Thursday, 28 May 2020

Covid-19 Policy

Covid-19 Risk Management Policy

Last reviewed: 2nd March 2021


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 essential 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 illness and virus.


Statement of Intent

Stepping Stones Pre-School is committed to maintaining the health and safety of children, staff, parents and essential 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.



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

Ø  Would you send your child to Stepping Stones? – parental flow chart

Ø  What to do if a child tests positive for Covid-19 – Dept of Education


Government Guidance:

·         Cleaning in non-healthcare settings outside the home – 16.10.2020

·         Safer Travel Guidance for Passengers – 11.2.2021

·         Early Years Foundation Stage: Coronavirus Disapplications – 15.1.2021

·         How to wear and make a cloth face covering – 15.7.2020

·         Coronavirus: getting tested – 27.2.2021

·         Covid-19 guidance for households with possible Coronavirus infection – 15.2.2021

·         Stay at home: Guidance for households with possible or confirmed Covid-19 infection – 15.2.2021

·         Get Well Soon Coronavirus - 29.4.2020

·         Symptoms of coronavirus – 18.2.2021

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

·         Safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care settings including the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – 1.3.2021

·         Actions for Early Years and Childcare providers during the Coronavirus outbreak – February 2021

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

·         Working safely during Coronavirus – 26.2.2021

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

·         NHS Test and Trace Service in the workplace – 2.2.2021

·         NHS Test and Trace: how it works – 11.1.2021

·         Keeping children safe in education – 18.1.2021

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

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

·         Coronavirus (COVID-19) Meeting with others safely (social distancing) – 7.1.2021

·         Coronavirus: travel corridors – 11.2.2021

·         Covid-19: guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable – 25.2.2021

·         Statutory Sick Pay (SSP): employer guide

·         Check if you can claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) – 10.11.20

·         DBS Update Service

·         COVID-19 contain framework: a guide for local decision makers – 29.12.2020

·         What to do if a child or adult is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) – February 2021

·         First aid during the coronavirus pandemic – 8.1.2021

·         Working safely during coronavirus – 10.2.2021

·         Ventilation and air conditioning during the coronavirus pandemic – 3.12.2020

·         COVID-19: review of disparities in risks and outcomes – 11.8.2020

·         Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for pregnant employees – 26.2.2021

·         Education and Childcare settings: national lockdown from 5th January 2021 – 5.1.2021

·         Coronavirus (Covid 19): Test to Release for International Travel – 18.1.21


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:


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, Lucy Bayliss


The responsibilities of Stepping Stones as a setting during the outbreak

Stepping Stones is responsible for:

Ø  safeguarding – working together with local agencies and services to actively look for signs of harm given the greater risk of harm that some children may have been exposed to through coronavirus (COVID-19)

Ø  supporting the learning and development of - and caring for - children who attend, as set out in the early years foundation stage (EYFS) framework

Ø  in the case of vulnerable children, particularly those with social workers, we continue to encourage these children to attend regularly and will notify their social worker if they stop attending

Ø  planning and implementing the system of controls, building on the hierarchy of protective measures that have been in use throughout coronavirus (COVID-19)

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; or half termly as a minimum.

We ensure that when risk assessing, we consider the risks faced by staff and children with protected characteristics (for example age, sex, deprivation levels, ethnicity and occupation).


System of controls: protective measures

We adopt the following protective measures in a way that addresses the risks posed by coronavirus, works for our setting, and in line with the learning and development needs of children. This includes full educational and care support for children who have SEND.


Ø  ensure that all staff understand the system of controls and how they are applied in the setting. Time should be taken for staff to review the actions in the system of controls and ask questions

Ø  ensure that parents and carers are aware of the system of controls, how this impacts them and their responsibilities in supporting it

By following the guidance on the system of controls, we will effectively reduce the transmission risk of Covid-19 in the setting and create an inherently safer environment.


Infection Prevention and Control

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

1.    Minimising contact with individuals who are required to self isolate by ensuring they do not attend Stepping Stones.

2.    Use of face coverings in recommended circumstances

3.    Clean hands more thoroughly and more often than usual

4.    Ensure good respiratory hygiene for everyone by adopting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach

5.    Maintain enhanced cleaning of the setting, including frequently touched surfaces often, using standard detergents and bleach

6.    Minimising contact across the setting and maintaining social distance whenever possible

7.    Keep occupied spaces well ventilated


In specific circumstances, we will:

8.    Ensure that individuals are wearing appropriate PPE where needed


Response to any infection

We will always ensure that we are:

9.    Engaging with NHS Test and Trace process

10. Manage and report to Ofsted and Public Health England advice line (0800 046 8687) any confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the setting community

11. Contain any outbreaks by following local health protection team advice


In the event that Stepping Stones has to close due to confirmed case(s) of Covid, our Covid risk assessments would be thoroughly reviewed prior to re-opening.


Close contacts

A ‘contact’ is a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) with a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test. Anyone can be a contact anytime from 2 days before the person who tested positive developed their symptoms, and up to 10 days after, as this is when they can pass the infection on to others.


