Nursery operational guidance during coronavirus

During the first lockdown in 2020 when major sections of society and life as we knew it closed, we were the only nursery in East Greenwich to stay open. We looked after our keyworker and vulnerable children as well as taking on children from other nurseries which had temporarily shut. As soon as the restrictions ended in June 2020 we reopened to all children.

We have developed temporary operating guidelines which follow Government regulations during the Pandemic. From the summer of 2021 most restrictions across all parts of society have been relaxed. However, whilst local infection rates remain high (Autumn 2021), More2Nurseries are keeping their current protective measures in place, to keep everyone safe and prevent outbreaks at the nursery.

Children who attend the nursery have very quickly adapted to our new processes. The nursery is filled with laughter, singing, reading, talking, exploring, learning new skills and all the activities children loved before CoronaVirus, whilst we keep everyone safe.

Our families have praised our operations. One family said "During the COVID pandemic, the staff have been informative and relentless in the pursuit of cleanliness and safety". Another stated, "Throughout the pandemic they have rethought their entire operation to make sure that all feel confident in the safety of children, staff and parents".

How does it work for the children and families?

Drop off-reducing face-to face contact with and between parents and carers

  • Parents (one parent only per family) will drop and pick up the children. Parents are always to demonstrate social distancing and should leave the premises promptly
  • Non-walking children should arrive in a buggy – the staff member will take the child from the buggy and the parent can take back the buggy. This will aid with social distancing. Parents to wear masks on site and dropping off or collecting their children. Staff will do the same.
  • Each Group Room will have an allocated door for drop off and collection: At More2Riverside: Rollers: Grass area of garden (middle door), Rompers: Main Entrance, Runners: Rear Entrance (door on left as you face the building). At More2Childcare: Rollers and Racers Main Entrance, Rompers and Runners: Door by the Rollers/Rompers Garden at the back of the building.
  • No Parents will be allowed in the building at any time of the day, this includes settling in.
  • Settling in sessions will take place in the Garden area (Weather permitted) and still following the social distancing rules.
  • Only children who are symptom free or have completed the required isolation period will be allowed to attend the setting.
  • Only children who are symptom free may attend the nursery. On arrival at the Nursery, it is reasonable (for staff) to ask if parents, children or any member of the household have any of the symptoms of COVID-19 (high temperature or a persistent cough). If the answer is yes, then they will not be allowed to leave their child at the setting. The child cannot return until a negative PCR test result has been confirmed and agreed return with Nursery or current isolation guidelines followed.

Drop off-reducing face-to face contact with and between parents and carers

  • Once child/children have entered the setting the staff member will take child/children to wash their hands straight away.
  • Please encourage your child/children to avoid touching their face, eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Any child who has taken any form of paracetamol or ibuprofen will not be allowed into Nursery for 48hours after symptoms have ended.
  • Only parents who are symptom free and or have completed the required isolation periods will be able to drop off or collect their child.
  • If parents would like a detailed conversation with staff or management this will need to be done via email, telephone or video conferencing

Physical Distancing/grouping

  • Children are organised into their rooms by age - rooms do not come into contact with one another currently so if there is a positive case in a room it is not spread around the nursery.
  • Outdoor spaces will be used by different rooms at different times of the day.
  • Windows will be kept open as far as possible to ensure ventilation
  • It is not expected that children and staff within a group will keep 2 metres apart

Play and learning

  • Toys and equipment are sanitised regularly throughout the day.
  • We will be ensuring children wash hands regularly, throughout the day, as well as before eating, after coughing or sneezing.

