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How we are responding to COVID-19

At Dean Close Nurseries we value each child as individuals and strive to ensure that they grow into confident, happy learners. We ensure that they are protected from harm and feel loved and cared for in our safe and stimulating environment.

Following the latest government announcement that, with further progress in the reduction of Coronavirus cases, we will be able, from the week commencing 1st June, to welcome back children to our English nurseries; Treetops Cheltenham, Treetops Gloucester and Hedgehogs.

Teddies and Robins Nursery continue in lockdown following the Welsh Government’s announcement, and continue to care for keyworker children only at this time.

The Government have detailed this in their COVID-19 Recovery Strategy and the following documentation:

The Department for Education have provided their rationale as to why and how this can happen. The government are advising that all children of nursery age should return, apart from those who are classed as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable due to pre-existing conditions.’ Those children who are classed as ‘clinically vulnerable’ are asked to follow medical advice;

There has since been much debate about the scientific evidence that underpins the Prime Minister’s decision. We have read all the documentation and I will summarise our plans for you here. One of our first action points was to gather the views of our parents in the form of a survey. Thank you to all of you who have completed this survey. It has provided us with a real insight of your feelings and anxieties at this time which I hope our planning will provide some reassurance.

Social Distancing

We have been updating our COVID 19 Response Risk Assessment to include all site operating procedures. We have considered what protective measures can be implemented in accordance with government advice.

Children of nursery age are NOT expected to socially distance, nor will the staff members who will be providing care. However, they will socially distance in their bubbles. The government advice is that children should be in small groups no larger than 15 children. Our bubbles of children will be small groups of no more than 6 babies, 8 toddlers or 8 preschool children in accordance with their ratio requirements. Each bubble will be cared for by familiar staff members to provide some continuity of care and routines. Bubbles of children will be allocated a designated area of the nursery, making use of areas such as the dining room, gardens and sleep rooms, and bubbles will not mix with another bubble including staff members.

Please note, for those children who attend more than one setting per week such as a childminder or playgroup as well as our nursery, that the government advice is that children should only be attending one setting currently to minimise the risk of infection and spread. Please could you advise your Nursery Manager if this affects you. 

The Environment

For the most part the nursery will remain as familiar as possible for your child. There will be 2m distance markings outside the nursery, and as reminders inside the nursery for staff. Both Treetops nurseries have small rooms that will easily cater for small bubbles of children. The difference here will be that children will now sleep and eat in their room, rather than separate sleep rooms and dining rooms that risk us mixing bubbles. Hedgehogs nursery have large open plan spaces where the furniture can provide dividers to create smaller group sizes. Bubbles of children will be able to go to the bathroom/ nappy change area so long as no other bubble is there at the time to ensure the area has been thoroughly cleaned. Bubbles will also be able to spend time in the gardens, again so long as they don’t mix with another bubble. We have spaced out furniture and removed unnecessary items and soft furnishings from the rooms to enable ease of cleaning. The rooms and surfaces will be cleaned regularly. Hand sanitisers will be provided for each designated area, including appropriate cleaning sprays and cloths.

Parents

Please be aware of the latest Government recommendations for travel to nursery.

Ideally walk or cycle to nursery and avoid public transport. Parents will not be allowed to enter the nursery and the children will be collected from you and delivered to you at the beginning and end of the day. Please can only one parent drop off or pick up and please do not gather outside the nursery. We will have a 2m social-distancing system which we ask you to follow when arriving and leaving.

Priority will continue to be given to those parents who are keyworkers so not to affect the critical work that they continue to do. Clear signage will be displayed at nursery. Please be patient as children are received at the nursery.

