Safe Operating Plan

This action plan supports our management and staff teams relating to implementation of precautionary measures for prevention and spread of COVID-19. The document is fully compliant with guidance for educational settings issued by Public Health England and the Department of Education and will be updated as soon as official guidance is changed or updated. Links to the published guidance are available at the end of this document.

The key areas covered in the action plan include; children, staff team, parents, visitors, travel, hygiene, health and safety, premises, supplies and responding to a suspected case.

In addition to this safe operating plan, you can also view Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

Areas of consideration: Actions:
Attendance • Only children who are symptom free or have completed the required isolation period should attend the nursery. Parents will be informed that symptom-showing children should remain at home.
• Risk assessments with regular health questionnaires for returning children will be undertaken.
• Updated information on children’s health will be recorded when required.
Physical distancing/grouping • Staggered arrivals and pick-ups may be suggested to parents in an attempt to support social distancing guidelines. If any children are able to have breakfast at home, this would be beneficial.
• Children are normally organised into small groups whilst at nursery. This will continue and will be expanded to include meal and snack times, and outdoor play. We have enough rooms available for children to be in separate rooms within their group. They will remain within the same groups throughout the day. Staff will rotate activities between groups, cleaning shared resources where required.
• We have good toilet, nappy changing and hand-washing facilities across the nursery. The children will stay in their groups for these activities too. Hand-washing will be supervised by staff at all times.
• During sleep times, mattresses and cots will be spread apart. Our Sleep Policy already has a rule of feet to face.
Drop-off and pick-up • During drop off and pick up times, a member of the Management Team will be at the front door wearing a face mask. The front door will be monitored for arrivals. As such it is not necessary to knock the door or ring the doorbell.
• We have implemented a one-way system with signage guiding parents from the main entrance gate to the door, then out the exit gate. We request only one parent drops-off/picks-up their child and to always comply with 2 metre social distancing. When you reach the front door please put your child’s bag into the correct tub and stand outside the yellow box. If your child is confident and able to walk, we ask that they walk towards the front door. Babies will need to be passed to staff ideally in a car seat and request this is done swiftly. Car seats will be placed back on the ground at a safe distance for parents to pick back up.
• All children will have their hands cleaned when they arrive at nursery- either with hand sanitizer or by washing their hands with soap and water.
Wellbeing and education • Our staff will be aware of the children’s attachments and their need for emotional support at this time. Our staff will be very supportive, caring and sensitive to each individual child’s needs.
• Prior to returning we will require parents to send a message on Famly if their child’s daily routine has changed and any key information, we need to be made aware of.
• Regular supervised hand-washing will take place and children will be reminded about using tissues for sneezing and nose blowing, and that they are disposed of immediately in a designated bin.
• Children will be supported to understand the changes and challenges they may be encountering as a result of COVID-19.
• We will continue to support all children’s learning and development through the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) standard for learning, development and care of children. Primarily, we will focus on children’s social and emotional well-being and development. At an appropriate time, other areas of learning will be introduced.
• The staff team will work through observations uploaded by parents to Famly to assist with identifying children’s key next steps. Once this has been established, staff will begin the planning for each individual child. It is important that each child feels fully settled back into nursery routine first.
Staff Team
Attendance • Staff will only attend the nursery if they are symptom free. If a staff member has or is suspected to be infected, they will be required to complete the recommended isolation period and provide a negative test result prior to returning to work. Risk assessments will include regular health questionnaires for returning staff.
• The number of staff required at the nursery at any one time will be determined by the number of children attending and the expected occupancy levels.
• Staff will be required to come to work in their own clothes and arrive in plenty of time to get changed into their clean staff uniform at work prior to their shift starting. At the end of their shift, uniforms will be placed in canvas bags provided and taken home to be washed. Staff are advised to shower before and after each shift.
