During these ever-changing and uncertain times Dinotots Childcare’s Senior Leadership Team would like to offer as much assistance and as much clarity as possible on how Coronavirus affects our setting.
As I’m sure you are aware we are informed of the government updates at exactly the same time as you do and as such have to make, sometimes very difficult, decisions quickly with the best interests of our staff, children and their families at the forefront of our minds.
You may find it helpful to have a look through some of the government advice that has been created specifically with parents in mind. What parents need to know. This is a very helpful guide particularly in relation to some of the complexities surrounding government funding entitlement.
The government have also recently published some specific guidance in relation to changes that may affect your claim for tax free childcare and/or 30 hours childcare during the coronavirus.
Dinotots Childcare’s Senior Leadership Team promise to be open and honest with you and update you as regularly as we can, however in the meantime we have compiled a number of frequently asked questions (FAQ) that we hope will be of help to you.
Although some may currently be in draft format we have produced the following documents. To view the documents please click on the corresponding links
- Covid-19 Re-opening of Dinotots Childcare Action Plan
- Covid-19 Site Operating Procedures
- Covid-19 Risk Assessment
- Covid-19 First Aid Roles and Responsibilities
- Covid-19 Cleaning Dinotots Setting
Updates will happen in response to changing guidance at National and Local Authority level. It may also be modified in response to staff consultation or other factual recommendations. These Documents may also be added to over time, should there be a perceived requirement by the SLT
Our Terms and Conditions remain the same as when you joined your Co-op nursery. We do ask if you’re looking to cancel your contract in the coming months you give us as much advance notice as possible, more than the required 4 weeks if possible, as this enables us to plan as best we can in terms of staffing and available space in the nursery.
No automatic deduction of fees will be made in respect of children needing to self-isolate or testing positive for COVID however parents are entitled to request a credit which will be applied.
No, however in order to safeguard your nursery place for when you are able to return we do ask that you pay a retainer monthly from the 1st July, one weeks fees, which will then be taken off your bill when you’re ready to come back to nursery. We will not be issuing refunds in relation to the retainer should you choose not to resume your place at a later date. We do of course commit to reviewing every situation individually and are mindful of changes in circumstance that may affect your ability to return to nursery.
It is possible that some settings will make changes to their start and finish times or introduce processes for drop-off and collection times to keep children and families safe. Start and finish times will be clearly communicated to parents and carers alongside any other new arrangements.
Government guidance states that you do not need to self-isolate if you’re travelling to England from one of the countries, territories or regions listed on the governments travel corridor list. You must have spent the last 10 days in one of these places, or in the UK. If you visited somewhere that is not on the list in the 10 days before your arrival in England, you will need to self-isolate. Visiting includes making a transit stop. You will still need to complete the passenger locator form before you enter the UK. Your child will only be able to attend nursery after they have self-isolated for 10 days.
Health, Safety & Hygiene
Absolutely! We have been proactive in every way possible since the outbreak of the pandemic, going over and beyond the advice from the government and World Health Organisation. We are committed to continue to invest heavily into safeguarding and protecting everyone to our utmost ability.
The health and safety of our children and our staff is our highest priority but ultimately we want you to feel confident about our dedication to the Health, Safety and Hygiene of the setting.
Prior to the outbreak our nurseries were always thoroughly cleaned at the end of every working day. In addition the nursery receives a ‘deep clean’ at the end of every term. Since March we’ve taken a number of extra steps with hygiene at the forefront of our mind and these will continue for as long as is required.
This includes installing additional hand sanitiser dispensers at doorways, delivering an enhanced cleaning schedule with more frequent cleaning taking place throughout the day alongside increased sterilisation of toys and equipment. We also introduced fogging machines that uses an Ultra Low Volume Nebuliser that creates micro droplets. These droplets are dispersed into the air, float then slowly fall, disinfecting every surface as well as cleaning the air itself, resulting in a hygienically clean space where bacteria, spores, viruses, pollen etc. have been purged from the air. They are 99.995% effective at killing bacteria, viruses, fungi and spores, they are alcohol free, PH Skin compatible and is safe to use around family and pets. They are also food prep suitable, made with a hypoallergenic formula, non-irritant and non-staining.
Government guidance does not cover any advice related to transmission of the virus through clothes and shoes however we’ve already taken a proactive approach to protecting our families. We already have a no outdoor shoes policy in our younger rooms as we’re all too aware of how much time babies and toddlers spend exploring the floor! All these measures coupled with our enhanced cleaning schedules and that fact we’re not allowing any visitors into nursery during operational hours means that we’re keeping hygiene standards as high as we can.
