Safe Operating Procedures
Updated 15 April 2021
Our Safe Operating Procedure contains details of the protective measures we have put in place to reduce the risk of coronavirus to our staff, children and their families. It outlines how we will support staff and children’s well-being as they adapt to a ‘new normal’, whilst maintaining the warm, welcoming and happy environment we have always provided.
The government acknowledge that it is very difficult to socially distance young children in a Early Years setting, however, with some sensible and realistic precautions, we can minimise the risks. We have developed these Safe Operating Procedures based on guidance from Public Health England and the Department of Education guidance for educational settings and their key workers.
You can download our Covid-19 Risk Assessment here:
All children are welcome to the setting providing that they, or anyone in their household are not displaying symptoms of Covid-19.
- A high temperature
- A new continuous cough
- A loss or change in your sense of smell or taste
If a child is displaying any of these symptoms, they will not be permitted to attend nursery until they have completed the required isolation period (10 days), or a negative test result has been received.
If you, or a member of your household is contacted by the Test and Trace programme, the contacted individual must self-isolate. If the contacted individual displays symptoms, everyone in their household must also self-isolate. Prompt exclusion is essential to prevent the spread of infection.
It is preferable that your child only attends one setting to avoid mixing with different groups of children and minimise the risks with the settings.
Asymptomatic testing programme:
All nursery staff test for Covid-19 twice a week using a rapid lateral flow testing device. Staff test themselves every Monday and Wednesday morning, before work.
Travelling to nursery:
Whenever possible, staff, parents and children should travel by car, bike or walk. If public transport is necessary, current guidance one the use of public transport must be adhered to.
Drop off and collection of children:
As from 12th April 2021, the nursery will resume its normal opening of 8am – 6pm. We ask that parents, if possible, still try and arrive by 5.30pm so staff can use the additional time to clean the resources and equipment in their rooms.
Parents and carers should drop off / collect at the main entrance. A member of staff will come to the main entrance to greet your child and take them to their room.
Coots parents to drop off at their own entrance (the door to the left of the main entrance).
Big Playschool 1 to drop off / collect at the school front door. Big Playschool 2 parents to drop off / collect at blue gate to the left of school main entrance. Parents are not allowed in the school playground.
Limit drop off / pick up to only one parent per family. Parents will be allocated a time for arrival and drop off, to manage the flow of parents and reduce queueing time.
Parents must wear masks and maintain social distancing with staff, parents and other children. Drop off / pick up time to be kept as brief as possible.
Temperature and symptom monitoring:
Following government guidance, children and staff will not have their temperature tested on arrival at nursery each day. Guidelines inform us that a more effective method is to feel the chest and back. If we suspect that a child or staff member has a fever, their temperature will then be taken and monitored.
Items from home:
Children are not permitted to bring items from home into the setting unless absolutely essential for their well-being. Where this is the case, items should be appropriately cleaned on arrival.
Parents to provide sterilised dummies in sealed zip bag if their child would be distressed without it. Please label bags with child’s name.
If your child would be destressed without their blanket / comforter, please wash it, put it in a zip bag and hand it to your child’s carer on arrival. Zip bag will be wiped clean on arrival. You child will be given their comforter when needed.
Parents are asked not to bring travel accessories, including buggies and car seats, into the foyer. Please hand your child’s buggy to staff who will put it in the buggy shed.
Social distancing / grouping
The government acknowledges that it is very difficult to socially distance young children in an early years setting, however, with some sensible and realistic precautions, we can minimise the risks.
Playrooms and groups:
Staff to adhere to social distancing at all times, wherever possible, both in and outside the playrooms.
It is not a no longer a requirement to keep children in small consistent groups – we can have normal group sizes. However, we will continue to minimise mixing within the setting by keeping rooms apart as much as possible.
We will use age and developmentally appropriate ways to encourage the children to follow social distancing, hand-washing and other guidance, including through games, songs and stories.
- Children will stay in their rooms to eat their meals and will not mix with other rooms.
- Staff will ensure food, cups and cutlery are not shared. Water bottles will be personalised with a picture to make them easy for children to recognise.
- Flannels to be washed after each use at high temperature.
- BPS1 and 2 will eat their meals in their room and not in the school hall.
