Thursday, 28 May 2020

Covid-19 Policy


Covid-19 Risk Management Policy

updated 5th September 2020

Background

The Government announced in June 2020 that all schools and Early Years settings should plan to fully reopen to all children as of September 2020 after a period of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. As coronavirus is still present in the community, measures need to be in place prior to, and upon, opening to ensure the safety of staff, children, parents and visitors to the setting.

Throughout this policy, the terms Coronavirus or Covid-19 will be used to identify the virus. Regardless of the term used, they are both referring to the same virus.

 

Statement of Intent

Stepping Stones Pre-School is committed to maintaining the health and safety of children, staff, parents and visitors during the Covid-19 outbreak. We adhere to relevant Government guidance, to ensure that the risk of transmission of Covid-19 within the setting is managed and minimised. The safety of everyone at the setting is our main priority at this time.

 

Aim

The aim of this policy is to ensure the safety of Stepping Stones children, staff, parents and visitors whilst the setting is open during the Covid-19 outbreak. Covid-19 can be spread directly (through close contact, sneezing and coughing) or indirectly (through touching contaminated surfaces

 

The Legal Framework for this is:

Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework (2017)

The Children Act 1989

Coronavirus Act 2020

Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984

 

Linked Documents / Policies

Ø  Covid risk assessment

Ø  Risk assessment for the management of groups within the setting

Ø  Covid Procedure

Ø  Absence policy

Ø  Health and Safety policy

Ø  Bereavement policy

Ø  Procedure for returning to work after a period of absence

Ø  Working from home during the coronavirus outbreak policy

Ø  Safeguarding Children and Child Protection policy

Ø  Curriculum policy

Ø  Special Educational Needs policy

Ø  Attendance policy

Ø  Resources risk assessment

Ø  Lockdown policy

Ø  Fire evacuation procedures

Ø  Sun safety policy

Ø  Stepping Stones Emergency Plan

 

Government Guidance:

·         Cleaning in non-healthcare settings outside the home – 15.7.2020

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings

·         Safer Travel Guidance for Passengers – 21.8.2020

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers

·         Early Years Foundation Stage: Coronavirus Disapplications – 4.9.2020

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-years-foundation-stage-framework--2/early-years-foundation-stage-coronavirus-disapplications

·         Implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings – 1.6.2020

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings

·         How to wear and make a cloth face covering – 15.7.20

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering

·         Who’s at higher risk from Coronavirus – 21.8.20

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/people-at-higher-risk-from-coronavirus/whos-at-higher-risk-from-coronavirus/

·         Coronavirus: getting tested – 12.8.2020

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested

·         Covid-19 guidance for households with possible Coronavirus infection – 31.7.20

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance

·         Stay at home: Guidance for households with possible or confirmed Covid-19 infection – 31.7.20

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

·         Get Well Soon Coronavirus - 29.4.2020

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p08bmd70/get-well-soon-coronavirus

·         Check if you or your child has Coronavirus symptoms – 21.8.20

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/check-if-you-have-coronavirus-symptoms/

·         Quick guide to donning and doffing standard PPE poster – 2.4.20

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/877658/Quick_guide_to_donning_doffing_standard_PPE_health_and_social_care_poster__.pdf

·         Safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care settings including the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – 21.7.20

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care-settings-including-the-use-of-personal-protective-equipment-ppe

·         Actions for Early Years and Childcare providers during the Coronavirus outbreak – 27.7.20

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures

·         Putting on and removing PPE- a guide for health and social care settings – 2.4.20

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GncQ_ed-9w&feature=youtu.be

·         Working safely during Coronavirus – 17.8.20

https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus/returning-to-the-workplace

·         Preparing for the wider opening of early years and childcare settings – 27.7.20

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-early-years-and-childcare-settings-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-early-years-and-childcare-settings

·         Covid-19 Local Outbreak Plans Education and Early Year Settings (Staffordshire County Council) – June 2020

·         NHS Test and Trace Service in the workplace - 22.7.20

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-workplace-guidance

·         NHS Test and Trace: how it works – 21.8.20

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works

·         Keeping children safe in education – 17.6.20

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2

·         Help children aged 2-4 to learn at home during Coronavirus (Covid 19) -16.7.20

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-children-aged-2-to-4-to-learn-at-home-during-coronavirus-covid-19

·         Online education resources for home learning – 24.6.20

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources

·         Safeguarding children and protecting professionals in early years settings: online safety guidance for practitioners – 4.2.19

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safeguarding-children-and-protecting-professionals-in-early-years-settings-online-safety-considerations/safeguarding-children-and-protecting-professionals-in-early-years-settings-online-safety-guidance-for-practitioners

·         Staying alert and safe (social distancing) – 13.8.20

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing#clinically-vulnerable-people

·         Staying safe outside your home – 24.6.20

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-safe-outside-your-home/staying-safe-outside-your-home

·         Managing school premises during the coronavirus outbreak – 7.7.20

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/managing-school-premises-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/managing-school-premises-which-are-partially-open-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak

·         Coronavirus: travel corridors – 27.8.20

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-corridors

·         What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges in the autumn term – 21.8.20