The Government have announced that from 20th July early years providers can return to their usual practice without limiting group sizes. We will still be maintaining all of our safety protocols and we’ll still be operating in our bubbles and in separate spaces, but the guidance means we will be able to alter these should demand dictate, or the threat level diminishes sufficiently.
We all know that social distancing amongst children under 5 is incredibly difficult, if not impossible! In fact we need to be realistic about the fact we cannot commit to a constant 2 metre distance between children and or between children and staff because that just isn’t feasible however we’re doing everything we can to minimise interactions between bubbles of children, between rooms and between staff.
These measures include groups of staff working the same shifts, smaller bubbles of children, staggered lunchtimes, making good use of the available outdoor areas and sectioning off our larger main room for different groups of children. We’ll also be keeping children’s rooms separate so we’re minimising the contact where we can between different children. Visitors aren’t currently allowed into nursery during operational hours and wherever possible we’re asking parents/carers to ensure it’s the same adults bringing and collecting children daily from the safety of the entrance area.
Staff collecting/dropping off from schools will all wear face protection throughout and maintain a safe distance from other parents/carers
Parents will be asked to hand their children to a nursery assistant at the entrance. However we do ask for our families assistance with this and taking responsibility to queue where necessary and to keep the appropriate space between other families.
With the news of face coverings to be mandatory in shops and supermarkets from 24 July 2020, we ask for our parents support in protecting our staff and request that you wear face coverings at drop off and pick up. This is particularly important where there has been a local spike, or a localised lockdown and the local authority has put extra precautions in place. It’s also needed when close contact is required, for example, passing a baby or not yet walking child across to a member of staff.
If you have been given permission to enter the nursery for any reason, you will be expected to comply with social distancing and infection control processes and will be asked to wear PPE.
Our staff continue to wear face coverings at the door to protect you and your children so would ask that you help keep our teams as safe as possible by putting your own face covering on when attending nursery.
It depends on the reason. DfE guidance says: “Parents and carers should not be allowed into the setting unless this is a specific need” and that “children should be dropped off and collected at the door if possible”.
For children settling in, the DfE guidance explains that parents can enter nursery to help children adapt to the new environment. Providers can also conduct setting visits, although the guidance states that “For new admissions, settings should consider providing virtual tours for prospective parents and carers”.
Parents and carers visiting nursery must:
- wear face coverings, in line with arrangements for staff and other visitors
- stay for a limited amount of time (ideally not more than an hour)
- avoid close contact with other children
- be aware of the ‘system of controls’, how this impacts them, and their responsibilities in supporting it when visiting the nursery with their child.”
- be advised of the controls before they arrive at the nursery.
- provide contact details on arrival to support NHS Test and Trace.”
Our priority is and will remain the protection and welfare of our staff and we are doing everything we can to ensure we continue to have appropriate supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for staff who need them, or want them. We have many supplies continually delivered to our setting including hand sanitiser, gloves, face shields, face masks, disposable aprons and personal hand sanitising gel.
Staff working in our setting have all undertaken bespoke training related to the use of PPE and infection control so they fully understand the protective measures in place and how they can support keeping the nursery and themselves safe. As we welcome more staff and families back into nursery we’ve decided to increase our expectations around the use of PPE whilst at work. Guidance is by no means conclusive and although currently not mandatory we believe best practice does allude to the use of face coverings at the door and during school-runs.
We will continue to adapt our processes in line with best practice but this includes consideration of our children with special educational needs (SEN). The Nursery Manager, Key Person and parent will collaboratively be involved in making adjustments, through any necessary risk assessments, that best fit every child as an individual so they are kept safe but also settled and happy.
We know children will need comfort and reassurance so we promise to place their wellbeing first and foremost whilst ensuring we’re following our own strict health, safety and hygiene procedures including hand washing. When administering first aid we will continue to use the PPE that we would normally wear in these situations.
Covid-19 Symptoms and General Illnesses
If your child is displaying any of the symptoms of COVID-19 they will not be allowed to attend nursery. If they have a test and this comes back negative then they will be able to come back to nursery as soon as a copy of the negative result is received, they will not need to complete the 10 days self-isolation.
We ask for the support of our families in helping us reduce the risk of infection so ask them to be vigilant when it come to checking their own and their children’s temperatures. Only children who are symptom-free and without a temperature should attend our nurseries.