Child’s Wellbeing

We will endeavour to assign your child to a bubble that they are familiar with, what they know and remember. We are making plans to best accommodate your child’s well-being as this will undoubtedly be a transition in coming back to nursery. Your Nursery Manager will follow this up with back to nursery transition records including updating health questionnaires. With older children, we will be holding sessions around their personal care, with particular emphasis on ‘Catch it, Kill it, Bin it’. We have access to a number of NHS resources to plan our activities with the children, as they have undoubtedly heard the word coronavirus over the recent weeks, and wondered why they haven’t been able to come to nursery. There will be a real emphasis on educating the children in good hygiene, and how to remain safe during this time.

Staff

The management teams across the nurseries have completed a ‘Prevent Covid 19’ training course in the last week in order to support with our re-opening plans and measures. A number of our staff members have been on furlough leave during this pandemic. With our re-opening plans, we envisage the majority of our staff members returning back to work. The staff will be provided with the latest government advice on Health and Safety in advance of the children returning on 1st June.

Visitors

Visitors will continue not to be permitted to the nursery during this time, with one exception. Prospective parents will be given a virtual tour of the nursery, and where they join our setting, the exception will be on the child’s first settling in session so not to impact on the child’s well-being arriving to a new unfamiliar setting.

The maintenance team will only visit the nursery if absolute necessary and measures will be taken to minimise contact with the children.

Other visitors such as childcare assessors will be able to meet their learners through virtual means where necessary.

Daily routines with regard to Hygiene

On arrival the children will wash or sanitise their hands. They will do this after every visit to the toilet and after every break time. They will also wash their hands before and after snack, lunch and tea each day.

Children will be encouraged not to touch their mouth, nose and eyes and to use a tissue or elbow to cough or sneeze into.

The rooms will be well ventilated, and doors will be held open using Fire Door Guards to avoid contact with door handles where it is safe to do so.

The children will eat and sleep within their designated rooms. The cleaners will undertake a thorough clean of the nursery each evening.

Resources within the room will be kept to a minimum, removal of textiles and toys with intricate details, and cleaned after each session.

The children should not bring any non-essential items to nursery, nor should they take anything home from Nursery.

The staff and children will not be expected to wear face masks as per the government advice.

COVID-19 Symptom Policy

Children must NOT come to nursery if they are displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or if they are in a household who are self-isolating for 14 days due to another member of the household having symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). Please follow the government advice:

If your child becomes unwell at Nursery

If a child becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature at nursery, their parents will be asked to collect them and advised to follow the COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection guidance.

In the nursery, your child will be moved to an isolated First Aid Room near a dedicated toilet, or the most suitable alternative. They will be cared for by a member of staff assigned to their bubble wearing PPE while they await collection. This level of PPE will include a face mask and shield. On collection, they will be advised to get tested and self-isolate for 7 days. Their household should self isolate for 14 days.

All staff and children who are attending the nursery will have access to a test if they display symptoms of coronavirus.

Where your child tests negative, they can return to nursery and their household can end their self isolation.

Where your child tests positive, the rest of their bubble will be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 14 days. The other household members of that wider bubble do not need to self-isolate unless the child they live with in that group subsequently develops symptoms.

As part of the national test and trace programme, if other cases are detected within the cohort or in the wider setting, Public Health England’s local health protection teams will conduct a rapid investigation and will advise the nursery on the most appropriate action to take. In some cases, a larger number of other children may be asked to self-isolate at home as precautionary measure – perhaps the whole room or age group.

  • To access testing, parents will be able to call 111

Contact Tracing

The government is developing a new national test and trace programme. This will bring together an app, expanded web and phone-based contact tracing, and swab testing for those with potential coronavirus symptoms. This programme will play an important role in helping to minimise the spread of coronavirus in the future and we will be asking staff to take part in this. It will also include more traditional methods of contact tracing if a child or parent test positive. The government is recruiting 18,000 contact tracers to support contact tracing and will recruit more if needed. They will play an important part in tracing the contacts of those with coronavirus, including children.

Thank you for all of your support whilst we navigate our way through this and keeping your children’s and our staff members safety at the forefront of everything that we do.

 

By Charlene Burgess – Area Manager & Adrian Bowcher – Foundation Bursar