A close contact includes:

·         anyone who lives in the same household as someone with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19)

·         anyone who has had any of the following types of contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) with a PCR test:

Ø  face-to-face contact including being coughed on or having a face-to-face conversation within 1 metre skin-to-skin physical contact for any length of time

Ø  been within 1 metre for 1 minute or longer without face-to-face contact

Ø  been within 2 metres of someone for more than 15 minutes (either as a one-off contact or added up together over 1 day)

Ø  travelled in the same vehicle or a plane

We keep records to help us identify these people. We keep records of:

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

·         any close contact that takes place between children and staff. We record which members of staff has changed which children’s 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.

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.


System of controls: prevention

1.    Minimising contact with individuals who are required to self isolate by ensuring they do not attend Stepping Stones.

Children, staff and other adults must not come into the setting if:

Ø  they have one or more coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms

Ø  a member of their household (including someone in their support bubble or

childcare bubble if they have one) has coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms

Ø  they are required to quarantine having recently visited countries outside the

Common Travel Area

Ø  they have had a positive test


When an individual develops coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or has a positive test:

Ø  children, staff and other adults must not come into Stepping Stones if they have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms for at least 10 full days from:

·         the day after the start of their symptoms

·         the test date if they did not have any symptoms but have had a positive test


Anyone developing symptoms during the day will be sent home. These are essential actions to reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).


If anyone in the setting becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, or has a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia) they:

·         must be sent home to begin isolation, the isolation period includes the day the symptoms started and the next 10 full days - if any of the individual’s household members are also present at the setting they will need to be sent home at the same time

·         are advised to follow guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection

·         should arrange to have a test to see if they have coronavirus (COVID-19) - those prioritised for testing include education and childcare workers. The whole household must self-isolate if any member of the household is awaiting a test / results of a test.

·         other members of their household (including any siblings) should isolate. Their isolation period includes the day the first person in their household’s symptoms started (or the day their test was taken if they did not have symptoms), and the next 10 full days.


If a child is awaiting collection:


·         they should be moved, if possible, to a room where they can be isolated behind a closed door with appropriate adult supervision

·         if it is safe to do so, a window / door should be opened for ventilation

·         if it is not possible to isolate them behind a closed door, they will be moved to an area which is at least 2 metres away from other people

·         if they need to go to the toilet while waiting to be collected, they should be taken to a separate bathroom if possible - the bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected using standard cleaning products before being used by anyone else

·         PPE must be worn by staff caring for the child while they await collection if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained (such as for a very young child or a child with complex needs)

·         as is the usual practice, in an emergency situation call 999 if someone is seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk


When an child / staff member has had close contact with someone with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms

·         any member of staff who has provided close contact care to a child with  symptoms, all other members of staff or children who have been in close contact with the symptomatic person, do not need to go home to self-isolate.

·         they must, however, self-isolate if the symptomatic person subsequently tests positive; they develop symptoms themselves (in which case they should arrange for a test); they are requested to do so by NHS Test and Trace or the PHE advice service (or PHE local health protection team if escalated)

Everyone must wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with soap and running water or use hand sanitiser after any contact with someone who is unwell. The area around the person with symptoms must be cleaned after they have left to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people. See cleaning section of this policy.

Evidence from PHE shows that routinely taking the temperature of children is not recommended as this is an unreliable method for identifying coronavirus (COVID-19).


2.    Ensure face coverings are used, in recommended circumstances

Stepping Stones staff will not routinely wear face coverings. Face coverings are not necessary when adults are interacting with children, even if social distancing is not possible. Face coverings may have a negative impact on interactions between staff and children, and their use when interacting with children in the setting will be avoided (unless the member of staff is interacting with / caring for a child who is potentially symptomatic of Covid-19).

The government is not recommending universal use of face coverings in early years education settings because the system of controls, provides additional mitigating measures. Stepping Stones staff are required to wear a face mask whilst in communal areas of the Village Hall, for example, using the toilets.

PHE advises that for health and safety reasons, face coverings should not be used for children under three. In addition, misuse may inadvertently increase the risk of transmission and there may also be negative effects on communication and thus children’s development.

Should a visit to the setting during opening hours be unavoidable, Stepping Stones reserves the right to request that the visitor(s) wear a face covering.

Stepping Stones expects staff to have access to their own face coverings. However, in the event that a staff member struggles to find one, forgets it, or it becomes soiled / unsafe to use there is a small contingency supply in the PPE drawer in the double door cupboard.


Some individuals are exempt from wearing a face covering. These exemptions would apply in Stepping Stones as well. This exemption applies to those who:

·         cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability

·         speak to, or provide assistance to, someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate


Wearing a face covering

Face coverings must:

·         cover both nose and mouth

·         not be allowed to dangle around the neck

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

·         be changed when they become moist or damaged

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


Safe removal and disposal of face coverings

We have a process for removing face coverings when staff or visitors who use face coverings arrive at the setting, and when face coverings are worn at the setting in certain circumstances. This process is communicated to staff and visitors. Safe wearing of face coverings requires cleaning of hands before and after touching – including to remove or put them on – and the safe storage of them in individual, sealable plastic bags between use. Where a face covering becomes damp, it should not be worn and the face covering should be replaced carefully. Used disposable face coverings will be discarded of in a lidded bin, unless they have been worn near someone who is symptomatic of Covid-19. In this case, they will be double bagged and put into storage for 72 hours before throwing in the outside bin.