Additionally where the child or any member of the household or support bubble has any symptoms the whole household/bubble should ensure they follow government guidelines and self-isolate for 10 days. The person displaying the symptoms should be tested, If they receive a negative test then the whole household can stop isolating and the child can return to nursery.
We ask parents to retain their usual vigilance around not sending their child to nursery if they are unwell. Please talk to one of the Nursery Managers if in any doubt as we understandably continue to be extremely cautious in relation to temperatures, coughs and colds.
The child should complete the 10-day self-isolation and the household should self-isolate for 10 days because they are contacts of the child. If the symptoms disappear and, having telephoned ‘119’ and they have confirmed that they do not qualify for a Covid-19 test, then they should book a test through the website for the entire household.
The child and their household can only return to work/setting if they have a negative test and they feel well and have not had a fever for 48 hours.
If they are unable to obtain a test, then they should complete the isolation period of 10 days and 10 days for the household to be on the safe side.
To book a test online please select the following link:
Get a Coronavirus Test
All parents are advised to get their child tested if they have Covid-19 symptoms. Unfortunately, at this time, a test is not compulsory however, it is advised in order to ascertain whether the child has Covid-19 symptoms and in order to establish whether the entire bubble should self-isolate for 10 days.
If a child gets tested and it is negative the child can return to the setting before 10-day isolation period ends only if they feel well and they do not have a fever for 48 hours.
If the child has been identified as having any of the symptoms and a test is not taken the child will not be able to return to the setting until the 10 day isolation period has passed
Vaccines may cause a fever which usually resolves within 48 hours. This is a common reaction and we would ask that you would then keep your child away from nursery for the 48 hours.
If your child’s temperature resolves within the 48 hours and they are not displaying any COVID -19 symptoms, then we will welcome them back to nursery and there is no need for them to be tested.
Please provide us with the details of the immunisation and the date it was given.
Children with simple cold symptoms such as coryzal symptoms (runny noses) or sore throats without fever who would normally have attended nursery during other times do not need be tested for COVID-19.
This is in agreement with current PHE guidance for deciding when to test. These symptoms are:
- new continuous cough, this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- fever/high temperature
- loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste.
It depends who has given the medical advice. The Department for Education advises; “A GP’s confirmation regarding whether a child has COVID-19 would be valid evidence for deciding on whether a child should attend a setting, however, a telephone helpline would not be able to provide evidence that someone does not have COVID-19.”
The guidance also states that: “In the event that a parent or carer insists on a child attending the setting, the setting can take the decision to refuse the child if in their reasonable judgement it is necessary to protect the other children and staff from possible infection with coronavirus (COVID-19). Any such decision would need to be carefully considered in light of all the circumstances and the current public health advice.”
You must book a test if they are displaying symptoms.
The guidance states that “All children can be tested, including children under 5, but children under 11 will need to be helped by their parents if using a home testing kit”.
The child and the rest of the household and support bubble must self-isolate whilst waiting for the test results.
You must immediately inform the nursery that their child will not be attending due to displaying symptoms and update the nursery with the results of the test as soon as it has been received.
They must book a test if they are displaying symptoms.
The symptomatic person and the rest of the household and support bubble must self-isolate whilst waiting for the test results.
You must immediately inform the nursery that your child will not be attending due to a member of the household or support bubble displaying symptoms and update the nursery with the results of the test as soon as it has been received.
In the event that a parent or carer insists on a child attending nursery, the DfE says that “the setting can take the decision to refuse the child if in their reasonable judgement it is necessary to protect their children and staff from possible infection with coronavirus (COVID-19).”
The DfE adds: “Any such decision would need to be carefully considered in light of all the circumstances and the current public health advice.”
There is an increased risk of infection from a confirmed case, but there is also a risk from children or staff without symptoms.
However, we will track exactly which children and staff any confirmed case has been in contact with and communicate this to all concerned so they can take a test themselves, and their children, to see if they have the virus – in which case they would need to isolate as per the government guidance.
We follow the guidance given by DfE and Public Health England as per any other notifiable virus, such as measles, mumps and scarlet fever, and staff will spend more time on cleaning and hygiene to reduce the risk of spreading any infection.
In line with the current government guidelines staff do not need to be routinely tested at this stage however as both staff and children can be tested if they display symptoms we recommend testing to enable a faster return to work/nursery if a negative result is achieved.
If you have any questions or queries regarding the above documentation please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Senior Leadership Team via email at firstname.lastname@example.org