On 20th March, Chingford House School closed following guidelines from the government; England then went on lockdown on 23rd March 2020.
Before we closed the nursery, we had already put some protocols in place to mitigate the risk of coronavirus. Since then we have revised the Illness, Infection & Exclusion policy and the Hygiene and Infection control policy. Alongside those protocols, we have now advised staff and parents of CHS what we need to do in order to promote and maintain a healthy environment.
These have been anxious and worrying times, so our priority has been reassuring staff and parents; following advice and guidance from reputable sites such as Gov.UK, HSE & WHO; further to this we continually received updates from our Local Authority (Waltham Forest) which we shared through emails to the parents and in discussions with the staff.
Prior to our return on 1st June, the nursery was deep-cleaned, then a ‘fogging’ clean was carried out; this is where a specialist company came in and sprayed the environment, doors, tables, surfaces (anything we may touch) with treatment that kills viruses and pathogens. This was carried out on Friday 29th May and was safe enough for the children to return on 1st June.
The nursery was closed for a couple of months and although we were not aware of any staff, children or parents having any symptoms from coronavirus, it is our duty to ensure that the environment is a healthy one and that we give peace of mind to all the users of the setting for our return.
Children & staff from the vulnerable group list:
The government devised a list, detailing categories of people, with serious underlying health issues, who they consider most vulnerable and would be at a higher or greater risk of getting or reacting severely to Covid-19. If children or staff have been informed via a letter from NHS or their GP, they must speak to Yolande or Zarkar (but please go to www.gov.uk for more information re shielding).
Travelling to nursery
Where possible and practical, we ask staff and parents to try not to use public transport; obviously, we understand that not everyone drives or is in walking distance of the nursery.
If you do have to travel by public transport, staff and parents should consider wearing a face cover, as recently advised by the government; please refrain from holding on to anything; staff and children must wash their hands on entering the nursery.
Dropping off and collecting children
We have made the difficult decision to advise parents that, for the foreseeable future, they will not be able to enter the nursery; further to this, to reduce the risk of transmission, we ask that the same parent drops off and collects their child. If you have a child at CHS and another child at school, if possible, we ask parents to split the duties; one picks up their child from us and the other parent collects their other child from school.
Parents are asked not to arrive before 8am (so they are not waiting outside) and should observe social distancing, (although we recognise this may be extremely challenging for the children); we have marked the appropriate distance to help with this. The government also advised that, where possible, only one parent accompanies their children to nursery ‘to minimise adult to adult contact’
We ask parents, where possible, to try to alternate the times that they come to nursery; if parents can be flexible with the time that they start work, we hope not to have too many families having to social distance outside.
At 8am, members of staff will take your child from the front door or through the gate; (children in Poppies & Sunflower rooms will go to their rooms via the gate and children in Marigolds, Bluebells & Roses will go through the front door). Please wait nearer the side where your children will enter. If a member of staff is not by the door or gate, please telephone the nursery on 07305 961590 to let us know that you are outside as this will help you not to have to ring the bell.
Parents must explain/remind their children each morning (where age appropriate) that they will give kisses and cuddles before reaching the nursery property, and will hand them over to a member of staff – this stops the bottleneck of children, parents and staff congregating by the front door/Poppies/Sunflowers room.
As parents know, the children’s emotional well-being is extremely important to us; we appreciate that, for some children, this mode of separation is going to be especially difficult for them and they will be upset; but we ask that you leave as quickly as you can and we will support the children to settle them quickly. In some instances, the children will be too upset to voluntarily separate from their carer, so we may have to take the child, by taking their hand or lifting them up; we will try to do this without touching the parents.
Yolande or Zarkar will be outside to speak with any parents for immediate issues (at the required distance); however, where possible, we ask parents to send a text or call in the morning on the nursery mobile 07305 961590, and we will respond as soon as we can.
Similarly, at the end of the day, staff will bring the children to their parents outside (again, please observe social distancing if there are a few parents waiting).
