Nursery reopening plan

The safety of our nursery children, staff and parents is a top priority. We have therefore fully assessed the risks of opening the College nursery in the new COVID-19 era, and are determined to do all that we can to make the environment as safe as possible.

On this page 

The full General Nursery Risk Assessment is available in the download section below.

We have used this risk assessment, as well as the Government's published advice Childcare setting prepare for wider opening and Implementing protective measures in education and childcare setting, to develop this safety plan, which covers the general operation of the nursery.

In finalising this safety plan, we have consulted with all staff and parents and taken their views and concerns on board, and we will continue to update the plan as the nursery opens and the children, staff and parents feedback their experience and ideas.  All parents and staff must adhere to this safety plan at all times. Staff should also read and adhere to the COVID 19 Staff Safe Plan.  

Key to a safe environment is the need to continue with strict social distancing for the adults, limit gatherings and the number of people in the nursery along with various other measure all detailed in this document. We must be prepared to adapt the way we use the nursery and this could include allowing for smaller group, physical changes to the layout and removing some equipment to ensure everyone’s safety. 

General Guidance

Effective Infection and Protection Control
There are important actions that the nursery children and their parents and those who work with them can take during the coronavirus outbreak, to help prevent the spread of the virus. 

Preventing the spread of coronavirus involves dealing with direct transmission (for instance, when in close contact with those sneezing and coughing) and indirect transmission (via touching contaminated surfaces). A range of approaches and actions should be employed to do this. These can be seen as a hierarchy of controls that, when implemented, creates an inherently safer system, where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced. These include: 

  • Minimising contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have coronavirus symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend the nursery. 
  • Cleaning hands more often than usual - wash hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with running water and soap and dry them thoroughly or use alcohol hand rub or sanitiser ensuring that all parts of the hands are covered 
  • Ensuring good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach cleaning frequently touched surfaces often using standard products, such as detergents and bleach 
  • Minimising contact and mixing by altering, as much as possible, the environment such as room layout.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) including face coverings and face masks
Wearing a face covering or face mask in the nursery is not recommended. Face coverings may be beneficial for short periods indoors where there is a risk of close social contact with people you do not usually meet and where social distancing and other measures cannot be maintained, for example on public transport or in some shops. This does not apply to the nursery. The nursery will therefore not require staff or children to wear face coverings. Changing habits, cleaning and hygiene are effective measures in controlling the spread of the virus. Face coverings (or any form of medical mask where instructed to be used for specific clinical reasons) should not be worn in any circumstance by those who may not be able to handle them as directed (for example, young children, or those with special educational needs or disabilities) as it may inadvertently increase the risk of transmission. 

The majority of staff in the nursery 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 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 it is a child who becomes unwell with symptoms of coronavirus and they need direct personal care until they can return home. A surgical face mask should be worn by the supervising adult if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained. If contact with the child is necessary, then disposable gloves, a disposable apron and a fluid-resistant surgical face mask or mask and face shield 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 a face shield must be worn.

Preparing to open

To allow us to open we first need to complete the following steps:

Speak to staff and share with them the precautions we are taking to ensure their safety.  We will consult with them at all stages of the reopening and listen to any concerns and take action to reduce risks to a minimum. Staff will know the difficulties involved in getting the children back to Nursery.  

Along with the Estate and Health and Safety Manager and Facilities Assistant help complete and update this safety plan and refresh all our nursery risk assessments and health and safety compliance checks linked to COVID 19.

  • Help undertake a risk assessment specifically for the COVID 19 risks.
  • Consult with staff on the reopening plans and look at ratios.
  • Contact parents to discuss the reopening plans.
  • Consider small groups using the two rooms and outside area we have available.
  • Decide which activities will be delivered.
  • Consider which activities could take place outdoors.
  • Remove unnecessary items form the rooms and outside spaces.
  • Remove soft furnishings and soft toys, and difficult to clean toys with, such as toys with intricate parts.
  • Advise parents on traveling to nursery, plan parents drop-off and pick-up protocols that minimise adult to adult contact and who should be dropping children off. 
  • Arrange for housekeeping staff the clean the nursery on a regular basis. 
  • Enrolment forms to be sent out and returned before children return to nursery to ensure that all contact/emergency contact details are up to date and relevant in the current circumstances.
  • Share out of hours Contact details for reporting COVID – 19 symptoms or positive tests. 