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/what-parents-and-carers-need-to-know-about-early-years-providers-schools-and-colleges-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/what-parents-and-carers-need-to-know-about-early-years-providers-schools-and-colleges-in-the-autumn-term

·         Covid-19: guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable – 18.8.20

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

·         Statutory Sick Pay (SSP): employer guide

https://www.gov.uk/employers-sick-pay

·         Check if you can claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) – 25.6.20

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-back-statutory-sick-pay-paid-to-employees-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19

·         DBS Update Service

https://www.gov.uk/dbs-update-service

·         COVID-19 contain framework: a guide for local decision makers – 28.8.20

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/containing-and-managing-local-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreaks/covid-19-contain-framework-a-guide-for-local-decision-makers

 

Symptoms of coronavirus / Covid-19:

Ø  A new persistent cough

Ø  A temperature above 37.8°C

Ø  Loss or change to your sense of smell or taste (anosmia)

Most people who develop coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms. More information can be found on: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/check-if-you-have-coronavirus-symptoms/

 

Staff responsibilities and deputies in relation to this policy

Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) – Ruth Kitchen

Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead (DDSL) – Rose Dodd

SENCO – Rose Dodd

Deputy SENCO – Kerri Standen

Health and Safety – Kirsty Gibson

Deputy Health and Safety – Rose Dodd

Paediatric First Aid Qualified (12hour) – Rose Dodd, Ruth Kitchen, Kirsty Gibson, Jo Moore

Mental Health and Wellbeing – Jo Moore

 

Risk assessment

The Chair of the Village Hall committee (Tony Jones) is the named responsible person for Health and Safety on the Village Hall management committee. Our Health and Safety Officer (or deputy in her absence) is responsible for carrying out and recording the setting’s Health and Safety checks. In addition to these regular checks, we have risk assessments in place for each activity planned for the children, to allow us to assess the risk posed by Covid-19 and put into place proportionate control measures. We actively monitor that the controls are effective, working as planned and updated as appropriate (for example when an issue is identified) or when there are changes to public health advice.

 

Infection Prevention and Control

We aim to manage and limit the transmission of Covid-19 through adopting this system of controls:

1.    Minimising contact with anyone with symptoms – ANY CHILD WITH SYMPTOMS OR WITH A SYMPTOMATIC INDIVIDIUAL WITHIN THEIR HOUSEHOLD MUST NOT ATTEND STEPPING STONES.

2.    Frequent handwashing

3.    Good respiratory hygiene practices – ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’

4.    Regular enhanced cleaning of the setting, including frequently touched surfaces using standard detergents and bleach

5.    Minimising contact between groups where possible

6.    Where necessary, wearing appropriate PPE

Response to any infection

7.    Engaging with NHS Track and Trace

8.    Managing confirmed cases of Covid-19 amongst the setting community

9.    Containing any outbreaks by following local health team protection advice

10. Notify Ofsted.

 

Controls 1-4 are in place in Stepping Stones all of the time and control 5 is applied where possible and necessary for our setting. Control 6 would apply in certain specific circumstances. Controls 7-10 would be followed when relevant.

 

Attendance of children and staff

Should a child or member of staff, or a member of their household, be showing symptoms of coronavirus / Covid-19, they will not be allowed into the setting.

They will be advised to go home and self-isolate for 10 days, and other members of the household will be advised to self-isolate for 14 days. They will be given information about how to get tested for coronavirus, updated information can be found on https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested.

Ø  Attendance at Stepping Stones remains optional, although strongly encouraged, so that children can enjoy the educational and wellbeing benefits of attending.

Ø  A small number of children will be unable to attend as they are self-isolating due to a positive Covid-19 test (themselves) or because someone in the household is symptomatic.

Ø  Children who have been advised to shield, or who live with someone who has been advised to shield, can return to Stepping Stones on the agreement of a paediatric specialist or GP.

Ø  Should there be a localised outbreak meaning the infection rate increases, shielding could be recommended again for localised areas only. This may lead to further absences from the setting. In these situations, we will endeavour to continue to support the family remotely.

Ø  In line with our Safeguarding Children and Child Protection Policy, we ask parents to inform us by 10am if their child is not going to be at Stepping Stones that day, and to give us a reason why.

 

Actions after Testing

Negative test after having symptoms

Ø  If a child / staff member becomes symptomatic, has a test and the test delivers a negative result, providing they no longer have coronavirus symptoms, they can stop self-isolating. The rest of their household can also stop self-isolating. They could still have a cold or a virus which means they will be better off recuperating at home away from other people should they still feel poorly. However, if their coronavirus symptoms have gone, and the test was negative, they will be welcomed back to Stepping Stones.

Ø  If the child or staff member are still symptomatic, despite the negative test, they must continue to self-isolate for at least 10 days after the onset of their symptoms. The ‘at least 10-day period starts from the day they first became ill. This is because they could still develop coronavirus (COVID-19) within the remaining days.

Positive test

Ø  If the test result is positive, parents / staff member MUST inform Stepping Stones immediately, and the symptomatic person must isolate for at least 10 days from the onset of their symptoms. Their whole household should self-isolate for at least 14 days from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms. The child or staff member can only return to the setting once their temperature has returned to normal. They may return with a cough and anosmia as this can last for a few weeks after the infection has gone.