Physical distancing / grouping • Staff team to use the main front door when arriving at work.
• Wherever possible, staff should remain with a small group of children – a “bubble” or children (e.g. key worker/buddy groups) that they are allocated to and not to come into contact with other groups. All the rooms in the nursery will be used, and we will provide a range of outdoor facilities for learning too.
• Emergency revisions to the EYFS have been recommended by the government which includes flexibility on ratios and qualifications. However, we intend to only use this in emergency situations due to staff shortage.
• Social distancing must be maintained during breaks. This will be achieved through a range of strategies, including the staggering of breaks and different spaces allocated to staff taking breaks where possible.
• Staff members will be reminded to avoid physical contact with each other.
• Social distancing arrangements will also be adhered to for staff meetings and training sessions. Where possible, staff meetings and training sessions will take place via video or voice conference.
Training • All staff will receive the appropriate induction and training before the nursery re-opens. This will include changes to the operating procedures for the nursery, the various age groups and infection control, and also an awareness of the risk assessments which they will operating within.
• Training will be reviewed and updated as new guidance is released.
• On-going support for staff well-being and mental health will continue.
Physical distancing • Only parents who are symptom free and have completed the required isolation periods will be permitted to drop off or collect their child.
• We request that only one parent per family drops off and picks up their child. Parents will be asked to wait at the door if it is busy at these times, using the markers at the doors and to keep the social distancing guideline of 2 metres.
• The front door will be monitored for arrivals. As such it is not necessary to knock the door or ring the doorbell.
• In accordance with government guidance parents will not normally be permitted inside the nursery, unless in exceptional circumstances. We understand this is difficult, but we know that parents will understand that limiting access to the building will reduce risk.
Communications • Parents will receive regular clear communication regarding their role in safe operating procedures, and all measures taken to ensure the safety of their children and themselves.
• We encourage parents to continue communicating with key workers via the Famly app.
• All handover information will be posted onto Famly. If it is necessary to arrange a follow-up meeting with staff to discuss a child’s attendance, a telephone consultation will be arranged.
• All Accident/Incident & Existing injury forms will be uploaded to Famly and your acknowledgment will be digital.
• Clear guidance signage will be displayed across the nursery, indoors and outdoors.
• Attendance at the nursery will be restricted to children and staff. Parents will drop off and pick up their child at the front door. Visitors will not be permitted to enter the nursery building during operating hours unless it is essential (e.g. repairs, maintenance or building works). If essential work is required, this will be undertaken outside the usual nursery operational hours where possible.
• Bilinguasing (Spanish) and Drama Tots classes will not take place until further notice.
• The photography session has been cancelled as has our graduation party.
• Prospective parents and show-round visits will not take place during operating hours. Other means for new parents to see the nursery will be introduced, e.g. videos of the setting, testimonials on our website and Facebook, and sending information about the nursery to potential parents by post.
• Wherever possible staff and parents should travel to the nursery alone, using their own transport.
• If public transport is necessary, current guidance on the use of public transport should be followed.
• Parents are required to ensure that they do not leave travel accessories outside the nursery. This includes buggies, prams and car seats in nursery buildings.
Hygiene and Health & Safety
Handwashing • All children and staff will wash their hands upon arrival at the nursery
• Children and staff members will wash their hands regularly during the nursery day.
• Children’s hand-washing will be supervised by staff at all times.
• There will be a number of hand sanitisers located around the nursery for staff and children to use.
Cleaning • An enhanced cleaning schedule has been implemented, and the nursery will be regularly cleaned according to the Public Health England guidelines.
• Cleaning of contact surfaces, e.g. tables will take place every two hours during the day. Communal areas, hand-washing facilities and touch points will be cleaned and sanitised regularly.
• Thorough cleaning and sterilising will take place at the end of each day, including toys, areas around the nursery (door handles, light switches, etc).
• Soft toys will be removed from the nursery until further notice.
• Bannisters, light switches, phones/tablets, door handles will be cleaned regularly.
