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1       Introduction

First and foremost, it is important that everyone involved in nursery life complies with the latest Government guidance on COVID-19. We all have a responsibility to keep one other safe at this time.  

These procedures are based on guidance from the Department of Education specifically for Early Years and are subject to regular review. We are committed to ensuring that we continue to offer both staff and children as safe an environment as possible. Hygiene, social distancing and testing (as appropriate) remain the key elements of infection prevention and control. If any symptoms are displayed, families must be alert and self-isolate in accordance with government guidance for the safety of everyone.

Compassionate leadership underpins our approach to offering nursery care throughout this time and we will do everything we can to be honest, open and to communicate with you. 

Everyone involved in the day to day running of the nurseries will receive appropriate instruction and training on how to operate under the terms of the Safe Operating Procedures.

We aim to work in partnership with parents and trust that everyone understands and follows these Safe Operating Procedures.

The key principles of these procedures are:

  1. Any child, staff member, parent or visitor with COVID-19 symptoms must not attend nursery and must isolate at home

  2. Increased cleaning processes are in place, throughout and at the end of the day

  3. Staff will be social distancing from parents and other staff and children not in their bubble as far as possible (staff are not expected to social distance with children in their bubble)

  4. Children will stay in nursery family groups (a bubble) and will not mix with other groups

  5. Arrival and departure will be staggered and children will be dropped off at separate entrances, wherever possible.

  6. Parents will permitted access to nursery in pre agreed circumstances where this is felt to be beneficial to your child.  

  7. Settling in sessions will take place outside wherever possible. 

  8. Parents and staff members will wear face coverings during drop off and collection at nursery

  9. Staff members who support bubbles (e.g. to collect pots, washing etc.) will wear appropriate PPE at all times.


2        Attendance


In line with current government advice, children and staff are encouraged to attend nursery but must not be displaying any symptoms of Covid-19, the most common being a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of taste and smell. 

It is important that children do not attend nursery if unwell for their own well being and for the safety of others. Children will not be accepted to nursery if they have been given Calpol or any other similar medication that can mask fever symptoms, at parents discretion, within the 4 hours prior to them attending nursery. If such medication has been given under instruction of a medical professional, e.g. after vaccinations, please contact us to discuss this. 

Anyone who is experiencing any symptoms cannot return to nursery until they have completed the required isolation period, in line with government guidelines, and be symptom free or have achieved a negative test result (we politely request evidence of this to be sent to the nursery).


Prompt exclusion is essential to preventing the spread of infection.


Children and staff who are classed as clinically vulnerable should follow their own personal medical advice before attending nursery.

2.1       Drop off and collection of children

Parents are asked to drop off and collect their children only at the entrance designated to them and not to enter the nursery.


Whilst parents are waiting, it is important to maintain social distancing by keeping a distance of two metres apart.


It is preferable if only one parent at a time carries out drop off and collection.


Parents are requested to wear masks and handovers will continue to be predominantly outdoors. Early years practitioners will also wear masks at drop off and collection.

Parents will be allocated a time for arrival and drop off to ensure minimum numbers of people on site at any one time and to reduce the number of people waiting outside. The nursery manager may be able to make an amendment to your allocated time slot where it is safe to do so. Parents are requested to contact the nursery as early as possible if they are not able to make their allocated time slot on a particular day so that we may make safe arrangements for an alternative time. 


Please approach the nursery slowly when driving as there will be parents and children waiting to enter. If you can walk to nursery, please do so.

During this time, your child's key worker will only be able to give parents a limited handover at collection (unless there is an important issue to discuss) in order to both reduce contact and reduce waiting time for other parents. We will endeavour to provide as much information about your child's day on Famly (although care of the children will always take priority over this), however, if you wish to speak with  a member of staff in more detail please contact the nursery directly.

2.2        Temperature and symptom monitoring


Routine temperature testing is not recommended as a reliable method for identifying COVID-19. Temperatures will be taken of children appear unwell or feverish whilst at nursery. 

We are very conscious that during the colder, winter months and that young children will get cold and flu symptoms. However, we must follow the government guidelines, which are currently that anyone with a high temperature, new persistent cough or loss of taste or smell must isolate until they have achieved a negative test result.


Staff members will monitor the children in their care and will make reasonable judgements on whether a family is advised to undergo testing. We ask that families do the same and monitor their children's wellness, making the decision if they need to isolate, undergo testing, or are well enough to attend nursery.

2.3        Travel outside of local area


If you travel internationally or to an area of the UK under local COVID restrictions, we ask that you are aware of the restrictions in place and  follow government guidelines for any travel in and out of the area.

3        Implementing social distancing

It is very difficult to avoid a level of physical interaction with young children and it is important to have their well being at the centre of everything we do. If a child is in need of a hug, or support with their care routines then it would not be fair to deny them this. To help with social distancing the children will be placed in small groups (a bubble) with familiar practitioners.

3.1        Nursery Family Groups

We aim to keep children in their groups wherever possible. We would only merge groups if there was no other choice. Children will have access to the full range of activities that are considered safe at this time. Outdoor play will be encouraged as much as possible. 

3.2        Mealtimes

  • As always, children will eat in their rooms.

  • The practitioners will serve the children.

  • No food will be eaten out of shared platters or containers.

  • Drinks will be offered regularly by practitioners instead of cups being at the children’s level to avoid accidental sharing of cups.