3. Ensure everyone is advised to clean their hands more thoroughly and more often than usual

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an easy virus to kill when it is on the skin. This can be done with soap and running water or hand sanitiser.

When we wash our hands, we wash thoroughly for 20 seconds with running water and soap and dry them thoroughly using a disposable paper towel, or use alcohol hand rub or sanitiser ensuring that all parts of the hands are covered.

Staff and children all clean their hands regularly, including:

·         when they arrive at the setting

·         when they return from breaks

·         when they re-enter the building after playing outside

·         before and after eating

·         after using the toilet

·         after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing or putting their hands near their mouth or face

There are enough hand washing or hand sanitiser stations available so that all children and staff can clean their hands regularly. There are two sinks in the toilet cubicles, plus two in the kitchen area.

The use of hand sanitiser is closely supervised, given risks around ingestion. Young children will be helped to clean their hands properly with both soap and sanitiser. Handwashing / sanitising will be closely monitored by staff to ensure that children develop the correct technique.

Handwashing routines are built into the setting culture and are very much part of our daily timetable.


4. Ensure good respiratory hygiene for everyone by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach

The ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach continues to be very important. We ensure that we have enough tissues and bins available in the setting to support children and staff to implement this routine. Tissues are put immediately into a disposable rubbish bag and hands are cleaned straight away with soap and water or hand sanitiser. As with hand cleaning, we work with the younger children and help them to get this right. These routines are embedded so that all children understand that this is now part of how we operate.

Children are encouraged to cough or sneeze into a tissue or their elbow (not their hands) and to wash their hands afterwards.


5. Maintain enhanced cleaning, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces often using standard products, such as detergents and bleach

In line with the risk assessment and timetabling of the day, we have a cleaning schedule that ensures cleaning is generally enhanced and includes:

·         more frequent cleaning of rooms that are used by different groups

·         frequently touched surfaces being cleaned more often than normal

·         clear procedures for maintaining cleaning processes for food preparation areas and dining areas

·         different groups do not need to be allocated their own toilets, but toilets are cleaned regularly and children are encouraged to clean their hands thoroughly after using the toilet


6. Consider how to minimise contact across the setting and maintain social distance wherever possible

Stepping Stones can run according to normal group sizes. This is because the overall risk to children from coronavirus (COVID-19) is low and because we are a small setting. We run two groups from January 2021, and these two groups will be based in different rooms for four days out of the five. On one day, however, there will be a mixture of children from both groups in the same room, as well as three staff from both groups. Therefore, we will be operating as two separate groups within one combined bubble. The groups will stay apart as much as possible, but there will be some overlap due to the nature of our setting.


7. Keeping occupied spaces well ventilated

We ensure that Stepping Stones is well ventilated, and a comfortable teaching and learning environment is maintained. We achieve this using a variety of measures, including:

·         a mechanical ventilation system in the main hall. This is adjusted to increase the ventilation rate wherever possible and checked by the Village Hall committee to confirm that normal operation meets current guidance. The system will be operated so that it brings air from the outside into the main hall.

·         natural ventilation – opening windows and doors (ensuring this does not pose a safeguarding risk).  In colder weather, windows are opened just enough to provide constant background ventilation and periodically opened more fully when it is safe to do so to purge the air in the space.

Further advice on this can be found in Health and Safety Executive guidance on air conditioning and ventilation during the coronavirus outbreak on this link:

To balance the need for increased ventilation while maintaining a comfortable temperature, the following measures are used as appropriate:

·         opening high level windows in preference to low level to reduce draughts

·         increasing the ventilation while spaces are unoccupied

·         re-arranging furniture where possible to avoid direct draughts

·         heating used as necessary to ensure comfort levels are maintained, particularly in occupied spaces.


8. Ensure individuals wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when necessary

Reference to PPE means:

·         fluid-resistant surgical face masks

·         disposable gloves

·         disposable plastic aprons

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

Where full PPE is recommended, this means that:

·         a face mask should be worn if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained from someone with symptoms of coronavirus

·         if contact is necessary, then gloves, an apron and a face mask should be worn

·         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 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:


9. Promote and engage with asymptomatic testing when appropriate

Families and staff of Stepping Stones will be able to access lateral flow tests to be done at home twice a week, and are able to participate in non-symptomatic community testing programmes. As critical workers, staff will be prioritised where possible for community testing. This non symptomatic testing is encouraged, but not compulsory.


System of controls: response to any infection

10.  Engage with the NHS Test and Trace process

We fully engage with the NHS Test and Trace process. We inform staff and parents that they must:

·         book a test if they are displaying symptoms - the main symptoms are a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

·         not come into the setting if they have symptoms. They must be sent home to self-isolate if they develop them in the setting. All children can be tested if they have symptoms, including children under 5.

·         provide details of anyone they have been in close contact with if they were to test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or if asked by NHS Test and Trace

·         self-isolate if they (or anyone in their support / childcare bubble) develop symptoms. have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), have returned from the UK from certain other countries.

·         Anyone who displays symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can and should get a test. Tests can be booked online through the NHS website, or ordered by telephone via NHS 119 for those without access to internet.

