Safe Operating Procedures (COVID19)

WE ARE RE-OPENING ON 20 JULY 

SAFE OPERATION PROCEDURES IN OUR NURSERY

As a childcare provider, we take health and safety in our nurseries extremely seriously. Considering the current outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) we have put together some information, all of which is based on Public Health Scotland Guidance for Educational Settings and World Health Organisation advice.

What is Coronavirus? A coronavirus is a ‘type’ of the virus. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world with typical symptoms of coronavirus including fever and a cough that may progress to severe pneumonia, causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China.

 
 

Safe Operating Procedures (SOP)

Nursery schools play an essential role in society and we must make adaptations to the way we work to keep our children, parents, and team safe during this time. The fundamental principle of this guidance is to ensure distancing between identified groups and to implement enhanced hygiene practices. The design of nurseries as relatively small communities with further subdivided rooms, greatly assists our ability to create physical distance between groups. 

These Safe Operating Procedures (SOP) are based on Public Health Scotland and the Department of Education guidance for nursery schools and their key workers.

Drop off and collection of children

To minimise traffic in the nursery, parents are asked to drop off and collect their children at the main entrance and not to enter the nursery unless necessary. Parents waiting to drop off and collect are asked to maintain social distancing by standing at least 2 meters apart at all times. An identified team member will be responsible for arranging handovers with parents.

This may not be the usual Key Person for a child. To minimise physical interaction, only key information will be shared on handover. The team member and parents should maintain physical distancing as much as practically possible.

Temperature and symptom monitoring

Routine temperature testing is not advised as a reliable method for identifying coronavirus. Parents and team members should follow the national advice on the kind of symptoms to look out for that might be due to coronavirus:

  • A new continuous cough and/or a high temperature

Travel to nursery

Wherever possible team members and families should travel to the nursery alone, using their own transport or by foot or bicycle. If it is necessary to share transport, journeys should be taken with the same individuals with the minimum number of people at one time. If public transport is necessary, current guidance on the use of public transport must be followed. Face coverings are advised on public transport to help protect others.

Implementing social distancing

A level of physical interaction within nurseries is unavoidable. The key to reducing the risk of coronavirus transmission is to maintain small groups and minimise physical interaction between these groups.

Hygiene & Safety

Good hygiene and cleaning practices significantly reduce the spread and transmission of the coronavirus. Enhanced hygiene and cleaning practices must be implemented, rigorously followed, and validated.

Cleaning

An enhanced cleaning schedule must be implemented. Communal areas, toilets, touchpoints, shared resources and handwashing facilities must be cleaned and sanitised regularly. A senior person must be responsible for validating and recording cleaning schedules.

Hand washing

The rate of handwashing must be significantly increased. All team must wash their hands with soap and water upon each arrival to the nursery and children should be encouraged to do the same. Adequate supplies of soap and paper towels are provided at identified handwash stations. Hand sanitizer should only be used in areas where handwashing facilities with soap, water and paper towels cannot be provided. Hand sanitizer is not required after handwashing with soap and water. A hand sanitizer station will be provided for visitors to use.

 
 

FAQ

Health and Safety

1Why has the Government lifted the restrictions on nursery attendance?
The latest scientific evidence indicates that COVID-19 appears to affect young children less often and with less severity. The role of children in transmission is unclear, but it seems likely that they do not play a significant role. The Department for Education has published detailed guidance which enables nurseries to care for children safely and minimise the risk of transmission of the coronavirus. The design of nurseries as relatively small communities with further subdivided rooms, greatly assists our ability to create distance between groups. The Government has recognised the vital role that nurseries play in education, wellbeing, preparing children for school and supporting families to work.
2What measures are in place to keep children safe?
We have implemented the Government guidance for educational settings to form bespoke Safe Operating Procedures (SOP) to make our nurseries COVID Secure. All parents and team members must read and follow these procedures to keep our community safe. The fundamental principles are to ensure distancing between groups and to implement enhanced hygiene practices.
3When can my child attend the nursery?
We are going to fully re-open our nursery on 20 July 2020. Please contact us with any questions.