Ø   Stepping Stones will then report the confirmed case to the local authority (see ‘Reporting confirmed cases in the setting’) and send home close contacts as required.

We ask that parents and staff inform Stepping Stones immediately of the test result.

 

Close contacts

Should a child or staff member test positive for coronavirus, we will send home those people who were in close contact with the person who has tested positive. We will advise these people to self-isolate for 14 days since they were last in close contact with that person when they were infectious. Close contact means:

Ø  direct close contacts – face to face with an infected individual for any length of time, within 1 metre, including being coughed on, a face to face conversation or unprotected physical contact (skin to skin)

Ø  proximity contacts – extended close contact (within 1-2 metres for more than 15 minutes) with an infected individual

Ø  travelling in a small vehicle, like a car, with an infected person.

 

We keep records to help us identify these people. See the section on Test and Trace for more information.

Household members of those staff and children sent home do not need to self-isolate unless the child or staff member who is self-isolating subsequently develops symptoms.

 

Paying Statutory Sick Pay

Stepping Stones will pay SSP if an employee is self-isolating and off work for at least 4 days if any of the following apply:

·         They or someone they live with us coronavirus symptoms

·         They’ve been notified by the NHS or public health authorities that they’ve been in contact with someone with coronavirus

·         Someone in their support bubble has symptoms.

We will also pay SSP if an employee has a letter from the NHS or GP telling them to take extra precautions because they are at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus. This letter will say how long the employee should be off work.

The employee will be paid from the first ‘qualifying day’ (the first day an employee normally works on) they are off work on or after:

·         13th March 2020 – if they or someone they live with has symptoms

·         16th April 2020 – if the employee is shielding

·         28th May 2020 – the employee has been notified by the NHS or public health authorities that they have come into contact with someone with coronavirus

·         6th July 2020 – if someone in their support bubble has symptoms

 

Reclaiming SSP

Stepping Stones can reclaim up to 2 weeks SSP if all of the following conditions are met:

·         The employee was off work because they had coronavirus, were self-isolating or shielding

·         The PAYE payroll scheme started on or before 28th Feb 2020

·         Stepping Stones has less than 250 employees on its books as of 28th Feb 2020.

We cannot reclaim SSP if an employee is off sick for any other reason.

 

Staff not wanting to return to work during the coronavirus outbreak

Staff who feel that they do not wish to return to the workplace during the coronavirus outbreak need to tell the Manager as soon as possible. The Manager will listen to the employee’s concerns and take steps to ensure the safety of the employee.

If someone still does not want to go back to work, they will be able to discuss their options with the Chair depending on their specific circumstances.

Further guidance for this situation is found in the absence policy and the ‘returning to work following a period of absence procedure’.

The Manager or the Chair will conduct a weekly audit of staff at the setting, to ensure she is aware of staff availability for work. Staff who have previously informed the Manager or Chair that they will be absent from work for an agreed period of time will be contacted towards the end of the agreed period for an update on their availability to work at the end of the agreed period.

 

 

Staffing Shortages

If Stepping Stones experiences staff shortages, we will work with the local authority (Staffordshire County Council) to identify how appropriate provision can be put in place while keeping staffing arrangements as consistent as possible. This provision could include pooling staff with another setting, taking on qualified and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checked staff from other educational settings (including local registered childminders) which have been closed, and inviting local registered childminders to work at the setting. Wherever possible, we ensure staffing arrangements are consistent on a weekly basis, rather than a daily basis, in order to limit contacts.

Our Management Committee all have enhanced child barred list DBS certificates which are registered with the Update service and checked termly to ensure continued suitability. If needed, we could call on one of our Committee members to help on a voluntary basis

Our Emergency Plan lists relief staff and volunteers we can call upon if we are short staffed. Their DBS and child barred list checks are currently pending, and their certificates will be monitored termly to ensure continued suitability.

NB – once DBS checks have been submitted, volunteers and staff may work within the setting UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF SOMEONE WITH A DBS CHECK until the DBS disclosure arrives.

 

Visitors to Stepping Stones

Only totally necessary external visitors will be allowed into Stepping Stones. All other visits will be postponed and a plan agreed to re-arrange it for when it is safe to do so. Deliveries of supplies, such as milk, will be made outside of session hours. Should professionals from another setting need to attend (e.g.: Speech and Language Therapists or counsellors) we will assess whether the meeting / visit can be carried out virtually. If not, the visitor will closely follow the protective measures guidance within this policy, and the number of attendances should be kept to a minimum. Should any site visits be needed outside of setting opening hours (i.e.: for maintenance) a record will be kept of who visited and why. Parents are not allowed into Stepping Stones unless it is totally essential. Visits from prospective parents will not be able to take place, instead the parent will be signposted towards our Facebook page or website.

 

Stepping Stones trips and visits

Stepping Stones may take small groups of children to outdoor public spaces. The trip will be fully risk assessed and it will be made clear how the group will stay 2 metres away from other people where possible. This will be done in line with government guidance on the number of people who can meet outdoor in public places. As of 31.8.2020 this is currently a maximum of 6 people from different households.  We will not take larger groups of children to public outdoor spaces at this time.

