COVID-19 (commonly known as Coronavirus) has presented a huge challenge nationally to the normal running of education and child care providers. On 23rd March 2020, all schools in the United Kingdom were closed on the advice of the UK Government to help delay the spread of the Coronavirus, and that they were only to remain open for those children of workers critical to the COVID-19 response – who absolutely needed to attend.
Education and Early Years settings were also expected to remain open to those children who are identified as vulnerable and their needs cannot be catered for at home, or they need to attend the education/child care setting as it is a safe place.
This appendix has been prepared to explain key changes and interim measures being taken within Highgate Montessori to continue to meet our safeguarding requirements during these extraordinary times.
Status of this document
This is an appendix to the main body of our Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy and will be effective from 20th July 2020 when Highgate Montessori returns to business as usual, following the COVID-19 pandemic.
It has been formally agreed and signed off by Carole Montana, Head of Highgate Montessori, in line with the concerns, views and suggestions shared by parents and the Camden Safeguarding Board on Monday 1st June 2020.
Any questions about the contents of this document should be directed to:
Head of School
Please Note: To maintain a record of communication between all staff and parents we would request that communication is done via email and NOT via telephone, messaging or via WhatsApp.
The main route of transmission for COVID-19
Like the flu, COVID-19 is spread primarily via respiratory droplets—little blobs of liquid released as someone coughs, sneezes, or talks. Viruses contained in these droplets can infect other people via the eyes, nose, or mouth—either when they land directly on somebody’s face or when they’re transferred there by people touching their face with contaminated hands.
Because respiratory droplets are too heavy to remain suspended in the air, direct person-to-person transmission normally only happens when people are in close contact – within about six feet of each other.
- Higher than Normal Temperature within a time frame of 7 Days
- Acute Onset of Persistent Cough
- Shortness of Breath / Wheezing
- Nasal Discharge / Congestion / Sneezing•
- Sore Throat
Other Possible Symptoms
- Diarrhoea / Sickness
- Absence of Taste / Smell
Kawasaki Syndrome in children. Please also see links to Kawasaki Syndrome in children
- High Fever
- Swollen Neck Glands
- Dry Cracked Lips
- Red Fingers or Toes, Soles of Feet
- Red Eyes
- Swollen Tongue
Testing and Tracing
The Government is developing a new national test and trace programme. This will bring together an App, expanded web and phone-based contact tracing and swab testing for those with symptoms of Coronavirus. By the time settings and schools open to a wider cohort of children all children and those in their households will have access to a test.
Supporting advice and DFE guidelines
- If a child, young person or staff member is or lives with someone who is clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable), including those that are pregnant. We are advised those that are clinically vulnerable can attend Highgate Montessori but need to take extra precautions when they go home such as showering, washing our clothes etc. immediately and maintaining a safe distance from vulnerable family members where possible. Please inform Highgate Montessori if this applied to you in writing.
- If a child, young person or staff member is or lives in a household with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable (as set out in the guidance on shielding and will have received a letter giving clear guidance) it is advised that they can only attend if stringent social distancing measures can be adhered to and the child is able to understand and follow social distancing rules.
Highgate Montessori Aims
- To prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
- To manage the risk and rate of transmission.
- To ensure we are promoting the personal social, emotional physical cognitive development and well-being of each child.
- Ensure parents fully understand that their child must only attend preschool if they and all members of their household / contacts are symptom free. Stringent isolation rules must be followed if any member of their household has displayed symptoms of Covid-19.
WHO IS AT RISK?
Children (and their families), staff (and their families), and the Church / Hall Managers.
The optimal scenario for our setting and one we will strive to achieve is/are as follows.
PARTNERSHIP WITH PARENTS AND CARERS
- Please do not bring your buggy if your child is able to get to school without it.
- Wherever possible parents should travel to nursery alone with their child and not car share or use public transport. If you must use public transport, safe distancing measures must be adhered to at all times.
- Parents are asked not to send any toys, comforters or anything they do not need to bring from home into Highgate Montessori.
- Parents will meet in-front of the blue doors upstairs in the Church garden and three parents with their children will be allowed in at any one time, keeping a safe social distance they will continue with the normal procedure of going to the cloakroom, saying goodbye at the top of the classroom and as temporary measure leaving by the upstairs exit.
- Only one parent should come onto the site when dropping off and collecting your child where possible.
- Parents and children are asked to maintain safe distancing measures from staff, the other parents and children during drop off and collection times.
- We understand that the children returning may be a little apprehensive and emotional, wanting a parent to come in with and comfort them. You can do this by coming into the garden if your child needs you to settle them, but must keep a safe distance from other children and parents and once your child has settled please leave as quickly as you can. Parents will not be able to enter the school building.
- Staff will check with parents that the child or any one within their household has been unwell having symptoms of Coronavirus in the past 7 days.
- All parents and children will have their temp taken. The normal human body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C. This will be documented in the school medical book.
- Staff and children will have their temperatures taken periodically throughout the day. The results will be documented in the school medical book.