Essential workers, which includes anyone involved in education or childcare, have priority access to testing.

It is down to individual choice if parents and staff members choose to download and use the free NHS Test and Trace App.

In case of a positive test, parents and staff need to follow the guidance set out in the following document:


11. Manage and report to Ofsted and the PHE advice line confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the setting community

Confirmed cases must 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:

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

Ø  An outbreak will be reported to both Public Health England and the Local Authority Response Team immediately. PHE will be notified through or by telephone to 0344 225 3560 (opt 0 opt 2)

Ø  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 ( 

General enquiries around cases / outbreaks can be made via the Education and Early Years Outbreak Team ( / 01785 355777).

In these cases, the Local Health Protection Team will provide advice on who to send home (if needed) In all cases, the names of the person(s) who have tested positive will NOT be shared with parents and carers unless it is essential to protect others.

Public Health England will contact Stepping Stones if they are aware that someone who should be isolating is at the setting.

Public Health England DfE helpline

If there is a confirmed case in the setting, we can also contact the dedicated advice service introduced by Public Health England (and run by NHS Business Authority). This can be reached by calling the DfE helpline on 0800 046 8687 (option 1).

We will carry out a rapid risk assessment with their advisors who will advise us of what actions to take, based on the local public health advice. This will enable us to confirm who has been in close contact with the person in the period they were infectious and ensure they are asked to self-isolate.

Following triage, the advisor will escalate the case to the PHE local health protection team if needed.

The advice service (or PHE local health team if escalated) will work alongside us to guide us through whatever actions we need to take. We will send home close contacts of the child / staff member who has tested positive, in line with their advice.


We will inform Ofsted of:

·         Any confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the setting (regardless of 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 the online form on: Whether the setting needs to close will be included in the report, alongside our reference number, the setting address, details of the incident and those involved.

It is a legal requirement that Ofsted are informed within 14 days of the confirmed case.


When someone self-isolating develops symptoms

If someone who is self-isolating because they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19):

·         starts to feel unwell and gets a test for coronavirus themselves, and the test delivers a negative result, they must remain in isolation for the remainder of the 10 days from the day after the last contact with the individual who tested positive. This is because they could still develop coronavirus (COVID-19) within the remaining days

·         if the test result is positive, they should inform Stepping Stones immediately, and isolate for at least 10 days after their symptoms started (which could mean the self-isolation ends after the original 10-day isolation period). Their household should self-isolate for at least 10 days from the day after contact with the individual who tested positive, following the guidance on this link:


Admitting children back to Stepping Stones after self-isolation

We will not request evidence of negative test results or other medical evidence before admitting children or welcoming them back after a period of self-isolation.

In the event that a parent or carer insists on a child attending Stepping Stones, we reserve the right to refuse entry to the child if, in our reasonable judgement, it is necessary to protect the setting from possible infection with coronavirus (COVID-19). Any such decision would be carefully considered in the light of all the circumstances and current public health advice.


11. Contain any outbreak by following local health protection team advice

We will contact our local health protection team for advice if:

·         the number of cases exceeds 2 within 14 days

·         we have taken the action outlined but are still seeing more cases

·         we are thinking the setting might need to close because of the number of people affected

·         a child or staff member from Stepping Stones setting has been admitted to hospital

·         we are getting significant interest from local media


Safeguarding and Child Welfare

Children may be experiencing a variety of emotions in response to coronavirus (COVID-19), such as anxiety, stress or low mood. This may particularly be the case for vulnerable children, including those with a social worker. It is important to contextualise these feelings as normal responses to an abnormal situation. Some may need support, a few may be showing signs of more severe anxiety or depression. Others will not be experiencing any challenges. Attending Stepping Stones allows social interaction with other children and staff, which benefits wellbeing.

We continue to take all necessary steps to keep children safe and well during this period and have regard to the statutory guidance on working together to safeguard children. The safeguarding and welfare sections of the EYFS foundation framework still apply, including requirements relating to child protection arrangements. We continue to work closely with the local authority.

We aim to provide more focused support where issues are identified that individual children may need help with, drawing on external support where necessary and possible. We will also consider support needs of particular groups we are already aware of for needing additional help (for example, children in need), and any groups we identify as newly vulnerable.

We can use the free resource MindEd learning platform for professionals, which contains materials on peer support, stress, fear and trauma, and bereavement.

Where there is a concern that a child is in need or suffering or likely to suffer from harm, Stepping Stones (generally led by the DSL or DDSL) will follow our Safeguarding and Child Protection policy and part 1 of the statutory safeguarding guidance keeping children safe in education and consider any referral to statutory services (and the police) as appropriate.

At all times, either (or both) the DSL and / or the DDSL are on site.

Stepping Stones’ Safeguarding Children and Child Protection policy was last updated in September 2020 and was adopted at Stepping Stones AGM in October 2020.It has been shared with staff.


Virtual School provision


The role of the Virtual School Head (VSH) is to oversee the provision of every looked after child (LAC) in Staffordshire. This responsibility continues throughout the pandemic. The VSH (as of 30th December 2020) is Sarah Rivers. She can be contacted on:

Phone 1: 01785 854195

Phone 2: 07976 191025



Guidance for administering first aid


Whilst administering first aid, staff will try to assist at a safe distance from the casualty as much as possible, and minimise the time that they share a breathing zone.