We will maintain small groups when moving through the nursery (e.g. from rooms to foyer). Groups will not mix or gather in the foyer or by entrances.
The use of the Early Years playground will be staggered so that Reception, Nursery Class and Big Playschool do not mix.
Staff to not enter the kitchen unless it is essential and they can maintain social distancing. Only one member of staff allowed in the kitchen with Dionne.
Staff to wear face coverings (masks or visors) in all communal areas where social distancing cannot be maintained.
Children will be supported to understand the changes and challenges they may be encountering as a result of Covid-19. We recognise that supporting children’s attachments and providing emotional support is especially important at this time.
We will support children by:
- Providing a range of fun and engaging activities throughout the day for the children to enjoy.
- Carers will give children cuddles when needed.
- Make handwashing fun by using songs and stories.
- Support children’s emotional health and well-being using ‘A Box Full of Feelings’ and other activities.
- Books and activities for young children that explain social distancing and handwashing in an age appropriate way.
Visitors to the setting
We will restrict all visits to the nursery to those that are absolutely necessary.
We will aim to organise groups of children who are due to transition so they can transition together.
Meetings and open-door policy:
Under normal circumstances we have an open-door policy for parents to come in and speak to a manager. However, due to Covid-19 and social distancing, it will not be possible to invite parents into the office. Parents can however, arrange a meeting by phone if they wish to discuss their child’s development, or if they have any concerns which they wish to discuss.
Any families wishing to look around the setting with a view to starting at the nursery, will be required to book in for a suitable time with the nursery manager. Only one adult will be permitted to attend. They will not be permitted to enter any of the nursery rooms. The nursery manager will socially distance from them throughout the show-round.
Progress checks for 2-year olds:
Progress checks for 2-year olds are currently suspended.
Health, Hygiene and Safety
It is recognised that good hygiene and cleaning practices will significantly reduce the spread and transmission of the virus, as well as everyone being alert to symptoms.
We will ensure that there is adequate ventilation in the nursery by opening the doors and windows as much as possible.
Modified and extended cleaning routines have been implemented throughout the nursery, including in the nursery rooms, kitchen, toilet and washing facilities and communal areas such as stairs and corridors.
We employ three cleaners who clean the nursery throughout in the evenings (Mon – Fri). Cleaning schedules and rotas are in place for staff and cleaners to follow.
Children and staff will wash their hands frequently through the day, including every time they leave and re-enter the building. Children will be encouraged to sing our handwashing song, to ensure that their hands are fully washed for the required length of time.
Hand sanitiser has been positioned at all entrances to the setting.
Use of tissues:
Children will be supported in age appropriate ways to understand the steps they an take to keep themselves and others safe and this includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue, (or their arm if immediate). They will be encouraged to dispose of the tissue in a bin straight away and then wash their hands. Where children are not able to wipe their own noses, staff will assist them and then wash or sanitise their own hands each time.
Toileting and nappy changing:
- Staff can wear disposable gloves and aprons when changing nappies if they wish.
- Staff to dispose of gloves safely and wash their hands thoroughly after each nappy change.
- Staff should only change nappies of children in their group. Toilet areas and hand washing facilities will be cleaned frequently during the day.
- Accidents are cleaned up immediately and area is cleaned using disinfectant.
- Staff distance beds and cots where possible.
- Rooms will be well ventilated.
- Bedding is not shared by children and is washed regularly at high temperatures.
All risk assessments will reflect the risk of transmission of Covid-19. Certain activities have been adapted or removed to reflect the risk, e.g. trips to the shops.
Resources at nursery:
Toys and resources that are difficult to clean will be removed, including cushions and soft toys. The children will only share toys and activities within their groups. We will aim to sanitise items at the end of each day.
Personal Protection Equipment (PPE):
Government guidance is that PPE is not required for general use in nurseries to protect against Covid-19 transmission. Handwashing, effective cleaning and social distancing are the most effective measures.
- Staff to wear face coverings (mask or visor) in all communal areas where social distancing cannot be maintained
- Staff to wear face coverings (masks or visors) in the staff room (unless staff are eating) and when entering the two offices.