Communicating our plans
Consider the following steps: 

  • Tell children, parents, carers or any visitors, such as suppliers, not to enter the education or childcare setting if they are displaying any symptoms of coronavirus (following the COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection).
  • Tell parents that if their child needs to be accompanied to the education or childcare setting, only one parent should attend.
  • Tell parents and young people their allocated drop off and collection times and the process for doing so, including protocols for minimising adult to adult contact (for example, which entrance to use).
  • Make clear to parents that they cannot gather at entrance gates or doors, or enter the site (unless they have a pre-arranged appointment, which should be conducted safely).
  • Ensure parents and young people are aware of recommendations on transport to and from education or childcare setting (including avoiding peak times). Read the Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer travel guidance for passengers.
  • Talk to staff about the plans (for example, safety measures, and staggered arrival and departure times), including discussing whether training would be helpful.
  • Communicate early with contractors and suppliers that will need to prepare to support your plans for opening for example, cleaning, catering, food supplies, hygiene suppliers.
  • Discuss with staff the additional cleaning requirements and agree additional hours to allow for this.

Attending Nursery

Before coming into the Nursery you must ensure that you are all well and not displaying any symptoms of COVID -19: please see the NHS guidance. If you or your child feel unwell or any member of your household is unwell, please stay at home and let the Nursery know that your child won’t be in and the reason why. You must stay home until the person in question has received a negative COVID-19 test or until you have completed the mandatory self-isolation period.  It is possible to be tested for COVID-19 if you display symptoms and we strongly recommend that you tested to protect the other children and staff within the setting.  This can be arranged by directly following the government guidance. We will notify parents if a child in their child’s group has shown symptoms of COVID-19.  

Travelling to Nursery
When travelling in to the nursery you should try to walk, cycle or drive on your own, if possible, to avoid contact with other commuters. If you have no option but to take public transport, please follow the Government’s guidelines which currently includes that you should wear a face cover and observe 2 meter distancing. We may be able to help with facemasks on request, but we encourage you to make your own face covering; click here for an example of these. You should continue to monitor the Government’s advice as it may change over time. Avoiding peak travel times would help to limit contact with other commuters and reduce travel times. 

Reducing Movement
If you live outside of the College we would ask that you don’t visit another part of the College during this time. Please go straight to the Nursery using the slip road down to the Nursery and leave the College in the same way. The gardens and ground are currently only open to College residents and staff. Further advice on these and other restrictions will be given to parents as the restriction are lifted by the College. Nursery staff should not go to other parts of the college buildings unless absolutely necessary. Always maintenance social distancing at all times.  

Arrival and Departure Times
To aid social distancing, arrival and departure times will be staggered wherever possible to minimise adult to adult contact. You will need to use the entrance in the North Car Park through the nursery garden if you are asked to drop your child off to the Acorns room. If you are asked to drop your child off at the Oaks room there will be signposts in the north car park directing you on which route you should follow round to the Tree Quad entrance. A queuing system will be introduced in case of an overlap in drop-off and pick-up and this will be marked on the ground outside the Nursery including a queuing system in the undercover parking area.  

Arriving at the Nursery
When you arrive at the Nursery please do so at the agreed time. Please do not arrive early. If you are going to be late please phone the Nursery to let them know so that they can advise you on the next available drop off time. If you are dropping your child off at the Acorns room please ring the bell on the gate when you arrive and wait to be buzzed into the Nursery garden or for a staff member to collect your child from the gate if the garden is in use. If your child is being dropped off at the Oaks room then a member of staff will collect your child at the door. Please all use the hand gel at the gate/door on arrival and moisturising cream will be available for the children to use.  Before your child enters the nursery, all children temperature will be taken using a non-contact forehead thermometer. If either staff or children’s temperatures are above the recommended level set by the nursery you will be asked to return home immediately. Children will be handed over in the agreed way depending on the age of the children. We encourage parents to prepare their children in advance for this transition back to nursery. Staff will try their best to encourage children into the nursery as smoothly as possible but we will need to be considerate of other parents waiting to drop off their child. Parents should not enter the nursery buildings unless specifically asked to do so.  

