Monkey Puzzle has been in active talks with all major decision-makers in the industry, including the UK Childcare COVID19 Crisis Working Group to put various measures in place for a phased return to a ‘new normal’. Government guidance states “In all education, childcare and social care settings, preventing the spread of coronavirus involves dealing with the direct transmission (for instance, when in close contact with those sneezing and coughing) and indirect transmission (via touching contaminated surfaces). A range of approaches and actions should be employed to do this. These can be seen as a hierarchy of controls that, when implemented, creates an inherently safer system, where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced.”
At Monkey Puzzle Golders Green, we will be implementing the following hierarchy of controls in addition to the policies, risk assessments and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that have been put into place/amended. These are supported by our existing policies and procedures that have been tried and tested in a childcare environments for over 40 years and the new ‘coronavirus reinstatement policy’:
- A SOP for access to the nursery premises in times of Covid-19 * A SOP for the arrival and departure of children
- A SOP for dealing with suspected and confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the setting * A SOP for staff arriving at the nursery
- A SOP for handwashing
- A SOP for wearing PPE (not attached)
In addition to the above, below are other measures we are taking to control the spread of infection within the setting:
Staff and children will be divided into two small groups of under 2s and over 2s. Over 2s and designated staff will be a fixed group who will only use facilities and equipment downstairs. Under 2s and their designated staff will only use the space and resources upstairs. The staff and children from different groups will not be allowed to share resources, space or break times. * When the nursery footfall does increase, further groups of a maximum of 4 children per group will be formed with a designated staff member. We will ensure these groups are kept at 2 meters distance wherever possible and do not share resources in one day without cleaning in the interim. This policy will be reviewed every month to make any necessary adjustments. Access and Information
For busier times, 2-meter distancing will be clearly marked outside the entrance.
Visitors will be limited to out of hours or weekends unless essential or emergency in which case strict hygiene and distancing protocol will be followed. Deliveries will be taken at the door and show around will be arranged at very quiet times but ideally virtually or out of hours. Parents/Carers will be given daily information on boards outside the setting and will not be allowed inside the building. Staff will collect and return children at the door For fire drills, separate exits will be used for the two groups who will remain socially distanced at the collection point until safe to return through separate entrances.
- All children and staff will have a temperature check on the entry once a day. Train staff on effective handwashing and preventing Covid-19 (certified government courses). A more rigorous internal staff cleaning rota in addition to twice a week professional cleaning and once a month deep clean of the nursery. High contact points will be disinfected throughout the day. Bulk purchase of antibacterial sprays, sanitisers, masks, gloves and aprons has been made and will be kept fully stocked at all times. Appropriate signage will be placed throughout the premises as a reminder to ensure hand hygiene and encourage people to ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ including visuals/steps on how to wash hands properly. Antibacterial sprays, sanitisers and bins will be kept in the reception for staff who will be expected to change into and out of their uniforms on the premises. Staff uniforms will also be washed on the premises. Markings will be placed by the children’s sinks to ensure they stagger hand washing on returning from outside play/before and after meals etc. All children have to bring labelled bags to the setting with only essential items also labelled. Dummies, bottles and comforters are to be left at the nursery and all children are required to being separate indoor and outdoor shoes. Unlabelled items will be disposed at the end of the day. While the office will be closed for visitors, staff are available for discussion, handover and concerns over email and phone throughout the day. * Water fountain in preschool will be disconnected.
The nursery does not allow children to bring food in from home and staff follow strict hygiene procedures when administering meal-times. We will make this stricter by asking the chef to place meals in a trolley which will be taken by a staff member from the downstairs group to the stairs and left at the bottom to be collected by a staff member from the upstairs group. Teaching and learning
Normal tracking for children against the Early Years curriculum will resume. Weekly cooking club and virtual stretch and grow sessions will continue as normal and will be available to those deferring return to nursery until further notice. Children will be taught the importance of hygiene and handwashing in these special circumstances so that it is built into the curriculum and children become part of the solution as much as possible. * Children’s sleeping patterns will also be accommodated but separated by grouping. All children who sleep at the nursery will have their own labelled sleep bags with their bedding which will be regularly cleaned.
- For shared areas like the garden, all soft furnishing and small items will be removed so that only equipment and items that can be easily and effectively disinfected are left out. No sand play will take place and water will be replaced between groups. The climbing frame and all shared play areas will be disinfected between groups as well. Risk assessments and cleaning will be carried out every time a group leaves the garden and another is due to use it. This measure will be built into the daily routine. Within rooms that groups use, we will limit resources out at one time so that a frequent cleaning rota can be put in place and daily cleaning is more effective. All outdoor field trips and outings including forest school will be suspended for now. The children will have access to our custom made garden and will be encouraged to spend a lot of time outside every day.
What will the nursery be like?
The daily routine will largely be the same and every effort will be made to bring as much normality to the children’s day as possible. They might notice the lack of interaction with staff members and children from the other group but they will still be with the teachers they are used to seeing and have lots of fun throughout the day. What happens if a child or staff member shows symptoms of coronavirus? If a child or staff member develops symptoms compatible with coronavirus, we will use a designated isolation area and arrange for them to go home straight away. The room/area will be deep cleaned immediately afterwards. Children and staff in that group will be more closely monitored and should a second person develop symptoms, the whole group will be asked to isolate for 7 days and get tested. Their fellow household members should self-isolate for 14 days too. Where the child or staff member tests negative, they can return to the nursery and the fellow household members can end their self-isolation. Where the child or staff member tests positive, the rest of their group will be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 14 days. We will seek advice from Public Health England should we have a confirmed case of coronavirus. You can find more details on this and fees structure during isolation in the SOP for dealing with suspected cases of Covid-19 in the setting.
The government guidance for parents is available here.
Here is a document that focuses on the science and risks of transmission in children.