptoms of coronavirus. This will enable them to get back into childcare or education, and their parents or carers to get back to work, if the test proves to be negative. To access testing parents should visit the following link https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/get-a-test-to-check-if-you-have-coronavirus/. Access to testing is already available to all essential workers. This includes anyone involved in education, childcare or social work – including both public and voluntary sector workers. Education settings employers can book tests through an online digital portal. There is also an option for employees to book tests directly on the portal and we will support staff to do this.

My child is new to the nursery, I am worried that as I am unable to come into the nursery they will not settle, how flexible are you with this?

We understand that your child’s first day at nursery is a big occasion and that it can be upsetting for both you and your child. Our settling policy has always advocated that you positively say goodbye to your child, explaining that you’re about to go and you’ll be back to pick them up when nursery is over, this allows our educators to build a bond with your child from the beginning. We will then take over and will set up activities that through prior discussion with you we know they will enjoy. We are confident that children will continue to settle well into our nursery even of parents do not come into nursery however, if we feel a different approach is required then we will use a separate room where the key educator, a parent and the child can play together before we say goodbye and go into the nursery.

What action will the nursery take if someone who has attended the nursery has tested positive for coronavirus?

We will take swift action if we become aware that someone who has attended the nursery has tested positive for coronavirus. We will contact the local health protection team and will work with them to carry out a rapid risk assessment to confirm who has been in close contact with the person during the period that they were infectious, and ensure they are asked to self-isolate.

We will share with the local health protection team our records of:

  • Children and staff in specific groups / rooms
  • Close contact that takes place between children and staff in different groups / rooms.

Based on the definitive advice from the local health protection team, we will 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 since they were last in close contact with that person when they were infectious.

Following government guidance once we receive a template letter from the health protection team we will forward this to parents, carers and staff if needed. We will not share the names or details of people with coronavirus (COVID-19) unless essential to protect others.

If we have two or more confirmed cases within 14 days, or an overall rise in sickness absence where coronavirus (COVID-19) is suspected, we understand that this may be considered an outbreak. We will contact the local health protection team and will take advise as to if additional action is required. This may be to send a larger number of children home as a precautionary measure. The government advise states that if settings are implementing the controls from this list, 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 will only be on the recommendation of the local health protection team.

What cleaning and hygiene arrangements do you have in place to reduce risk?

From the evidence that we have we know that in childcare settings it is important to prevent the spread of coronavirus from direct transmission (for instance, when in close contact with those sneezing and coughing) and indirect transmission (via touching contaminated surfaces). We will employ a range of approaches and actions to do this. Through implementing a hierarchy of controls, we will create an inherently safer system, where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced. These measures include:
• minimising contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have coronavirus symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend nursery
• cleaning hands more often than usual – wash hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with running water and soap and dry them thoroughly
• ensuring good respiratory hygiene – promote the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach
• cleaning frequently touched surfaces often using standard products, such as detergents and bleach
• minimising contact and mixing by altering, as much as possible, the environment (such as room layout) and timetables (such as mealtimes and outings)

What happens if you run out of essentials like soap or toilet rolls?

We understand that the nursery will not be able to operate without essential supplies required for ensuring infection control. We have an established good relationship with a local provider of PPE, and we will keep in regular contact with them to understand which products are in short supply. To ensure that we have an adequate supply of essential supplies we will have contingency plans in place to minimise the impact of any shortages of supplies. We will implement a monitoring system for the usage of PPE essential and cleaning products 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.

What is the procedure for families coming into the nursery building?

Children coming into our nursery naturally do so in a staggered way throughout the day. However, if families do arrive at the same time, we are fortunate to have a wide staircase and entrance outside our reception, our nursery space is then separate from the reception. We have rooms adjacent to the reception enabling ease for social distancing of families dropping or collecting their children.
All visitors and parents entering the building will need to wear a face covering, as well as our administration and management team. Educators working directly with the children will not be wearing a face covering. This is because of the increased risk of adult to adult transmission. We want to ensure that we are doing all we can to protect our staff, our children and our families.

What risk could visitors bring to the nursery?

At the current time visitors will not be admitted into the nursery when children are present.

What will happen if my child becomes unwell at nursery?

A face mask will be worn by a member of staff if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained with a child who becomes unwell with symptoms of coronavirus while at nursery until they can return home. For example, if they need personal care. Whilst we are waiting for the child to be collected they will be play with an educator in a separate room from the main nursery which will be thoroughly cleaned after use.