In line with government advice we will be putting children into separate groups to minimise risk of infection. Both groups shall have their own separate play areas. These groups will be decided by, not only age and ratio but advice on keeping the groups as small as possible. 

Hand Hygiene
Staff and children must wash their hands thoroughly on arrival at the Nursery, and on a regular basis throughout the day. Click here for the best way to wash your hands.  All adults and children should: 

  • Frequently wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and dry thoroughly.
  • Clean their hands on arrival at the setting, before and after eating, and after sneezing or coughing.
  • Are encouraged not to touch their mouth, eyes and nose.
  • Use a tissue or elbow to cough or sneeze and use bins for tissue waste (‘catch it, bin it, kill it’).
  • Ensure that help is available for children and young people who have trouble cleaning their hands independently.
  • Consider how to encourage young children to learn and practise these habits through games, songs and repetition.
  • Ensure that bins for tissues are emptied throughout the day.

Handwashing facilities are available in all WCs. All kitchens have blue paper towel rolls in place, and cloth towels and drying up cloths have been removed. Paper towels are provided for drying hands. Hand washing reminder signs will be displayed. Hand sanitiser is located at various agreed locations around the nursery along with child friendly hand moisturiser.  

Feeling Unwell at Nursery
If a member of staff or a child feels unwell whilst at nursery, this should be reported to the Nursery manager or deputy manager immediately and arrangements made for them to return home immediately, maintaining social distancing at all times. If necessary they should be isolated in the isolation area in the covered garden whilst parents are contacted and/or transport home is arranged.  If it is a child who becomes unwell with symptoms of coronavirus and they need direct personal care until they can return home, a surgical face mask should be worn by the supervising adult if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained. If contact with the child is necessary, then disposable gloves, a disposable apron and a fluid-resistant surgical face mask or mask and face shield 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 a face shield must be worn. The covered garden isolation area will be cleaned after use and all areas will be cleaned regularly. 

If you need to self-isolate, please follow the NHS guidance on self-isolating, or arrange for a test as detailed above.

It is likely, particularly during winter, that many of us and especially children will display symptoms similar to COVID 19, as result of the usual seasonal colds, and it is important for the safety of all that you stay home if experiencing any relevant symptoms, however mild.

What happens if there is a confirmed case of coronavirus in the Nursery
The children and staff will be put into separate groups within the nursery and these groups will not mix. If there is a confirmed case of coronavirus within the nursery the staff members and children within the relevant group will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days. The other group will continue to attend nursery as normal. The Nursery will not be required to close unless there are confirmed cases within both groups. 

Cleaning products will be provided, including antibacterial sprays and wipes to wipe down equipment and surfaces, such as door handles, toys, books, tables, chairs, sinks, toilets, light switches, etc. and other regularly touched surfaces.  All staff must share the cleaning burden by wiping down surfaces.  Housekeeping staff will provide an enhanced general cleaning service in all communal areas on a daily basis and daily bin emptying. Click here for more information on the cleaning of non-healthcare settings.

Use outside space:

  • For exercise and breaks.
  • For outdoor education, where possible, as this can limit transmission and more easily allow for distance between children and staff.
  • Outdoor equipment can only be used if it can be cleaned regularly and we are able to ensure that it is appropriately cleaned between groups of children using it and that multiple groups do not use it simultaneously.
  • We need to look at a cleaning procedure for the outdoor equipment and reduce the amount of equipment in outdoor areas to allow suitable cleaning to take place. Read COVID-19: cleaning of non-healthcare settings here

​Reduce the use of shared resources:

  • No resources should be taken home by children for the time being and only necessary item such as additional clothes, Nappies and food should be brought into the nursery. 
  • By seeking to prevent the sharing of stationery and other equipment, where possible, shared materials and surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected more frequently.
  • Practical lessons can go ahead if equipment can be cleaned thoroughly. 