 

Emergency drills during the outbreak

Fire drills

Ø  fire alarm systems and call points will be regularly checked to ensure they are working

Ø  the setting will be subject to regular hazard spotting

Ø  fire doors will be checked regularly to ensure they are functional

Ø  fire drills will be held and recorded as normal. This is the responsibility of the Health and Safety officer.

Ø  The fire evacuation procedure remains the same as the evacuation point is outside. Staff will be expected to position themselves in such a way that social distancing is maintained.

Lockdown drills

The lockdown drills will remain the same, with the added security measure of the gates at the front of the Village Hall being locked after drop off until pick up time. The space behind the stage would still be used as a safe place, and adults would be spread along the line of children, thus ensuring as much social distancing between adults as possible. Should the situation arise where we needed to use this drill for real, the safety of children and staff would far outweigh the risk of potentially catching the virus. We will continue to practise this drill during sessions, the arrangement and recording of them is the responsibility of the Health and Safety officer.

 

Maintaining staff safety

Ø  Stepping Stones staff do not routinely wear face masks.

Ø  During normal working, additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is not required even if the 2m distance between individuals is not maintained

Ø  PPE is required as normal for nappy changing, first aid and intimate care procedures (disposable apron and gloves).

Ø  If a child develops symptoms of coronavirus at Stepping Stones and needs personal care until they are collected and taken home, the supervisory / care giving member staff should wear full PPE. At this stage, a face mask and shield should also be worn if the 2m distance between the child and staff member cannot be maintained or if contact between the child and adult is needed.

Ø  Should a symptomatic child need to go to the toilet, they will be allocated a separate toilet. It will be cleaned and disinfected afterwards, before anyone else uses it.

Ø  No special washing of uniform is needed – normal personal hygiene and clothes washing after work is sufficient

Ø  A member of staff who has treated a child who has become unwell with a new continuous cough and fever does not need to go home afterwards unless they develop symptoms themselves, or unless the child they treated subsequently tests positive for the virus (they will be a ‘close contact’). They should wash their hands for 20 seconds after treating the child and disinfect the area thoroughly.

Ø  Children attending Stepping Stones and Stepping Stones staff are entitled to be tested for coronavirus should they display symptoms.

Ø  Use of the kitchen / toilet areas is staggered to ensure social distancing for staff.

Ø  Staff are asked to bring in their own lidded cups and own cutlery to eat lunch with (if required) to reduce the possibility of virus transmission.

 

Maintaining the safety of vulnerable staff

Vulnerable staff should take extra care when social distancing and Stepping Stones will carry out individual risk assessments based on the needs of its staff. An individual may choose to take on a role that does not allow for a 2m social distance to be maintained. That is their choice. If they spend time within 2m of others, the Manager will assess whether this decision involves an acceptable level of risk for that individual.

A list of conditions which make staff vulnerable can be found on this link: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/people-at-higher-risk-from-coronavirus/whos-at-higher-risk-from-coronavirus/.

 

Correct use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Reference to PPE means:

 

Ø  fluid-resistant surgical face masks

Ø  disposable gloves

Ø  disposable plastic aprons

Ø  eye protection (for example a face visor or goggles)

 

Where full PPE is recommended, this means that:

 

Ø  a facemask should be worn if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained from someone with symptoms of coronavirus

Ø  if contact is necessary, then gloves, an apron and a facemask should be worn

Ø  if a risk assessment determines that there is a risk of fluids entering the eye from, for example, coughing, spitting or vomiting, then eye protection should also be worn

 

When PPE is used, it is essential that it is used properly. This includes scrupulous hand hygiene and following guidance on how to put PPE on and take it off safely in order to reduce self-contamination. For instructions, see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care-settings-including-the-use-of-personal-protective-equipment-ppe. This information will be displayed on the cupboard doors and in the toilets for staff to refer to.

 

There is a Public Health England / NHS video showing how to put on and take off PPE on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GncQ_ed-9w&feature=youtu.be

 

Wearing a face mask

Face masks must:

Ø  cover both nose and mouth

Ø  not be allowed to dangle around the neck

Ø  not be touched once put on, except when carefully removed before disposal

Ø  be changed when they become moist or damaged

Ø  be worn once and then discarded - hands must be cleaned after disposal

 

Unless the mask has been worn by someone with coronavirus symptoms, the used mask and other PPE can be put in a refuse bin discarded with the normal waste.

 

Children attending more than one setting

To minimise contact between groups of children and staff, Government guidance as of 31.7.20 states that parents should be encouraged to limit the number of settings their child attends, ideally ensuring their child attends the same setting consistently.

 

Maintaining the safety of children in the setting

It is NOT recommended for parents to report their child’s temperature in the morning when they are dropping their child at the setting. It is also not recommended for Stepping Stones to routinely measure the temperature of the children.  Public Health England are clear that this is an unreliable method for identifying Covid-19.

Stepping Stones understands that young children cannot be expected to remain 2m away from other children and staff. We put measures into place to minimise how many other children and staff children have contact with.

 

Ø  Stepping Stones continues to be responsible for safeguarding and caring for children who attend sessions. For more information see ‘Keeping children safe in education’.

Ø  Activities and toys are arranged a safe distance apart.

Ø  Toys and areas are cleaned thoroughly in between use.

Ø  There will be thorough cleaning of all rooms at the end of the day in preparation for the following day.