When should I keep my child at home?

If a family member or your child has symptoms of COVID-19 then you must self-isolate for 10 days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. If they develop symptoms, then they must continue to self-isolate at home for a further 10 days. In summary you should keep your child at home and not bring them into nursery if:
• They have a fever of 37.5 or above
• They have developed a new or persistent cough
• They have tested positive for COVID-19
• A household member has developed COVID-19 symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19

If a child has symptoms of COVID-19 then we can support you to get a COVID test. A negative result means the test did not find coronavirus.

You do not need to self-isolate if your test is negative, as long as:

Will I still receive a handover when I collect my child?

Where possible we will always endeavour for an educator who has spent the day with your child to give you a handover at the end of their day. We will be able to maintain social distancing for this. However, when this is not possible be assured that our team work very closely together and they have strong communication between themselves so you will receive an accurate and honest account of how your child has been, what they have done and anything else that is important or you to know.

Will my child be confused by changes to the routines they are used to in nursery?

It is important that children’s experience at nursery remains happy and in line with their developmental and emotional needs. We must not confuse children by highlighting how the virus can negatively impact upon everyday life. We do not want children to think that they are unable to play with their friends, or that they must keep distance between themselves and the adults caring for them. It is the responsibility of adults through careful planning and risk assessment to ensure children continue to be able to freely play, socialise and explore. In practice we will reduce social contacts by keeping groups naturally apart using the spaces we have within our nursery and not by adding artificial dividers. No resources will be ‘taped up’ for non-contact, resources we do not feel are as safe will be removed from sight and replaced with an alternative. Children will remain with their friendship groups and the educators that they know.

Will my child still have a key educator, and will they continue to plan activities for my child?

We will continue to ensure that children are allocated to a key educator but as we have changes to our rota system it is important that all educators have a good understanding of every child within their room. Within our nursery we operate a very close team with effective communication and exceptional support. Our educators understand our children well as this is essential to providing genuinely child led care. Therefore, in the absence of a key educator, every child will continue to receive educational opportunities and care that is tailored to their unique needs.

Will the children need to maintain 2 metres distance between each other?

Children attending early years settings have not been advised to maintain social distance. Not only would this be impossible to enforce, it brings many negative effects for this age group. We do not want children to learn that it is normal that children cannot play together or that there cannot be any physical contact. This could result with children growing up with a distorted picture of society, with potentially negative consequences. Instead to reduce transmission risk we will reduce contact between people as much as possible.

Will there be changes to the meal and snack time routines?

Empowering independence in children is important to our approach and we advocate sociable dining experiences where children serve themselves. We will keep dining to our consistent groups and will provide more self-serving cutlery to be able to continue in this way.

Will there be hand sanitiser stations throughout the nursery?

For optimum infection control it is important to wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and to dry thoroughly. We will be asking staff and supporting children to clean their hands upon arrival at the nursery, before and after eating, returning from a trip, and after sneezing or coughing and to avoid touching the mouth, eyes and nose where possible. Through games, songs and repetition we will encourage young children to learn and practise these habits regularly and routinely. Where hot water and soap is not available, we will have a supply of hand sanitiser, for example on trips and in reception for parents.

Will you be taking children’s temperatures routinely throughout the day?

It is not recommended that parents, carers or staff at nursery take children’s temperatures every morning. Routine testing of an individual’s temperature is not a reliable method for identifying coronavirus. Testing of temperature will only be carried out if staff have concerns about a child.

Will you still do home visits at this time?

We will not do home visits for the time being, but we will arrange a video call or social distance meeting in a room in the nursery so that we have the time to build a relationship prior to your child starting with us.

Will you still take children on daily trips into the community?

We have a large open plan indoor environment, and this means that even with grouping, children will have room to play and exert themselves physically. We also have many windows allowing for fresh flow of natural ventilation. However outside play is still important and daily outings will continue to be individually risk assessed and safety of the children will always be our priority. During COVID-19 we will not take children to inside spaces as part of their daily outings, including the library, shopping centre or larger shops. We will change our walking route to ensure we take quiet pathways and we will go to quiet open spaces within Dartford park that we will mark out with cones enabling the children to run and play freely without being exposed to other people outside of our organisation. We will not use public toilets or public playgrounds at this time. We will not take children on public transport as part of the trips during COVID-19.  We will keep to consistent small groups for all outings maintaining staff: children ratio.