Children's wellbeing and education

  • The children will be supported in developmentally appropriate ways to understand the steps they can take to keep themselves safe including regular hand washing and sneezing into a tissue, incorporating staff being good role models to assist in the children’s learning.
  • The children will be supported to understand the changes and challenges they may be encountering because of COVID-19 and staff need to ensure they are aware of children’s attachments and their need for emotional support at this time. (Age appropriate)

Going to the toilet and cleaning up of accidents

  • The children will be supported with their independence when toileting.
  • We will limit the number of children using the hand washing facilities.
  • Children should not attend if unwell.
  • If an accident happens whilst it is dealt with no one else should use the bathroom.
  • Once the child has been cleaned, the bathroom will be cleaned and disinfected using standard cleaning products before being used by anyone else.

If a child starts displaying symptoms

  • If your child/children begin displaying a continuous cough or a high temperature or loss of taste or smell, they will be sent home to isolate and get a PCR test as per the guidelines.
  • A child awaiting collection will be moved, if possible and appropriate, to a room where they can be isolated behind a closed door. If it is not possible to isolate them, then we will move them to an area which is at least 2 metres away from other people. A window should be opened for ventilation.
  • If the child/children need to go to the bathroom/ a nappy change while waiting to be collected, the bathroom/nappy changing area will be cleaned and disinfected using standard cleaning products before being used by anyone else.
  • If clinical advice is needed, the setting staff, parent or guardian will go online to NHS 111 (or call 111 if they don’t have internet access)
  • Parents/carers will be asked to book a PCR test for a child displaying symptoms.
  • If the PCR result is negative children can come back to nursery
  • If the PCR result is positive please contact the nursery at your earliest convenience so if necessary we can work with test and trace to work out close contacts and next steps.

Workforce - attendance

  • Consideration will be given to limiting the number of staff in the Nursery at any one time to only those required to care for the expected occupancy levels on any given day.
  • Staff will only attend the Nursery if they are symptom free, have completed the required isolation period or achieved a negative test result.
  • Staff test using Lateral Flow tests twice a week until the government advise us to stop

Workforce - physical distancing

  • Wherever possible, staff will remain with their group room and not come into contact with other groups.
  • Staff members will avoid physical contact with each other including handshakes, hugs etc.
  • Where possible, meetings and training sessions will be conducted through virtual conferencing
  • Staff wear masks in communal areas, in corridors and during drop off and pick up of the children from and to their parents

Workforce - training

  • All staff members will receive appropriate instructions and training on infection control and the standard operation procedure and risk assessments within which they will be operate before the nursery re-opens.

Parents and visitors- Communication

  • Parents will receive clear communication regarding the role they play in safe operating procedure and all measures being taken to ensure the safety of their children and themselves.

Parents and visitors - Visitors

  • Attendance to the setting will be restricted to children and staff as far as practically possible and visitors will not be permitted to the Nursery unless essential (e.g. essential building maintenance).
  • Where essential visits are required these will be made outside of the usual Nursery ours where possible. Home visits will not be able to take place at this time
  • All Director involvement where possible will be conducted via virtual conferencing such as zoom.
  • All face to face nursery tours have been cancelled until further notice.

Travel associated with setting operations

  • Wherever possible staff and parents should travel to the Nursery using their own transport.
  • If public transport is necessary, current guidance on the use of public transport must be followed

PPE - Both workforce and children

  • We follow the government guidance. Wearing a face covering or face mask in nursery or other education settings is not currently recommended for staff except at drop off and pick up when coming into close contact with parents/carers . Face coverings are recommended in enclosed and crowded spaces and where we come into contact with people we don't normally meet. If staff would like to wear a mask or visor this is permitted.
  • Most staff in education settings will not require PPE beyond what they would normally need for their work, even if they are not always able to maintain a distance of 2 metres from others. PPE is only needed in a very small number of cases including Children, young people, and students whose care routinely already involves the use of PPE due to their intimate care needs should continue to receive their care in the same way
  • If a child, young person, or other learner becomes unwell with symptoms of coronavirus while in their setting and needs direct personal care until they can return home. A fluid-resistant surgical face mask should be worn by the supervising adult if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained. If contact with the child or young person is necessary, then disposable gloves, a disposable apron and a fluid-resistant surgical face mask should be worn by the supervising adult. If a risk assessment determines that there is a risk of splashing to the eyes, for example from coughing, spitting, or vomiting, then eye protection should also be worn