We recognise that, in early years, it is not possible to observe social distancing whilst we are working with the children and therefore strict and robust hygiene and handwashing protocols will be in place
Public Health England state that the transmission of coronavirus will be reduced if there is minimal contact between groups of people and good hygiene practices are employed.
Social/physical distancing will be a factor in the rooms where there are 2 or 3 members of staff (adults); staff will be situated in different areas in their rooms, which is general practice so that they have a good oversight of all the children.
Where possible, the rooms will be in their own little ‘bubble’ and staff and children will stay within their group room throughout the day. In most of the rooms, we have less than 10 children, however, there are communal spaces that staff and children need to use, i.e. the lobby to get to the garden.
Outdoor play is crucial to learning, and is especially important to health and well-being now, so children will continue to have access to the garden. Outdoor play will generally be one room at a time (or separate play areas for two rooms if not practical); toys and equipment will be cleaned in between groups (this will mean that certain play items and resources will be limited).
Previous to the coronavirus, the pre-school children were encouraged to serve their own meals, we will now have to stop this practice, but will still encourage the children to scrape their plate by themselves.
We will limit the amount of shared resources between the children, so as such we will refrain from sending home the respective ‘adventure bears’ until further notice.
We will take advice on the home reading scheme and will speak with staff; we will need to work out the practicalities of wiping down and exchanging books. Toys and resources will be limited in rooms to ensure that staff can safely clean them after use.
We know from government guidance that a high temperature alone is not enough of an indicator that someone may have coronavirus, so we may not take the children and staff temperatures on a daily basis; instead we will rely on the transparency and honesty of parents and staff.
If staff, parents or children have any symptoms relevant to coronavirus (covid-19) they should not attend the nursery and should self-isolate for 7 days (if they live alone) or 14 days (if they live with other people); they should go to nhs111 on line or call 111 in an emergency (go to www.gov.uk for further information).
If children develop symptoms whilst at the nursery they will be isolated immediately; staff dealing with the child will wear PPE until their parent arrives. The child will be excluded until they recover. Once the child has been taken home, the area where they were waiting will be cleaned thoroughly.
Staff will not need to be excluded after helping a child unless they develop symptoms.
After having spoken to NHS 111, children or staff may be advised to get tested for Covid-19. If the test is negative, the self-isolation can stop, and the child/staff can return to nursery.
However, if positive, the remaining children and staff in that room will be sent home and told to self-isolate as above.
Unless there are further cases in other rooms, we will not need to close the nursery, other than at the advice of the local health protection team.
The government is noticeably clear in its guidelines, stating “anyone who has symptoms, however mild, or is in a household where someone has symptoms, should not leave their house”
We expect parents & staff to inform us if anyone in their household has symptoms or has tested positive for coronavirus. Staff assigned to that child’s room may need to be tested and we may need to inform the Local Authority.
To ensure that everyone remains safe, CHS hopes that parents and staff support us by being vigilant and proactive in ensuring that children and staff are in their best health whilst at the nursery.
Staff will wash their hands before they start working with the children; they will ensure that their rooms have enough supplies of hand wash, paper towels and tissues for the day. Staff will ensure that children wash their hands after entering the room and that they encourage the children to cough/sneeze into tissues and then wash their hands afterwards. Staff will clean and sanitise tables, floors, play areas and sinks throughout the day.
Where possible we will limit the amount of people entering the nursery, however we note that as we return to a ‘new normal,’ prospective parents will want to view CHS when they are seeking childcare provision. As such we will allow the parent to view the room where the child may take up a place and the outdoor play area only.
In line with the government literature, guidance and media, it is important that we all work together to do what we can to limit the spread of coronavirus; if we all do our bit in keeping our distance and staying alert, we will help to keep each other safe.
Preparations and Protocols for Chingford House School created May 2020 using guidance from Public Health England, Gov.UK & NHS 111
Policy created by: Yolande Farrell, Manager
Signed off by: Zarkar Akhtar, Owner
Date: May 2020