At Clowns Nursery, we have taken measures and followed government guidelines in order to make Clowns secure, as far as realistically possible, against Coronavirus (COVID-19).
We re-opened in June 2020, following on from the first national lockdown. Prior to reopening, we carried out an extensive risk assessment, specific to the changes we were making and had made, as a direct response to COVID-19. Once the risk assessments were completed and in place, we carried out a phased return to nursery.
In addition to the risk assessments we also updated our Policies and Procedures, including the creation of an additional folder of policies and procedures relating specifically to COVID-19. These were put in place from June 2020 to ensure the safety of the children, staff and families at Clowns.
At Clowns, our risk assessments and policies and procedures are working documents. Risk assessments are carried out daily and both are updated regularly, in line with any changes to government guidelines.
We have produced two COVID-19 Handbooks – one for parents and the other for staff. Both handbooks are working documents and continue to be updated in line with the revised government guidelines, making sure to incorporate changes as they occur.
Some of the measures we have permanently put in place include but are not limited to the below. We:
- fitted a three-station outdoor wash basin for parents, carers and children to use at drop off and collection times.
- installed a digital temperature scanner above the main reception door. The scanner will alert us to anyone who displays a high temperature upon entering the nursery.
- purchased and positioned clear signage to show the 2 metre distance which should be maintained when dropping off and collecting children.
- provided all staff with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
- created class bubbles. In order to prevent mixing of these bubbles, the staff and children within the bubbles are secure groups.
- purchased additional foot operated hand sanitiser dispensers. These are situated both around the building and in outdoor areas.
- employed a full-time day cleaner who sanitises the communal hallways, stairs, door handles and toilet areas. This cleaner is additional to the contract cleaners who attend every weekday evening, and the termly deep clean of the nursery.
- fitted hygiene screens on all desks in our offices and main reception.
- discontinued prospective parent show rounds and created a virtual show around. After the showaround parents are invited to a ‘Meet the Manager’ meeting via Zoom.
- sent out a staff questionnaire to evaluate the COVID-19 protective measures in place and used the feedback to amend what we were doing for the staff. For example, we now provide hot meals to staff on a daily basis. This is due to the change in weather and the staff room being out of use. The staff room is out of use for the safety of our staff, to prevent the mixing of class bubbles.
During lockdown we moved our learning online, providing varied and detailed planners within the parent portal of our website. We provided instructions on how parents/carers could carry out home learning activities using simple materials that could be easily obtained. We recorded videos of the staff reading stories and demonstrating activities. The P.E., Drama and Music teachers created age and subject specific videos for the children. The P.E. staff also produced workout videos for parents and children to encourage them to keep moving and exercising, for their wellbeing, during lockdown.
We continue to communicate regularly with both parents and staff. This is done by email or via our website. This term, we also introduced the Online Learning platform, Seesaw, which enables parents and staff to share information and liaise with one another. As current guidelines do not allow for parents to enter the building Seesaw enables parents and staff to collaborate in the child’s learning and development by uploading photos onto the child’s online journal.
In the highly unlikely event of another full national lockdown within Early Years, we will use Seesaw to once again offer full online learning experiences for all our children. We will also send each child home with a ‘lockdown resource box’ which will correlate to the lesson and activities planned.
From 22 March 2021, staff can opt in to the government Lateral Flow Testing Scheme for nurseries. Those who opt in will lateral flow test themselves twice a week.
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