Ø  Symptomatic children who attend Stepping Stones are entitled to testing.

Ø  Handwashing and good respiratory practices will be modelled and adhered too (see ‘Handwashing and respiratory practices’ section in policy).

Ø  Parents can bring in soft toy comforters for their child if required.

Ø  It is acceptable for dummies to be brought in for the youngest children; these will be washed and disinfected before and after use.

Ø  Outside space will be used wherever possible as science shows that transmission rates outdoors are significantly lower than indoors. Outdoor space is used for breaks as well as outdoor learning when the weather allows.

Ø  Outdoor toys, such as scooters and bikes, are used and appropriately cleaned between uses (see cleaning section of the policy).

Ø  The number of children in the toilets at once will be monitored to ensure there is a maximum of one child per cubicle. The maximum number of people in the toilet room at once will therefore be 3 children and 1 member of staff. A member of staff helps with handwashing afterwards if needed.

Ø  The toilets are cleaned thoroughly twice a day – once in the morning by the setting’s cleaner and once at the end of the day by staff. They are sprayed down regularly with disinfectant throughout the day, focussing on ‘touch points’.

Ø  We discourage children from using the potty at Stepping Stones. The toilet seats are family toilet seats designed for young children, however, should a child be too small to use the toilet they will be able to use the potty. It will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected immediately after use.

Ø  Malleable resources, such as play dough, will be used but will be thrown away after use. As will sensory resources such as rice, pasta and cotton wool.

Ø  As public health advice states that sand pits cannot be thoroughly cleaned between uses, they will not be used at this time.

Ø  Planned activities that are offered to the children during the day will be specifically risk assessed in light of the Covid-19 threat. See the ‘activity risk assessment’ document. These risk assessments will be constantly monitored to ensure the controls remain effective and are appropriately updated in line with public health advice.

Ø  Group singing activities will be carried out outdoors where possible. If the weather is not favourable, we will use the large hall, ensure the children are all facing the same way and are spaced out.

Ø  Stepping Stones are aware that in a tiny number of cases, Covid-19 can cause complications in children. This can result in a condition called PMIS (Paediatric Multi System Inflammatory Syndrome). Signs and symptoms of this are stuck on the inside of the cupboard door for staff reference.

Ø  We continue to use a range of strategies to keep children safe online whilst they are at the setting. These measures include checking apps, websites and search results before using them with children and supervising children when they are accessing the internet.

Ø  Children must bring their own hats, jumpers etc to the setting to avoid borrowing setting supplies and risking cross contamination.

Ø  When it is hot, staff will continue to apply sun cream after lunch in line with our Sun Safety policy. When applying sun cream, staff will sanitise their hands after each child. They will wash their hands after they have finished applying sun cream. To minimise close contact between staff and children, the member of staff who changes nappies will also apply sun cream on that day and records will be kept of who has applied cream.

 

 Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

Ø  Consideration and planning will be given to re-adjusting children with SEND back into the setting. We are aware that for these children, settling back into routines may be particularly challenging.

Ø  We are vigilant to the face that there may be children with additional or worsened social emotional and mental health needs as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19), and that there may also be children who have fallen further behind their peers as a result of time out of Stepping Stones, or missed diagnosis as a result of the period of absence.

Ø  We will ensure that we have the staffing levels to support children with SEND at safe ratios and our SENCO continues in her role.

Ø  We will continue to cooperate with the local authority in the performance of its SEND duties during this period.

 

Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing

Ø  We understand that staying at home for a prolonged period of time and the changes in routine may have caused some difficulties for some children, such as changes in behaviour and mood.

Ø  As part of our planning, we will consider the mental health, pastoral or wider wellbeing support children may need, including with bereavement, and how to support them to transition into the setting after a long period of absence.

Ø  Upon their return to Stepping Stones, should a child or family be identified as vulnerable or in need of support for mental health and wellbeing issues, our Mental Health and Wellbeing Officer will contact the local authority to find out what support is available to them.

Ø  We will monitor how vulnerable children continue to have their needs met and be supported as we open to more children.

 

Maintaining the safety of parents / carers

Stepping Stones is aware of potential ‘pinch points’ during the day and knows that drop off and pick up times are likely to be the main times at which possible adult to adult transmission could occur.

Ø  Only one parent / carer is able to accompany the child to the setting and pick them up at the end of the day

Ø  Parents and carers are informed of pick up and drop off times and the new protocols to minimise the risk of adult to adult transmission.

Ø  Parents / carers are told not to gather at entrances or doors

Ø  Parents / carers will not be able to accompany their child into the building. They will hand their child and their belongings over to a member of staff by the white door on the ramp.

Ø  Parents / carers are told to maintain social distancing from other adults whilst dropping off or collecting their child. There are markers placed 2m apart on the yard to help them with this. Reminders about drop off and pick up procedures are sent out via email and Facebook.

Ø  Parents / carers are encouraged to walk or cycle with their child to the setting. Where this is not possible and public transport is used, government guidance on staying safe on public transport is shared with parents / carers.

Ø  Children will be signed in and out by staff once they have entered the setting / been picked up by their parent / carer.

Ø  Parents / carers are asked not to let their child bring in toys / resources from home (unless it is a comforter) – they can put pictures of things they would like their child’s Key Worker to see on Tapestry.