If the casualty is capable, we will ask them to do things for us, but treating the casualty properly would be our first concern. We will be mindful of the 3P model – preserve life, prevent worsening, promote recovery.

Preserve life: CPR

  • Call 999 immediately – tell the call handler if the patient has any COVID-19 symptoms
  • Ask for help. If a portable defibrillator is available, ask for it. The closest defibrillator to Stepping Stones is either outside the Co-op (Main Street) or outside the Doctor’s Surgery (Exchange Rd).
  • Before starting CPR, to minimise transmission risk, we would use a cloth or towel to cover the patient’s mouth and nose, while still permitting breathing to restart following successful resuscitation
  • We will use the following disposable PPE:

o    a fluid-repellent surgical mask

o    disposable gloves

    • eye protection
    • apron
  • We will only deliver CPR by chest compressions and use a defibrillator (if available) – we do not do rescue breaths.


Prevent worsening, promote recovery: all other injuries or illnesses

  • If we suspect a serious illness or injury, we will call 999 immediately. We will tell the call handler if the patient has any COVID-19 symptoms
  • If giving first aid to someone, we will use the recommended equipment listed above
  • We minimise the time we share a breathing zone with the casualty and direct them to do things for us where possible


After delivering any first aid

  • Disposable items used during the administration of first aid will be discarded safely and re-usable items will be cleaned thoroughly
  • Items that could be contaminated with Covid-19 will be disposed of in a secure way (see the ‘Waste disposal’ section of this policy.
  • The staff member who administered the first aid treatment will wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser as soon as possible after administering treatment.


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 10 days. They will be given information about how to get tested for coronavirus, updated information can be found on

Ø  Attendance at Stepping Stones for children remains optional, although strongly encouraged. This is 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), because someone in the household is symptomatic or because they are a close contact of someone who is symptomatic.

Ø  Where shielding advice is in place, children deemed to be clinically extremely vulnerable are advised not to attend Stepping Stones. We will do our best to maintain contact with these children, and to support them remotely.

Ø  Children and young people whose parents or carers are clinically extremely vulnerable can continue to go to settings, as can children who live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable, but who are not clinically extremely vulnerable themselves.

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.


Parents or carers who are anxious about their child attending Stepping Stones

We are mindful that many parents and carers may be reluctant or concerned about sending their child to Stepping Stones and we endeavour to put the right support in place to address this. This may include:

·         children who have themselves been shielding previously but have been advised that this is no longer formally advised

·         those living in households where someone is clinically vulnerable or are clinically extremely vulnerable

·         those concerned about the comparatively increased risk from coronavirus (COVID-19), including those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds or who have certain conditions such as obesity or diabetes

If parents or carers of children with possible risk factors are concerned, we will happily discuss their concerns and provide reassurance of the measures that are in place to reduce the risk or virus transmission.

Clear communications with parents and carers regarding the measures being taken to ensure the safety of their children will be necessary, including the role that they play, as parents and carers, in the safe operating procedures.

We will be mindful of how to ensure communications are accessible to specific groups of parents and carers (such as those with English as an additional language) and parents and carers of vulnerable children, to encourage attendance of these groups.


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 is 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 and includes the following 10 full days. 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 10 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 relevant authorities (see ‘Section 10 and 11 of the Protective Measures) and send home close contacts as required.

We ask that parents and staff inform Stepping Stones immediately of the test result, regardless of whether it is positive or negative.


Vaccines and teething

Vaccines may cause a mild fever in children. This is a common and expected reaction, and isolation is not required unless coronavirus (COVID-19) is suspected.

Whilst teething can cause some known side effects such as flushed cheeks and sore gums, NHS guidelines state that fever is not a symptom of teething.

Parents and carers should monitor side effects from a vaccination or teething, and if they are concerned about their child’s health, they should seek advice from their GP or NHS 111.

If coronavirus (COVID-19) is suspected, settings should follow the advice in the system of controls.


Staff needing to self-isolate after returning from abroad

The government has set a requirement for people returning from some countries to self-isolate for 14 days on their return.

There is a risk that where staff travel abroad, their return travel arrangements could be disrupted due to factors arising beyond their control in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19), such as the potential for restrictions on travel in the place they are visiting.

Where it is not possible to avoid a member of staff having to self-isolate when they are due to return from leave, Stepping Stones has the right to consider if it is possible to temporarily amend working arrangements to enable them to work from home.


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 has coronavirus symptoms

·         They have 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.

·         They have been advised by letter to shield because they’re clinically extremely vulnerable and at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus

·         They have been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery for up to 14 days

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 or have tested positive for Covid-19.

·         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

·         26 August 2020 – if your employee has been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery)


Test and Trace Support Payments

Employees who are told to self-isolate by a test and trace service could be entitled to a £500 support payment from their local authority.

The Department for Health and Social Care has launched the Self-Isolation Service Hub telephone number: 020 3743 6715. The phone line is open seven days a week, 8am to 8pm, allowing a setting to provide contact details of those individuals who have been asked to self-isolate and are likely to be eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary payment.