Care, Education and Wellbeing

1There have been changes to my child’s routine or requirements during lockdown, how do I let you know?
We understand that two months is a long time for all children, but for our smallest children, there should be some routine changes. We encourage all parents to take some time when you visit the nursery prior to your first day, to update the team and/or manager to ensure any changes to their care routine are updated and followed.
2Will there be changes to the nursery routine?
We will continue to work very hard to avoid any significant changes. Whilst we would like to say that there will be ‘no changes’, given we are operating under a very different set of guiding principles this will not be possible in all nurseries. We will however continue to ensure as best we can, that the relationships and therefore the care routines your children are used to will remain largely unchanged.
3How will you be preparing children for school?
Preparing children for the transition to school will be a priority on our return. In addition to the support we normally provide we will be giving extra attention to preparing children to return to a school implementing coronavirus limiting measures.
4We have heard you are running at 50% of your normal capacity in all sites is that correct?
We are going to run our nursery at 50% of its normal operating capacity initially, but we will review the opportunity to increase or decrease spaces dependent on our ongoing assessment of children and employees safety. We chose to take a safe and considered approach by restricting numbers as we open up under a very different operating regime.
5My child has an additional need or disability that requires support, will they still be able to attend?
We want to ensure we keep all children safe under the new measures that we have put in place and so it is vital that we carry out a risk assessment for children where additional support is required. Where we feel the risk is too high under the new measures we have in place, it is possible that some children will not able to return until the risk is reduced. Where this is the case, the nursery will liaise with the local authority to seek further advice and support.

Changes to Attendance

1I normally use grandparents (for example) for some childcare and need to increase my hours?
Please contact your nursery manager direct or via [email protected] if you wish to increase your attendance pattern. We anticipate demand for places to be even higher than normal during this summer, but we will do all we can to accommodate your needs.
2My needs have changed, and I need to reduce my attendance?
Please contact the nursery manager to vary your attendance. In line with our Terms & Conditions, we will require one months’ notice to make the change.
3My child is going to school in September and I do not plan to return to nursery?
As per our normal terms, you just need to give us one months’ notice in writing. You are welcome to access your place through this notice period and your deposit can be used against the final month’s fees. You should notify your nursery directly.
4As you are running at 50% occupancy does this mean I will not get a place?
We will endeavour to provide nursery provision as best we can in the short term for those parents who wish to use it. The unfortunate reality is that as we are operating under restricted capacity in order to provide safe nursery provision, we may not be able to offer full or partial nursery provision to all our families, this includes current parents or new enquiries. However, where parents decide not to retain or use their place, we will open these up for those who do, to ensure we can meet the childcare needs of those wanting a place.
5Am I an essential or key worker?
If you are or believe you may be an essential/key worker you must contact your local authority regarding childcare. We are unable to accept direct bookings from essential/key workers. These must go through the local authority who will then confirm childcare is required at which point we are able to confirm places.

Requirements are set by local authorities on who are classed as essential/key workers. Sadly, we have no say in this decision so we suggest if you are unsure to please check with your local authority via their website, where they will clarify if you are classed as an essential/key worker.
6Will there be guaranteed availability for me when you open?
Sadly, we cannot guarantee what availability there will be, what we can guarantee is that we will be working hard with our teams to understand and plan for demand as best we can. Our availability will move and change dependent on parent employment circumstances (some still do not know if or when they will return), shielding families, local area cases of Covid-19, staff availability (in the event they are also shielding), who might reduce their booking patterns and open up places, continued demand for essential/key workers. There will be a considerable number of variables managers need to consider and places will be offered as fairly and evenly as we can. Our teams want to see all their children and families again.

Fees & Deposits

1When are fees due?
We were pleased to be able to suspend fees during COVID-19 closure in March, April, May and June, where the Government restricted attendance at nurseries. From the 20 July we can welcome most children back to nursery and fees for those returning will return to normal. Invoices for July will be prepared based on the uptake of places and will be sent as soon as they are prepared. Fees will be payable in advance, in line with T&C’s within the few days of returning to nursery.
2I am cautious about coming to nursery for the next few weeks, do I need to pay fees?
We are currently working to understand demand at each nursery. Given the need to change our operational plans at each site (environments and methods of operation) to ensure ‘safe’ operating capacities, we expect a phased approach to returning families. Parent fees will, therefore, be payable from the date you return in July/August. Normal fees will apply to use or hold your childcare place on a date yet TBC. If your child or a member of our household is in a clinically vulnerable group, please contact your nursery manager directly.
3I made payments during April and May but did not attend the nursery, what happens to these?
Any payments made during the restrictions when your child was not attending will be credited to your account. These credits will be offset against future invoices. If you cannot use the credits in full before leaving for school, they will be refunded to you, subject to any account arrears.
4What happens if we cannot attend the nursery due to isolation?
If we experience a confirmed case of coronavirus, it may be that a family, home base room or even the whole nursery will need to isolate for 14 days as per government guidelines. We hope to avoid this, but like any period of sickness or for events outside our control, we will need to charge an element of fees to have the nursery ready for your return. If your child has to self-isolate and you are therefore unable to use your childcare space, we will reduce fees by 75%, only charging a 25% retainer. This retainer will enable us to better support our teams and ensure the nursery can be ready for your return. For any prolonged periods of isolation over and above 14 days, we advise you to contact your nursery manager. We will endeavour to look at individual cases where possible.
5What happens if the country goes into lockdown again?
We were pleased to be able to suspend fees for April and May where the Government restricted attendance at nursery. We need to reserve our right to charge fees during any future significant period of non-attendance but would review this based on the situation.