 

Parents and children travelling to the setting

Stepping Stones advises parents and children to travel to the setting by bike or on foot.

We are aware that some parents may need to use public transport (bus) to come to the setting as they live in neighbouring villages.

Should this be the case, parents will be given the following advice:

Ø  To travel off peak when the buses are less busy

Ø  Pay for tickets using contactless payments

Ø  To avoid starting or ending their journey at a busy bus stop

Ø  Maintain distance from other passengers on the bus – sit away from others

Ø  Avoid physical contact with other passengers

Ø  Face away from other passengers

Ø  Be aware of which surfaces you are touching – minimise what you touch

Ø  Do not touch your face

Ø  Cover your mouth or nose with a tissue / elbow if coughing / sneezing

Ø  Avoid eating or drinking on the bus until the bus has been disembarked and hands washed for 20 seconds with soap and water

Ø  Carry hand sanitiser with a minimum 60% alcohol content to use immediately upon leaving the bus, and wash hands for 20 seconds with soap as soon as possible after arriving home.

Ø  Wear a face covering whilst on public transport. Parents are advised not to wear a surgical face mask. Information on how to make and wear a face covering can be found in ‘how to wear and make a cloth face covering’. It is important to wash hands before putting the face covering on and wash them again once the face covering has been taken off. It is not recommended for children under the age of 3 to wear a face covering.  Face coverings can be washed along with other laundry, using normal detergent. Any face covering worn by a child whilst they are on their way to Stepping Stones needs to be taken home by the parent after they have dropped their child off. It should not be left at the setting.

 

Handwashing and respiratory practices

Stepping Stones has sufficient handwashing facilities – there are two sinks in the toilets in the setting, two sinks in the kitchen plus sinks in the village hall toilets outside of the setting. They will be checked daily to ensure that there is soap and paper towels / working hand dryer in each one.

Children and staff are encouraged to wash their hands frequently for 20 seconds using running water and soap. They are encouraged to dry their hands thoroughly with a disposable paper towel.

Where soap and water are not readily available, children and staff will use sanitiser to clean their hands. Staff will teach children how to use it effectively. For the very youngest children, skin friendly cleaning wipes may be used as an alternative.

Hands are washed on arrival at the setting, before and after eating, after coughing or sneezing and before going home. Staff monitor handwashing to ensure handwashing protocols are followed and they help younger children who may need more help

Everyone will wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with soap and running water after any contact with someone who is unwell with coronavirus symptoms.

Children and staff are encouraged to use a tissue or their elbow to cough or sneeze into. Tissue waste is thrown in the bin. Tissue bins are emptied throughout the day.

Children and staff are discouraged from touching their mouths.

We keep the inside space as ventilated as possible, we have windows open to provide natural ventilation. We prop doors open to increase ventilation, so long as this does not infringe on safeguarding and fire regulations.

 

Cleaning

The infection risk from coronavirus (COVID-19) following contamination of the environment decreases over time. It is not yet clear at what point there is no risk. However, studies of other viruses in the same family suggest that, in most circumstances, the risk is likely to be reduced significantly after 72 hours.

Evidence shows that cleaning with normal household detergents and bleach are effective in getting rid of the virus.  

At Stepping Stones, we have a cleaning schedule which ensures that cleaning is generally enhanced through the day. It includes:

Ø  Frequently touched surfaces being cleaned more often than normal (a minimum of twice a day – one of which is at the start of the day)

Ø  Clear processes for maintaining cleanliness of food preparation areas and tables

 

We clean hard surfaces such as tables and chairs with either a steamer or an antibacterial spray scientifically tested to remove human coronavirus / enveloped viruses. We leave it on the surface for at least 5 minutes before wiping it off with a disposable cloth / paper towel. Should a surface be particularly soiled, we clean it first with warm soapy water and a disposable cloth / paper towel and then disinfect it with the anti-bacterial spray as outlined above. We pay particular attention to frequently touched areas, such as table tops, door handles and doors. We clean these at least twice a day.

We wash our hands for 20 seconds with soap and running water regularly and dry our hands thoroughly. We also wash our hands: after removing gloves, aprons and other PPE; and after cleaning.

We use disposable cloths and paper roll to clean all hard surfaces, such as floors, chairs, door handles, doors, tables and sanitary fittings.

If a risk assessment of the setting (or an area within the setting) indicates that an increased level of the virus may be present (for example where a symptomatic individual has been), then additional PPE will be needed by the cleaner to protect their eyes, mouth and nose.

Should an area be contaminated with potential or confirmed coronavirus, we use either:

Ø  Combined detergent disinfectant solution at a dilution of 1000 parts per million chlorine; OR

Ø  Household detergent followed by disinfectant (1000 av cl); OR

Ø  Another disinfectant which has been proven to ensure its effectiveness against enveloped viruses

We avoid making splashes and spray as we clean as this can aid the transmission of the virus.

If something cannot be disinfected, it will be steamed.

Heavily contaminated objects that can’t be cleaned will be disposed of.

Where we use the dishwasher for cleaning purposes, we ensure that it does at least one full cycle per week to remove scale and prevent bacteria growth.

 

Waste disposal

From potential / confirmed Covid-19 cases

This includes personal waste, tissues, PPE and disposable cloths.