By providing these details, close contacts of positive cases identified at the setting will be formally advised to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace and provided with an NHS Test and Trace Account ID. Individuals who have not been formally advised to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace will not receive an NHS Test and Trace Account ID and will not be able to claim from the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme.

In order for any staff who may be eligible for a payment from the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme to be able to claim, we could follow these steps:

1. Ensure that we collate a list of appropriate close contacts for the person who has tested positive within the setting and inform these close contacts that they now need to self-isolate.

2. Call the new Service Hub on 020 3743 6715 as soon as you have the eight-digit NHS Test and Trace Account ID (sometimes referred to as a CTAS number) of the person who has tested positive.

3. Provide the details of the person who has tested positive, along with the details of

the relevant close contacts who have been identified. If we do not have NHS Test and Trace Account ID for the person who has tested positive, Hub staff will assist in tracing the person in order to register their contacts on the Test and Trace system(CTAS).

4. NHS Test and Trace will then contact individuals to formally advise them of their need to self-isolate and provide them with an NHS Test and Trace Account ID.

5 Following this, individuals who are employed on a low income, unable to work from home and losing income as a result may qualify for the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme through their local authority. Full information on the scheme and how to apply can be found on:


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. SSP can be reclaimed through the Government Gateway website, by looking on this link:


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 the staff member still does not want to return 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, social worker or counsellor) we will assess whether the meeting / visit can be carried out virtually. If needed, visits that allow a vulnerable child to meet a social worker, key worker or other necessary support should continue on site and visits for SEND therapies can also continue on site.

If the external professional needs to attend in person, they must:

·         follow our infection control procedures

·         keep the number of attendances to a minimum

·         wash hands frequently

·         where possible to do so, maintain social distancing


Should any site visits be needed outside of setting opening hours (i.e.: for maintenance) a record will be kept by the Village Hall committee of who visited, when and why.

Parents are not allowed into Stepping Stones unless there is a specific need / emergency. If it is unavoidable for a parent to enter the setting (ie: to collect a poorly child), they will need to wear a face mask whilst in the setting, avoid close contact with any other children, social distance from all members of staff and stay in the setting for the minimum possible time.

Visits from prospective parents will not be possible at the present time. They will be signposted to our Facebook page, webpage and receive an electronic copy of our prospectus. Existing parents will be able to see what their child has been doing through Tapestry.


Stepping Stones trips and visits off site

Stepping Stones will only take small groups of children off site in exceptional circumstances, for example for wreath laying on Remembrance Day. These trips will be limited to outdoor public places and on the proviso that:

·         it is for the purpose of education or childcare

·         we remain within the EYFS staff child ratios

·         we conduct a risk assessment in advance

·         the risk assessment demonstrates that we can remain socially distant (2 metres) from other people and groups, wherever possible

·         good hygiene is maintained throughout

·         thorough handwashing happens before and after the trip

  • the trip is carried out in line with relevant local restriction tier guidance and coronavirus (COVID-19) secure measures on transport and at the destination
  • appropriate insurance arrangements are in place

During periods of National Lockdown, we will not be undertaking trips out of the setting.



Recruitment will continue as usual if required. The current guidance advises limiting the number of visitors to the setting, so a flexible approach to interviews can be adopted. Alternative options to face-to-face interviews can be offered where possible, such as using video conferencing.

Where face-to-face meetings are arranged, it will be made clear to candidates that they must adhere to the system of controls that is in place. Where possible, these meetings will take place outside of the setting, for example in the Tarmac Annexe. Stepping Stones reserves the right to require candidates to wear face coverings where social distancing cannot be safely managed.

We continue to adhere to the legal requirements regarding pre-appointment checks.


Supply staff and students

Where it is necessary to use supply staff in the setting, or welcome visitors such as students, those individuals will be expected to comply with our arrangements for managing and minimising risk, including taking particular care to maintain distance from other staff.

The presence of any additional members of staff should be agreed on a weekly rather than a daily basis, where possible, in order to limit contacts.


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.


Intimate care procedures

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


Uniform and clothing

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. 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.


Staff use of the toilet / kitchen area

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

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 clinically vulnerable staff

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.

Whilst at work, staff members should follow the guidance set out in this policy to minimise the risk of transmission. This includes taking particular care to observe good hand and respiratory hygiene, minimising contact and maintaining social distance from other staff in settings. This provides that ideally, adults should maintain a 2 metre distance from others. Where this is not possible avoid close face to face contact and minimise time spent within 1 metre of others. While the risk of transmission between young children and adults is likely to be low, adults should continue to take care to socially distance from other adults.

People who live with those who are clinically extremely vulnerable or clinically vulnerable can attend the workplace.

A list of conditions which make staff vulnerable can be found on this link:


Managing the safety of extremely clinically vulnerable staff

It is acceptable for clinically extremely vulnerable people to attend work at Stepping Stones if Lichfield District is in Tier 1, 2 or 3. There are controls in place to minimise the risk of transmission as much as possible. However, if staff live or work in an area where formal shielding advice has been put in place, and they have received a new shielding notification informing them of this, we do not expect them to come to work.