3.4        Fire drills 


If we have to respond to a fire alarm, we will continue to manage social distancing, as far as possible. The safety of the children and employees will always come first.

4        Wellbeing


We know that this is a very unusual and worrying time for everyone. It is very important that at the forefront of this heightened awareness of safe operating procedures, we do not forget that care and consideration must be taken of the need to ensure that everyone within the nursery community feels safe and secure. We will try our best to create a normal nursery environment and hope that you will bear with us during this time.

We will concentrate on building secure attachments and we will continue observing and assessing the children, regularly updating Famly. We will not be able to carry out lengthy handovers. We want our team to spend time with the children, playing and building their relationships.

We would always speak with you immediately if we had any concerns. If your child is expressing any concerns or worries, it is important that you inform your key person.

5        Visitors

5.1        Settling in sessions


Wherever possible, settling-in sessions will take place outdoors. In the event of inclement weather prohibiting this, we will arrange for a space inside, away from other children. Masks will be worn by both parents and staff and both should make every effort to social distance from one another. 

5.2       Visitors


Visitors to the nursery will be admitted to the nursery where this is felt to be beneficial to the children in our care. In the event that we do need to allow a visitor access, they will be required to wear a face covering and we would politely request that they undertake a lateral flow test prior to arrival. Meetings will be conducted via Zoom wherever possible. Parent’s evenings will still be organised but will be conducted over the telephone. 

5.3       Nursery show-rounds


Prospective parents should make use of the nursery website for information relating to the ethos and organisation of the nursery. We are also able to provide a virtual tour on request. Show rounds may be conducted out of hours where government guidelines permit.  

6        Health, Hygiene and Safety

6.1        Reducing the spread of the virus


Good hygiene and cleaning practices will significantly reduce the spread and transmission of the virus as well as everyone being alert to the symptoms. Doors and windows will be opened to provide ventilation as much as possible.

6.2       Cleaning


An enhanced cleaning schedule will be implemented throughout and at the end of the day. Communal areas, door handles and shared facilities must be regularly cleaned. The Nursery Manager will be responsible for recording these cleaning schedules.

The rate of hand washing must be significantly increased. Everyone, including children, must wash their hands on arrival at nursery. There will be regular opportunities for hand washing throughout the day.

6.5        Clothing


All employees and children are encouraged to wear clean clothing every day. 

6.6        Risk assessments


All risk assessments will reflect the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Certain activities will be adapted or removed to reflect this risk.


6.7        Items from home


In order to minimise the amount of external items brought into the nursery each day, please ensure that any items that children absolutely need to bring in are minimal to meet their needs for that day only. These should be supplied in a clearly labelled bag so that the team member caring for your child can return it to you easily at the end of the day.

- It is important that we keep the hallways clear for cleaning purposes so we will not be able to store your child’s belongings at nursery. 
- Please ensure that you leave a sufficient supply of wipes / nappies / creams at nursery.
- Please leave a spare set of clothes at nursery on your first session and replace them as used.
- If your child has a dummy, please ensure that they have an extra one which can be left at nursery.
- If your child has a comforter or soft toy that is vital to their emotional wellbeing, ideally this should be one that can be left at nursery (and will be cleaned daily), otherwise please ensure that this is cleaned each day or a fresh item is sent in if it doesn’t need to be a specific one (e.g. muslin).

- Children are not permitted to bring toys in from home during this time. 

6.8       Resources at Nursery


The children will only share toys and activities within their groups. Resources will be sanitised regularly. 

7       Responding to a person displaying symptoms of COVID-19
7.1        A child


If a child is suspected of displaying COVID-19 symptoms whilst attending the nursery, they should be collected as soon as possible and isolate at home in line with NHS guidance. The child must be tested before they return.

Whilst waiting to be collected, they will be isolated from others in a designated area. An staff member will stay with them and will wear PPE.

If the child becomes very unwell, we will follow our normal emergency procedures and call 999.

The isolation area will be cleaned once the child has been collected.

7.2       Staff


In the event of a staff member developing coronavirus symptoms whilst at work, they will leave work as soon as possible and isolate at home in line with NHS guidance. They will be required to have a test before they return.

7.3       PPE Equipment


Government guidance is that PPE is not required for general use in nurseries to protect against COVID-19 transmission. Hand washing, effective cleaning and social distancing are the most effective measures. Gloves and aprons will be used for nappy changing and first aid. Aprons will be worn at mealtimes. 

PPE will be worn whenever a staff member enters a communal area or is meeting and greeting parents and children. 

7.4       Reporting, testing and tracing


Everyone is eligible for a COVID-19 test, should they display symptoms. Any suspected or confirmed case must be reported to the Nursery Manager as soon as possible. If a positive result is confirmed, the practitioners and children associated with that bubble will be made aware of the situation but may not be required to isolate. Positive tests will be reported to the relevant by the Nursery Manager.

Contact tracing is the responsibility of NHS Test and Trace. In the legitimate interest of public health, we have a duty of care to pass on details of those that meet the definition of a close contact whilst on nursery premises to the Test and Trace service. If you are contacted by Test and Trace and advised to self isolate, you will be expected to abide by this and will not be admitted to nursery. 

8       Further guidance





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Priesthills Nurseries Safe Operating Procedures

Last updated January 2022

Key changes implemented since last review:

- Isolation period amended

- Guidance for close contacts amended

- Risk Assessment updated

- Guidance documents updated