Ø  Put the waste in a plastic bag and tie the bag up

Ø  Put the bag inside another plastic bag and tie the outer bag

Ø  Place bag in a secure place for 72 hours and mark it for storage. Should the person’s test come back as negative, it can be disposed of immediately in the ‘black bag’ bin out the front.

 

If, in an emergency, we need to remove the waste bag marked as ‘for storage’ before the 72 hours is up, we will:

Ø  Keep it separate from other waste

Ø  Arrange collection by a specialist contractor as hazardous waste

 

Routine waste

Any routine waste can be disposed of as normal – by placing any used wipes and tissues in ‘black bag’ waste bins. There is no need to double bag routine waste or store it for a period of time before throwing it away.

 

Laundry

Staff and children’s uniform can be washed according to manufacturer’s guidance. Staff and children need to arrive at work / nursery each morning in clean clothes. It is recommended that dirty laundry is not shaken as this can aid the transmission of the virus. Dirty laundry that has been in contact with an unwell person can be washed with other people’s things. Anything that is used to transport dirty laundry needs cleaning and disinfecting as per the instructions at the start of the section.

 

Temporary changes to the Early Years Foundation Stage

EYFS disapplications came into force on 24.4.2020. These changes will end on 25.9.20.  Once the temporary changes are lifted, there will be a transitional period of two months (up until 25.11.20) during which the disapplication around staffing qualifications in ratios will continue.

As of 25.9.20 we will be delivering a broad and balanced EYFS curriculum, unless under government restrictions and will recommence carrying out the 2 year old Progress Check.

 

Period of Intervention

As of 26.9.20, new regulations apply should Covid related restrictions / requirements be imposed on our local area, either through the Public Health (control of disease) Act 1984 or the Coronavirus Act 2020.

These new regulations cannot be used due to an incidence of Covid-19. They can only be applied should there be government imposed restrictions in place which mean that Stepping Stones is unable to deliver the EYFS as required.
From 26.9.20 until 31.8.21, should the government confirm that a geographical area is subject to Covid related restrictions, disapplications would automatically apply.  They would remain in place for a 2 week period after restrictions are lifted.

 

Disapplications due to a period of intervention

·         Stepping Stones will make reasonable endeavours to meet the learning and development requirements of the EYFS. We will plan as broad a range of learning opportunities as we can, whilst considering practicalities around cleaning and sharing of resources. However, there may be times when it will not be possible to provide activities to all children across all 7 areas of learning. In these situations, we will prioritise PSED, C&L and Physical Development.

·         There is no expectation on Stepping Stones to complete the 2 year old progress check. Stepping Stones will remain alert to any emerging concerns over the development of children in its care. However, we would carry out the check as soon as possible once the child joins / returns to the setting. We would consider doing this even if the child has turned 3, if we and their parents believe it is the right thing to do.

·         Adult : child ratios remain the same

 

Areas of national intervention

According to the Tiers of Intervention as published by the government on 28.8.20, Stepping Stones would remain fully open up to and including Tier 3 of the national restriction for education and childcare. However, at Tier 1 the EYFS disapplications (above) would apply.

Should Tier 4 be implemented, we would be open to only priority groups (children of critical workers and vulnerable children). In this situation, our temporary attendance policy would apply.

Where there are no local restrictions in place, Stepping Stones will remain open to all children as the Tiers of Restriction do not apply.

 

Temporary changes to the Attendance Policy

This would be implanted only should we be at, or coming out of, Tier 4 of the Tiers of Restriction

If necessary, children will be offered places at Stepping Stones in this order of priority:

1.    Vulnerable children:

Ø  those who have been assessed as being in need under section 17 of the Children Act 1989, including children who have a child in need plan, a child protection plan or who are a looked-after child

Ø  those who have an education, health and care (EHC) plan and it is determined, following risk assessment, that their needs can be as safely or more safely met in the setting

Ø  those who have been assessed as otherwise vulnerable by educational providers or local authorities (including children’s social care services), and who are therefore in need of continued education provision - this might include children on the edge of receiving support from children’s social care services and adopted children and others at the provider and local authority’s discretion

2.    Children of Essential Workers, see the list on: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

3.    3 and 4 year olds who will be transitioning to reception in September 2021 (Stepping Up group)

4.    Younger age groups.

 

Monitoring attendance

We continue to work with Staffordshire County Council to provide them with details of the numbers of children attending our setting. We do this by completing and submitting a weekly online questionnaire.

 

Staff training

The Manager will regularly monitor the training available to staff and enable staff to complete Covid-19 training that is relevant to their role.

Staff will receive training on how to put on and use a face mask correctly, in case there is a symptomatic individual at nursery who needs care.

Staff have all successfully completed training entitled ‘Infection Prevention and Control in an Early Years Setting’ (through Educare and Early Years Alliance) and ‘Prevent Covid-19’ (through the Virtual College).

Staff meetings and training will be done virtually where possible. Staff not currently working at the setting will be included in this.

 

Communication with parents and carers

Parents / carers will be informed of this policy, risk assessments and procedures before the setting opens on 1st June 2020.  They will be informed of subsequent reviews to the policies and procedures on a regular basis. Any reviewed policies and procedures will be uploaded onto our Facebook page and website in the place of the outdated policies.