As of 5/1/2021 the whole of England is in a National Lockdown. This means that clinically extremely vulnerable staff should not attend work. These staff should also not attend work should Lichfield District be in Tier 4.

Advice given to shield will be based on advice from the Chief Medical Officer. The government will inform clinically extremely vulnerable people if they are advised to shield. Staff are not advised to follow formal shielding advice again unless they receive a new shielding notification advising them to do so.


Staff who are pregnant

Pregnant women are considered ‘clinically vulnerable’ or in some cases ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ to coronavirus (COVID-19) and therefore require special consideration. More information can be found on

In these situations, we would carry out a risk assessment to follow the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSW). More information is available on

Information contained in the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19) in pregnancy should be used as the basis for a risk assessment.  It can be found on this link:

Pregnant women of any gestation should not be required to continue working if this is not supported by the risk assessment. As part of this risk assessment, we would consider whether adapting duties and/or facilitating home working may be appropriate to mitigate risks.

Women who are 28 weeks pregnant and beyond or are pregnant and have an underlying health condition that puts them at a greater risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) at any gestation, should take a more precautionary approach. We would ensure that pregnant women are able to adhere to any active national guidance on social distancing or advice for pregnant women considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable (this group may previously have been advised to shield).


Staff who may otherwise be at increased risk from coronavirus (COVID-19)

Some people with particular characteristics may be at comparatively increased risk from coronavirus (COVID-19), as set out in the review of disparities in risks and outcomes report.  It can be found on this link: This looked at different factors including age and sex, where people live, deprivation, ethnicity, people’s occupation and care home residence. The reasons are complex and there is ongoing research to understand and translate these findings for individuals in the future. If people with possible risk factors are concerned, we encourage them to discuss their concerns with the Manager so that am explanation can be given about the measures the setting is putting in place to reduce risks. Stepping Stones will, as far as possible, try to accommodate additional measures and follow advice relevant to local restriction tiers.

People who live with those who have comparatively increased risk from coronavirus (COVID-19) can attend work.


Children attending more than one setting

We strongly encourage parents and carers to limit the number of settings their child attends, ideally ensuring their child only attends one setting consistently. This is also the same for staff. This is based on government advice as of 4.2.21.


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  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  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. These are to stay in pushchairs, and used when the child is in the pushchair sleeping. Children are not to have them whilst accessing activities due to the risk of virus transmission.

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  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  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  Pushchairs will be used by the child owner only. Their handles will be disinfected before being stored for the duration of the child’s session.

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.


Malleable resources

Ø  Malleable materials such as sand, water, mud and playdough can be used for messy play.

Ø  These resources will be fully risk assessed prior to using them. The risk assessment will ensure that these resources will:

·         be handled by no more than 15 people at a time

·         be replaced after use if they cannot be cleaned according to  manufacturers instructions

·         surfaces, tools and implements used will be cleaned and dried carefully after use

·         hands are washed before and after using the resources


 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 fact 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  Staying at home for a prolonged period and the change of routine may cause difficulties for some children, such as changes in behaviour or mood.

We will ensure that, through our planning, we consider:

•  the mental health, pastoral or wider wellbeing support children may need, including with bereavement

• how to support them to transition into the setting after a long period of absence

• in some cases, increased welfare and safeguarding risks

Ø  This may lead to an increase in social, emotional and mental health concerns, particularly for vulnerable groups such as:

• children with a social worker

• previously looked-after children who left care through adoption or special


Ø  Should a child or family be identified as vulnerable or in need of support for mental health and wellbeing issues, we 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 and will actively look out for signs of harms as appropriate.


Staff mental health and wellbeing

There is support and information on: There is also a staff hub on the following link:


Singing and musical activities

We will continue to plan and carry out singing and musical activities as these activities build confidence, help children live happier, more enriched lives, and discover ways to express themselves. However, we will put the following measures in place to reduce the risk of transmission:

·         playing instruments and singing in groups will take place outdoors wherever possible

·         if indoors, use a room with as much space as possible, for example larger rooms. Rooms with high ceilings are expected to enable dilution of aerosol transmission

·         if singing indoors, social distance each child 2 metres apart

·         limit the numbers of children taking part to account for ventilation of the space. It is important to ensure good ventilation


We will implement the following measures to reduce the risk whilst using musical equipment:

·         increased handwashing before and after handling equipment

·         avoiding sharing instruments - each child to have their own

·         instruments will be placed in a collection point after use and disinfected



Drop off / pick up time

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. Where private cars are used, we advise that families do not car share.

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 referred to the following guidance:



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, soap and water, or a disinfectant 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. 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.


Temporary changes to the Early Years Foundation Stage

EYFS disapplications came into force on 24.4.2020. These changes 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.

We are not required to carry out the 2 year old Progress Check during the pandemic.


Planning for, and supporting, learning
Stepping Stones will prioritise helping young children to adapt to their new routines and supporting children to settle back into the setting, especially where there have been long periods of absence. Continuing to support early language and communication skills is essential. Through our planning, we will encourage children who have had limited exercise throughout lockdown to exert themselves physically. In addition to this, we will:

·         consider how stories, singing and games can be used to help children to socialise and resettle into familiar everyday routines

·         plan how children can learn in age-appropriate ways about how they can keep themselves safe, including regular handwashing and using tissues

·         consider how to encourage children to learn and practise these habits through games, songs and repetition


Unless Stepping Stones needs to invoke the EYFS Disapplications, the full learning requirements of the EYFS must legally be met.