New Enquiries

1How to I register for a place if I do not currently attend your nursery?
We are still accepting bookings for all of our nurseries however we are unable to confirm availability at present. Please email [email protected] and we will do our best to answer any questions you have.

You can complete our registration form to secure a place on our waiting list and when we are able to confirm availability, we would update you. Please contact [email protected] for a copy of our registration form.
2I booked to start in 2021 is my place still secure?
Yes, your place is secure, and we look forward to welcoming you in 2021.
3I booked to start before 2021 is my place still secure?
Your place is still secure however sadly due to the current situation we may need to delay settling in sessions as well as start dates. Please contact us at [email protected] for more information regarding your booking.

Parent Communication

We would be grateful if you could kindly complete the survey which advises us of any changes to your child’s needs or routines.

1I don’t appear to be receiving parent communication via email?
We are currently in the process of updating our internal systems to a new improved platform with additional benefits for parents. Whilst updating our systems and the timing of COVID-19 we have found some accounts do not have full or accurate parent contact details. We do apologise for this and we are currently working to ensure all parents receive all communications. Please email us at [email protected] if you are not receiving parent communication via email and we will endeavour to resolve this. Please also find copies of our communication on our website. If you have changed any of your contact details including email, please let your nursery know so we can update our records.
2Updates
We recommend parents follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/thebertram.nurserygroup), Twitter (@BertramNG) or Instagram (@bertramnurserygroup) to receive updates on all sites as we announce. We are available through social media to answer any queries you may have.

We understand that there might be changes in your situation that's why we kindly ask families to complete the form below

Safer Play Groups

A way of grouping children at our nursery, keeping children and staff safe during the time of coronavirus by organising them into small groups and coordinating their routines, their movements, and their use of resources throughout the day. A safer play group will usually consist of children who would usually be in the same playroom/age group and are already known to each other.

Why?

  • Reduce risk of transmission in children and adults
  • Effectively manage instances of COVID-19 in the nursery. If a person tests positive for the virus, only the children and adults in the safer play group will be asked to self-isolate and seek tests where possible
  • Reassure parents as to the control measures we are using within the setting
  • Reassure staff that their health & wellbeing is being planned for daily
  • Provides organisation and clear responsibility for staff in guiding and supporting children
 
 

Risk Assessments

Risk assessment for COVID-19 will focus on the questions that need to be asked so that we can create the most effective methodology

Every nursery must go through a risk assessment exercise before we can welcome children and staff in the premises

Before we complete the risk assessment in the nursery, we must ask who is doing what and how, where are they doing it, why are they doing it, and what are they using? Understanding the tasks or activities is vital to assess the exposure and to qualify any subsequent control decisions

We ask a lot of questions while assessing our nurseries: How can we maintain social distancing? Can we use alternative rooms to spread staff and children out? Where are our staff and children more likely to find it difficult to avoid one another such as the toilets, staff rooms, office? Can we phase break times? Can we place additional sanitising units in areas where most people commonly touch, such as handrails, doors, doors entry systems, keypads, iPads, phones, desks, kitchen equipment? 

Cleaning is a vital control and must be high on your priorities: Have we considered how you keep commonly touched surfaces sterile and how more frequently they need to be cleaned? Have we updated the cleaning schedule to ensure all areas are being frequently and thoroughly cleaned? Are you using an effective strength of cleaner to kill the virus? Such as Selgiene Ultra.

Please read the full version of our risk assessment documents 

 
 

Health & Wellbeing

Mailing List / Contact Us

For all our current parents please let us know if your email has changed or you are not receiving communication by emailing [email protected] 

For all new enquiries:

  • Please email us or enquire through our website.  Our team will respond and update you as we receive updates as Scotland begins to re-open

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