Parents and carers will be told not to come to the setting if they have symptoms. They are referred to https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance.

Resources which could help parents / carers talk to their child about coronavirus and the changes it has brought about are shared by the setting. One such resource is a CBeebies programme on this link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p08bmd70/get-well-soon-coronavirus. There are also ideas on https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-children-aged-2-to-4-to-learn-at-home-during-coronavirus-covid-19 and https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources

 

Managing a confirmed case of coronavirus within the setting

If a child develops symptoms whilst at the setting, they will be immediately isolated from the rest of the children. Ideally this will be behind a closed door. They will be accompanied by a care giving member of staff, and this staff member will wear full PPE (eye protection, face mask, gloves and apron). Parents will be called, and the child sent home immediately and told to self-isolate for 10 days. Members of their household will be told to self-isolate for 14 days. They will all be encouraged to get tested. Detail on testing can be found on https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested.

In the case that the child develops symptoms that could be potentially life threatening, 999 will be called and an ambulance requested.

If the child subsequently tests negative for coronavirus, the child can return to the setting providing they are well. Should they still be symptomatic, they will need to remain at home as the test could have been taken too early for the virus to show up.

If the child tests positive for coronavirus, we will report the positive test to the Local Authority Support Team and will act according to their guidance. In the case of 2 or more positive tests, we will also report the outcomes to Public Health England as well. We will co-operate fully with their investigations and act upon their recommendations.

 

Reporting confirmed cases of coronavirus in the setting

Confirmed cases will be reported to the Local Authority Response Team and/or Public Health England as per the Staffordshire County Council guidelines ‘Covid-19 Local Outbreak Plans Education and Early Year Settings’. In summary:

·         An outbreak constitutes 2 or more confirmed or suspect cases within a 14-day period.

·         An outbreak will be reported to both Public Health England and the Local Authority Response Team immediately. PHE will be notified through https://surveys.phe.org.uk/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=n4KL97m2I

or by telephone to 0344 225 3560 (opt 0 opt 2)

·         Individual cases and an overall rise in sickness absence where coronavirus (COVID-19) is suspected, could signify that the setting has an outbreak. This will be reported to the LA Response Team ONLY (C19LocalOutbreakControl@staffordshire.gov.uk) 

·         General enquiries around cases / outbreaks can be made via the Education and Early Years Outbreak Team (C19LOC.education@staffordshire.gov.uk / 01785 355777).

A brief summary of what actions are to be taken in the case of confirmed / suspected / individual / multiple cases is stuck on the inside of the cupboard door, along with contact details. There is a copy of this information in the policy file in the setting.

    

Ofsted

We will inform Ofsted of:

·         Any confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the setting (whether it is staff or children)

·         Whether the setting has to close due to public health advice

·         When the setting re-opens after a Covid-19 linked closure.

This contact will be made via email to enquiries@ofsted.gov.uk

We have informed Ofsted via email that we have re-opened as a setting from 1st June 2020.

 

Test and Trace Procedure

For information on: how test and trace fights the virus; how NHS test and trace works, developing symptoms; ordering a test; contact tracers; how the NHS would contact people through the service; sharing information; the NHS app and support for people who are self-isolating, see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works

To aid this process, we keep records of:

Ø  which children and staff are in the setting on which dates. We have an attendance register that could be used for this.

Ø  any close contact that takes place between children and staff. We record which members of staff has changed nappies, carried out intimate care procedures and applied sun cream to children.  

 

In the event of a spike in infection rates that results in a localised community spread, we will follow government advice to help to contain the spread. Should a larger restriction of attendance be needed, we will endeavour to support the learning and development of our children remotely.

 

Family holidays abroad

We fully understand and respect that parents may wish to take foreign holidays during this period. To ensure that all government requirements regarding quarantine are adhered to, we will request the following information from families who are travelling abroad:

·         dates of travel out and back

·         location of the holiday

We will then monitor the government guidance regarding travel corridors and quarantine procedures to ensure that these requirements are fully complied with before the child returns to Stepping Stones. Should quarantine be necessary, and in the absence of clear government guidance, Stepping Stones requires that people who undertake quarantine do so for the first 14 full days AFTER the date they arrive back in the UK.

 

Fees during the outbreak

Fees for sessions are payable as they have been previously. The only exception is that, in the case of a positive coronavirus test and subsequent self-isolation, refunds may be issued for the child’s missed Stepping Stones sessions. Evidence of a positive Covid-19 test result would be required in order for this to be considered. These refunds would be made at the discretion of the Management Committee.

 

This policy was adopted at a meeting of _________________________________

Held on (date) ________________________________

 

Signed on behalf of the Management Committee  __________________________

Role of signatory (e.g. Chairperson etc) ________________________________

 

 

Appendices to this policy

·         Covid procedures

·         Covid symptom information

·         Paediatric Multi System Inflammatory Syndrome symptom information

·         Local outbreak Control school and EY setting Overview

·         Passenger guidance infographic document

·         PHE 11606 Putting on PPE 062

·         Quick guide to donning and doffing standard PPE

·         Reporting confirmed cases of Covid

·         Resources risk assessment

·         Groups Management risk assessment

 

Last reviewed: 25th September 2020