Tiers 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.

Decisions on any restrictions necessary in education or childcare settings are taken separately on a case-by-case basis, in the light of local circumstances, including information about the incidence and transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).


EYFS Disapplications due to local or national restrictions

·         EYFS Disapplications cover the period from 30 September 2020 until 31 August 2021. There is a 2 week transition period once the relevant restrictions have been lifted.

·         During this period, disapplications will apply providing that there are government restrictions and requirements in place AND Stepping Stones must deem these restrictions to mean that we are unable to deliver the EYFS as required.

·         Should a number of staff be required to self-isolate (under the Public Health (Control of Disease) act 1984), and if this is significant enough to impact on the ability of Stepping Stones to deliver the EYFS, the disapplications can also be used.

·         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




Tiers of national restriction for childcare

There may be exceptional circumstances in which some level of restriction to education or childcare is required in a local area. In those situations, restrictions will be implemented in a phased manner – the key aim being to retain as much face-to-face education and access to childcare as possible. These ‘tiers of restriction’ will ensure that extensive limitations on education and childcare are a last resort, and that priority is given to vulnerable children and children of critical workers for face-to-face provision in all cases.

Where there are no local restrictions in place, education provision should continue to remain fully open to all, and these tiers do not apply.

Decisions will need to be made on a case-by-case basis in the light of local circumstances, including information about the incidence and transmission of coronavirus.

Tier 1, 2 & 3 – Stepping Stones remains open and continue to allow all children to attend, on site, with no other restrictions in place.

Tier 4 – Stepping Stones allows the full-time attendance on site only to priority groups: vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. 


Temporary changes to the Attendance Policy

This would be implemented only should we be unable to fully staff Stepping Stones, or be at Tier 4 of the tiers of national restriction for childcare

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

1.    Vulnerable children and the children of critical workers:

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

Ø  children whose parents are identified critical workers on this list:

2.    3 and 4 year olds who will be transitioning to reception in September 2021 (Stepping Up group)

3.    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 bi-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.

Four members of staff have 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).

Further staff training will be done virtually where possible. Any training that needs a face to face element included for legal reasons will be completed through a Covid secure provider.


Communication with parents and carers

Parents / carers have been informed about this policy, risk assessments and procedures. 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.


Talking to children about coronavirus

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: There are also ideas on and


Actions to be taken if a child’s normal setting needs to close

A child moving to Stepping Stones because their setting has closed

If a child moves to Stepping Stones because their normal setting has closed, important information should be provided by the parent or carer to Stepping Stones on day one. This includes emergency contact details, dietary requirements and medical needs to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of the child.

If Stepping Stones needs to close

In the case of vulnerable children, Stepping Stones would notify the local authority (and social worker, where relevant) that these vulnerable children need alternative provision. We would work with the families of vulnerable children and local authorities (and social workers, where relevant) to support this.

We would do whatever we reasonably can to provide the receiving setting with any relevant welfare and child protection information

We would make the receiving setting aware of the reason the child is vulnerable and any arrangements in place to support them. As a minimum, the receiving setting should, as appropriate, have access to a vulnerable child’s EHC plan, child in need plan, child protection plan or, for looked-after children, their personal education plan, and know who the child’s social worker is (and, for looked-after children, know who the responsible virtual school head is)

·         The transfer of necessary information should ideally happen before a child arrives at the new setting and, where that is not possible, as soon as reasonably practicable. Any exchanges of information will ideally happen between the designated safeguarding leads (or deputies), and between special educational needs co-ordinators (SENCOs) or named individual with oversight of special educational needs provision for children with EHC plans

·         While Stepping Stones must continue to have appropriate regard to data protection and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), this does not prevent the sharing of information for the purposes of keeping children safe.


Family holidays abroad

We fully understand and respect that parents may wish to take foreign holidays when legal allowed to. To ensure that all government legislation 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, Stepping Stones requires that people who undertake quarantine do so on the day they arrive back in the UK plus 10 full days AFTER the date they arrive back in the UK.

A private test can be taken on the 5th full day of self-isolation to see if they can stop self-isolating early. More information can be found on:


Fees during the outbreak

Fees for sessions are payable as they have been previously. The main exceptions are when there is a barrier to accessing childcare, based on government guidance or the law, parents or carers will not be charged for this period:

1.    in the case of a child’s positive coronavirus test and subsequent self-isolation, refunds (or swapped sessions) will 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.

2.    people in England are required by law to self-isolate if they are contacted by NHS Test and Trace. Accordingly, if a child is self-isolating having been contacted by NHS Test and Trace, Stepping Stones will not charge the parent or carer for this period. Evidence of the contact with Test and Trace will be required. Again, either a refund or swapped sessions will be offered.

3.    should Stepping Stones have to shut as a setting, due to government guidance or the law, parents or carers will not be charged for sessions during this closure period.

Any refund would be made at the agreement of the Management Committee.

We can continue to charge for consumables in line with the early education and childcare statutory guidance for local authorities.


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

·         What to do if a child is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)