Cleaning and cross contamination - Undertake regular cleaning

  • The nursery cleaner and staff will clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces throughout the day.
  • This includes tables, chairs, resources, equipment, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, toilets, taps, and sinks, but not limited to these.
  • Nursery staff and nursery cleaner will wear one pair of disposable gloves for cleaning and dispose of immediately after cleaning.
  • Nursery staff and cleaner will be using a disposable cloth, first clean hard surfaces with warm soapy water, then disinfect these surfaces with the cleaning products you normally use.
  • Nursery staff and cleaner will wash hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds, and after removing gloves, aprons and other protection used while cleaning.
  • A daily tick schedule with staff responsibilities, cleaning times for rooms and common areas will be displayed
  • Staff will not share resources such as pens unless they have been wiped down first

Cleaning - Cleaning of electronics

  • We will regularly clean electronics, such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards, telephones, touch entry systems and remote controls throughout the day.

Disposal of potentially contaminated waste

  • Waste from possible cases and cleaning of areas where possible cases have been, will be double bagged and put in a suitable and secure place, marked for storage until either the individual tests negative; waste can then be put in with the normal waste or the individual tests positive or results are not known; then store it for at least 72 hours and put in with the normal waste.

Children and staff travelling from abroad

  • All children and staff travelling to England must adhere to travel legislation, details of which are set out in red, amber and green list rules for entering England. Parents and carers should bear in mind the impact on their child's learning and development which may result from any requirements to quarantine or isolate upon return.

Government Publications

On this page you can find the most relevant Department for Education and Public Health England policies that relate to running a nursery alongside Corona Virus.
1. Actions for Early Years providers during the Coronavirus outbreak. Last updated Sept 2021
2. Safe Working in Education including the use of PPE

Exemplary practice during lockdown

Taken from Royal Greenwich Early Years E-bulletin 22 May 2020

#UnsungHeroes – Safe Practice Rosie, Manager at More2 Childcare, which stayed open safely during lockdown told us about…

At the start everyone was anxious about the pandemic with so many unknowns. However with clear guidelines parents and staff quickly got used to social distancing and were accommodating about new procedures.

Parents are not allowed past the reception area and they hand over the children by keeping 2 m distance and then off they go. Some new children found it hard to hard to separate at first but we helped them build confidence. We reassured them by ensuring that same member of staff stayed with the child until the child felt comfortable. Like all good transitions, we encouraged them, we know their likes and dislikes and offered lots of comfort including hugs if they cried or couldn’t sleep. We just avoid face to face cuddles and we all wash our hands a lot. The children have got used to this new normal – surprisingly quickly.

We have lots of activities, many outdoors and we keep the windows open for ventilation. There is lots of outdoor play even in the rain! We do planting and water play – we have handwashing stations where the children like to play. We change the water regularly and add a little bit of soap to it.

Our cleaning regime is top dollar – we use Dettol spray on door handles, light switches and toys. We are using general hygiene practices which are thorough anyway in nurseries and have just upped it slightly – the very regular cleaning other places people touch that we didn’t think about before as much is new. Everybody washes hands when they come in and throughout the day. As soon as a child finishes playing with a toy or group of children have finished – the toys are sprayed, cleaned and put away. Then everyone washes their hands again. There are no choices offered at moment – the boxes and drawers are covered over. We put out activities and toys following children’s interests – then they are sprayed cleaned and with different toys put out for variety.

For toileting, we encourage independence and for nappy changing we wear a different set of gloves, aprons, empty out nappy sack more frequently. All children have their own separate food tray which is sprayed before and after use. To avoid cross contamination, we have bubbles of children with staff. Bedding is washed at least twice a week and we have deep cleaning daily of each room.