- Staff can wear disposable gloves and aprons when changing nappies, if they wish.
- Staff wear disposable gloves and aprons when preparing and serving food and administer first aid (e.g. treating cuts and grazes)
- Cleaners to wear disposable gloves and aprons for general cleaning.
- If a child has a suspected case of coronavirus whist at nursery, the supervising adult must wear the appropriate PPE while waiting for the child to be collected.
- Cleaners must wear the appropriate PPE when cleaning after a suspected case of coronavirus.
- Staff must remove PPE with care, dispose of carefully and wash hands for 20 seconds after removing.
Extra curricular activities:.
- Weekly football sessions with Coach James take place outside on the football pitch or at the park.
- From 29 March 2021, music sessions with Double Bass Dan resumed. Dan socially distances from the group. Instruments are wiped clean after each group has used them.
- Swimming sessions at Britannia Leisure Centre are suspended until further notice.
We will spend as much time as possible outdoors, playing on our balcony, in our Early Years playground and at our local parks.
Early Years Playground:
The use of the Early Years playground will be staggered so that Reception class, Nursery class and Big Playschool do not mix. A strict timetable has been put together so that children from different classes do not mix.
- The playground equipment will be cleaned after use by each class.
- Children can use the mud kitchen. Equipment will be cleaned after use by each class.
- The sandpit will be closed until further notice.
Outings to local parks
- We will maintain small groups when moving through nursery (e.g. from room to foyer). Groups are not to mix or gather in foyer or by entrances.
- All outings will be risk assessed, giving due consideration to any adaptions to usual practice.
- Outings from the nursery will be to open spaces such as the local parks and will not include mixing with the general public.
- Outings to the library and local shops will be stopped until further notice.
- Staff will take the emergency rucksack on outings with gloves, anti-bacterial wipes and masks in it.
- Hand wipes and sanitisers taken on outings. Staff to be aware of high-touch surfaces e.g. gates, and avoid communal areas, e.g. benches.
- Outings will be staggered so that groups/rooms remain separate.
- Buggies and six-seater buggies will be wiped clean after each use.
- Staff and children will wash their hands when they return to the nursery.
- Equipment taken to the park, such as hoops and balls, will not be shared between groups and will be cleaned after use.
- Children to wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after playground visits.
- Staff to wipe down high-touch playground equipment (e.g. swing rockers, slide) with anti-bacterial wipes before and after use.
- Hand wipes will be taken on outings to clean children’s hands during the outing and after using playground equipment.
- Staff and children to follow current social distancing guidelines when visiting playground and only use at quiet time.
Responding to a person displaying symptoms of Covid-19
Everyone displaying coronavirus symptoms should self-isolate and get a Covid-19 test as soon as possible. Any suspected or confirmed case must be report to the nursery manager as soon as possible.
A child displaying symptoms:
- If a child begins displaying a continuous cough or a high temperature, they should be sent home to isolate in accordance with the guidelines. We ask parents to collect their child as quickly as possible.
- While a child is awaiting collection, they will be moved to the office where they can be isolated behind a closed door with a appropriated adult. A window will be opened for ventilation.
- The supervising adult must wear suitable PPE whilst waiting for the child to be collected. For further guidance see Symptomatic children action list – EARLY YEARS
- If they need to go to the bathroom while waiting to be collected, they will use a separate bathroom if possible. The bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected using standard cleaning products before being used by anyone else.
A member of staff displaying symptoms:
- If a member of staff develops symptoms of Covid-19 (new continuous cough, high temperature or loss of smell and taste) whilst at nursery, they will immediately be sent home to self-isolate for the required incubation period. they must get tested a the earliest possible opportunity.
If there is a confirmed case of coronavirus in the nursery:
- Parents will be immediately informed
- Where the child or staff member tests positive, the rest of their class/group will be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 10 days. (The other household members of that wider class/group do not need to self-isolate unless the child, young person or staff member they live with in that group subsequently develops symptoms).
- All staff who attend the setting will have access to a test if they display symptoms of coronavirus.
- Positive tests will be reported to Public Health England by the nursery manager. if other cases are detected within the setting, Public Health England’s local Health Protection Teams will conduct a rapid investigation and will advise on the most appropriate action to take.