Waste disposal • All waste will be disposed of in accordance with PHE guidelines.
• Tissues will be disposed of immediately in yellow bins.
• Waste bins throughout the nursery will be emptied and cleaned regularly.
Laundry • All items within the setting requiring laundering, e.g. bedding will be washed in line with the PHE laundry guidelines.
• Towels, flannels and bedding, as is our normal, practice, will not be shared by children.
• Children’s cots and sleep mats will also be regularly cleaned and sanitised as per our Sleep Policy.
Risk Assessment • Nursery risk assessments have been updated to take into account the changes.
• All activities will be risk assessed and due consideration given to adaptations to usual practice, e.g. messy play, sand and water play will not be taking place for the unforeseeable future.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) • Government guidance is that early years settings should continue to use normal Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). Additional PPE is not required for general use in early years settings due to additional risk of transmission and complexity of operating additional PPE within an early years environment. Normal PPE will continue to be worn for nappy changing and the administration of First Aid. PPE is not required to be worn at mealtimes (bottle feeding only).
• We have been advised that face masks are not used in early years settings as the masks can be quite daunting for young children and they are not able to see our facial expressions as one of our ways to communicate.
• A face mask will be worn by a Management Team member when opening the door for pick up and drop off. In accordance with PHE guidelines, appropriate PPE may also be worn by a member of staff who is looking after a child displaying symptoms, whilst waiting for the parent to arrive to pick their child up from nursery.
Buildings • Normal health and safety checks of the nursery buildings will be undertaken before re-opening.
• In order to encourage airflow and ventilation, windows will be kept open and the use of heating facilities will be limited.
• To ensure the cleanliness of the nursery, a deep clean has been undertaken including carpet cleaning. All toys, resources and furniture have been cleaned and sterilised.
• The current risk assessments for the nursery will be reviewed to take into the account the additional actions following the lockdown and to ensure the on-going safety of children, staff and parents.
Resources • Children will not be permitted to bring items from home into the nursery unless absolutely essential for their wellbeing. Where this is the case, these will be appropriately cleaned upon arrival.
• Parents will be asked to leave their child’s bag at nursery and bring essential items, e.g. milk formula, nappies and wipes each day in a sealed pack/bag. Children’s bags will be wiped down when they arrive at nursery.
• All resources required for play and learning experiences will be regularly washed and/or sterilised.
• Equipment used by staff such as stationery, tablets, etc will be allocated to individual staff members where possible and cleaned regularly.
Supplies (Procurement & monitoring)
• We will ensure that supply of essential items are adequate and contingency plans are in place to minimise the shortage of supplies. The nursery will not be able to operate without the essential supplies required for ensuring infection control.
• A monitoring system is in place for the use of PPE to ensure a supply of stock is available to all who require it. The nursery has a stock of PPE, but if there are problems in sourcing PPE, alternatives will be implemented, e.g. washable tabards.
• If the supply of food is interrupted, an alternative procedure will be implemented to ensure appropriate food alternatives are sourced and normal food safety and hygiene processes followed.
Responding to a suspected case
• In the event of a child developing suspected coronavirus symptoms whilst attending the nursery, the child must be collected as soon as possible and isolate at home in line with NHS guidance.
• Whilst waiting for a child to be collected, the child will be isolated from others in a previously identified room or area in accordance with PHE guidelines.
• The staff member responsible for the child during this time will be a staff member from their “group”. The staff member will wear the appropriate PPE equipment.
• The areas will be thoroughly cleaned immediately afterwards.
• In the event of a staff member developing coronavirus symptoms whilst working at the nursery, they will return home immediately and isolate at home in line with the NHS guidelines.
• Communication to all parents will be sent if there are any confirmed cases at the nursery.

The following are the key policy/guidance documents that have been used to ensure all areas are covered in order for the nursery to be opened safely:

Government Road Map

Provider Actions to Re-Open 1st June 2020

Information for Parents and Carers

Protective Measures in Education and Childcare Settings

Article Name
Safe Operating Plan
Operating a safe a secure nursery in accordance with government guidelines.
Publisher Name
Forest Friends Day Nursery