Additional Safety Measures

Social Distancing Reminders
Social distancing signs will be displayed around the nursery and at the main entrances. Children are not required to social distance but staff should maintain the 2m distancing guidance. However, it is understood that this may not be possible at all times but if a prolonged period of close contact is required, such as dealing with a first aid issue, then PPE should be considered. (See under the section Feeling Unwell at Nursery).

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Government guidance on the use of PPE in nursery setting can be found here: Implementing protective measures in education and childcare setting. This suggests that PPE is unnecessary in most nursery based activities.  However, PPE is available in the nursery if required, and will be made available for all staff where risk assessments suggest it might be helpful.  The PPE currently available includes face masks, face shields, gloves, goggles and aprons.

Staff room
The staff room will continue to be used as normal by the staff within the Acorns room and Acorns staff will clean this area regularly. Only one person at a time will be able to use the room so staff breaks will need to be staggered. The Oaks room staff will temporarily be using the office as their staff room and D-block toilets to further reduce the risk of cross contamination between groups. There should be a maximum of two people within the office at one time to maintain social distancing. 

Avoiding Contact with Surfaces
Staff should avoid touching shared surfaces wherever possible.  Doors will therefore be left open where possible. This will also aid ventilation (see section Increased Ventilation). You should avoid sharing pens or other work equipment. 

Lunch and breaks may need to be staggered and/or taken in small groups.  If possible staff and children should use outside areas or the covered play area for breaks whenever possible.  The kitchen staff will deliver food, on a trolley, at the agreed time to the nursery entrance and ring the bell to inform staff the food is there and then walk away. The food should be collected from the trolley by a member of nursery staff using gloves and returned to the trolley for collection after lunch.  Social distancing rules must be observed at all times.  

Increased Ventilation
All doors, where possible will be left open, without compromising children’s safety, and weather permitting, and provided there is no increase in fire risk.  Windows should also be opened whenever possible but again without compromising children’s safety or to the detriment of the individuals comfort.

Due to the confined space only one adult will be allowed in any toilet at any one time. Signs will be placed on the entrance to the areas signalling this rule.  Paper towels will be provided.  All bins have foot pedal operated lids. 

If nursery staff need to meet always use remote working tools like the telephone, conference calling, or Teams or Zoom where possible to avoid meeting in person (guidance on all of these options is available from IT).  

If you do need to meet in person, only the absolutely necessary participants should attend, 2m separation must be maintained, and the room must be well ventilated by opening windows and doors.  You should meet outside if possible. 

Staff Locker Areas
Only one person at a time will be allowed in the staff room.

Contractors and Visitors
Only essential contractors and visitors are allowed in the nursery.  If meetings are required, use the guidance in the meeting section of this document.  Contractors need to complete the new COVID-19 Contractor Operating Procedures – Minor Works paperwork at the Lodge before commencing work and must maintain social distancing at all times.  Children must not be in the area at the time and all surfaces must be thoroughly clean on completion of the works. Safety procedures must be sent to contractors prior to their visit and safety and hygiene arrangements must be explained to them on arrival.   All visitors and Contractors must be booked in at the Lodge (disposable pens are available for use at the Lodge).  Contractor’s time on site should be keep to an absolute minimum.

Deliveries and Collections
Deliveries should be made to the Lodge and taken to the nursery by College staff. No deliveries should be made directly to the nursery.

Communication and Training

Signage and posters are in place in all areas to remind staff and parents of the social distancing requirement and additional safety measures necessary in nursery.

Emergency Procedures
Social distancing should be maintained during any emergency or fire evacuation, unless it would unsafe to do so.  First aiders have PPE available and will wear it whenever attending to a first aid matter.

Work Procedures
The nursery managers will need to ensure that staff adapt their procedures to ensure safety, and conduct appropriate consultation and training with their staff.  The Estates and H&S Manager and HR Department can advise and assist where necessary.