All of our current children sleep – at least one hour, so 2 members of staff cover while other staff stagger their one hour break. The staff room will be unavailable to all staff at the same time – so they go outside; some staff live locally and will go home and then that leaves more room in the staff area to socially distance.

The staff team have been amazing – they have put the plan in action, following new routines and are clear about the expectations to wash hands. We have a WhatsApp group to check in about staff wellbeing –and we have sent questions and answers to staff who are on furlough. We have been in touch with our HR advisors and are answering their questions before they come back to work. Shielded staff will be the last to come back to work when the government says it is safer for them and we will look at all of their vulnerabilities and look at what we can to help.

It is difficult for the young children to understand, but some of the older children understand that there are germs – and that the nursery is cleaned to get rid of germs. Children are very adaptable – it’s surprising how quickly they have got used to new routines.

One strength at our nursery is gently encouraging children to be more independent and to have a go at new things. We have seen some amazing development. Some children at the start of lockdown were struggling with eating. Whilst we were cooking on site as our usual caterers were shut down we were able to encourage them to use their cutlery and support to feed themselves. We have seen new milestones reached every day!

This is my first senior managerial post in a day nursery – it has been a rewarding time helping to keep our keyworkers at work and their children safe and happy. I am really proud of myself for rising to the challenge! We are also really proud of the children. We can’t take away all risk but we can reduce it to a very low level by being sensible. We can’t wait to see the rest of our children, they will have grown and changed so much. Together we are building strong, resilient children, to have a can do attitude!

Testimonials during the pandemic

Timothy Williams

Our daughter Penelope was transferred at short notice to the More2 nursery during a very difficult time. My wife and I had been redeployed to front line NHS roles and were very concerned with what would be her third nursery move in three weeks. She was the only child not walking at the time and we initially had concerns she may not settle well and find the whole process overwhelming. However, we have been absolutely delighted at all aspects of her induction and subsequent development. The care given has been second to none and we cant be more grateful to Margret and the team for the devotion they have given to our little one. They have been a valued source of stability and reassurance when everything else in our lives was up in the air. Our daughter started her short spell crawling and shy and now she is a walking, babbling bundle of joy. We thank the team for all their support and for continuing to work during the crisis. The infection control has been spot on but not in a way that upsets the children or makes them uneasy. Thanks again, you have all been brilliant.

Sheena Patel

“We cannot thank the staff at More2 enough for their support over the last few months. We’ve seen our son blossom into an independent, more sociable child and this wouldn’t have been possible without the nurturing care he receives at the nursery. The daily activities are varied, encourage his creativity and have aided his development greatly. He cannot wait to run through the doors every morning and it’s clear that the love he has for the staff is as a result of the outstanding care he receives”.

Teresa Agudo

'As a key worker, knowing that my son's nursery would continue operational for key workers during this crisis was such a relief. Even if the nursery had to go through many changes very quickly to adapt to this unusual situation, the care and support that my child has received have been as outstanding as ever. During this difficult time, the nursery management and staff members have continued being very supportive and approachable.'

Corinna Yim

We have been blown away by the reception given to our twin boys, Ben and Harry. The nursery team accommodated and supported us through a stressful time. The nursery settled the boys really quickly, the boys were walking in, happy, no tears, in a few weeks. I really didn’t expect the team to achieve that so quickly, I was so impressed. I felt, very immediately the boys were in very good, safe hands. The communications from the nursery throughout their time there were superb. Professional with regards to procedures – very clear on what we needed to do to help keep the children and staff safe. And the nursery took the time to post images of the boys having fun during the day – that was v reassuring and lovely to see. I always walked away feeling the boys were in good hands, and that meant the world to me. The team really went above-and-beyond to help us and we can’t thank you all enough for that. Clearly a brilliant and very professionally-run, yet compassionate & understanding, nursery.