- Staff and children to wash/sanitise hands on arrival at preschool and periodically throughout the day. We have designed a poster which will be placed around the building to remind staff and children to do this. Staff to keep this routine/procedure documented.
- Parents are asked to communicate our new routines around drop off and collection and good hygiene practices by talking about it to the children at home to reinforce the safety steps that will be in place in the setting in order to reassure your children before they come to preschool.
- Parents that wish to share information with staff, we will provide an additional home school link notebook for parents to add any information they need to share with the team or Head of school (on a need to know basis) or by email or text. Please note that this is not a progress book and is purely for relaying messages of importance during this time. You will be asked to place it in a designated basket in the children’s cloakroom. Please no WhatsApp messages as they are not regularly monitored.
- Please remember that our main priority is the children and will answer messages and emails as soon as possible and where it is safe to do so.
Departure 1.15pm / 3.00pm / 4.00pm / 5.00pm / 6.00pm
- For departure/child collection the parents will wait in the same place as they do for the morning drop-off. From there they and will be invited to come down to the first door to collect there child.
- All children will have their temperature taken again upon leaving.
- Staff will maintain safe distancing measures when outside of Highgate Montessori.
- Parents will be asked to ensure that all members of their household maintain safe distancing measures or safe practice if they are clinical key workers at all times.
- Visitors, deliveries, maintenance and service engineers, with the exception of our caretakers whom have been employed on a permanent basis, will not be permitted to enter the building whilst the children are in attendance except in an emergency. If it is absolutely necessary for them to do so, the children will be moved to a different area. They will be asked to wash their hands, maintain safe distance from staff member and all areas, fixtures and equipment touched will be then be cleaned once they have left the building.
- Staff will remain on the premises throughout the day and take their breaks with the children to avoid contamination.
Indoor and Outdoor Learning Environments
- During the COVID-19 situation, we are not required to pack away the hall on a daily basis as Highgate Montessori have sole use of the hall during this time.
- All children attending afterschool activities will have sole use of the hall until 6.00 pm.
- Staff will arrange the environment so that staff are sitting alongside children rather than face to face and encourage games and activities where children play alongside each other where possible.
- Keep windows and doors open as much as possible to keep airflow throughout the building.
- We will use open air learning as much as we possibly can including lunchtimes, storytimes, free play and for more structured learning. Of course, our main concern is the safety of our children and ratios.
- We will not attempt to interfere with Highgate Montessori presentations, lessons or their free play and do not expect them to keep safe distances apart from one another or from staff as the small group sizes will minimise the risk of transmission.
- The grouping of children will be defined once we have received updated documentation, in the form of the Attendance Review documents, from parents. We are unable to add or include your child(ren) to any group without this form being returned.
- Whilst we will endeavour to work around familiar routines which will be comforting for the children, we will be placing higher than usual focus on their emotional development and well-being during this period.
- PPE: Wearing a face covering in schools and childcare settings is not recommended other than would normally be worn for personal care routines or if a child becomes unwell. However, face coverings may be beneficial for short periods indoors, where there is a risk of close contact with the children. Staff will wear PPE to complete rigorous cleaning routines at the end of each day. (PPE available to staff: Gloves, aprons and face masks).
- PPE will be worn by staff when carrying out any personal care and changing routines or when supporting a sick child.
- PPE and personal care items will be disposed of safely by double bagging and put into the clinical waste bin.
If a child or staff member becomes unwell at Highgate Montessori, we will:
- Contact parents in the event that a child becomes ill.
- Contact the next of kin noted on the emergency form in the event that a staff member becomes ill.
- Send the child / staff member home and tell them to follow the guidance of the
COVID-19: guidance for households with possible Coronavirus infection guidance.
- Whilst the child is waiting to be collected, they should be moved to where they are isolated, without attention placed upon them, either 2 metres apart from other people or to a room behind a closed door, supervised. (go into the garden if possible or open a window for ventilation).
- If they need the potty/toilet during this time it must be cleaned thoroughly after use before it is used by anyone else. Please note that our potties are note shared but our toilets are.
- Staff should wear PPE if they cannot maintain 2 metres distance or need to administer first aid or personal care.
- If the child or staff member becomes seriously ill we will call 999
- Staff members that have been supporting the child should remove PPE, clean the area and wash their hands thoroughly.
- Any staff member supporting a child that is unwell and displaying possible symptoms of Coronavirus do not need to go home unless they develop symptoms themselves. If the child then tests positive then they should have a test.
- When a child or staff member develops symptoms compatible with Coronavirus, they should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 7 days. Their fellow household members must self-isolate for 14 days. All staff and children attending with the child/staff member will have access to and are encouraged to have a test if they develop symptoms.
- We have hired a caretaker who will take full responsibility to ensure a rigorous cleaning procedure is in place.
- Frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, chairs, outdoor equipment and resources cleaned periodically throughout the day.
- Surfaces and all contact items and equipment cleaned at the end of each day.
- Maintain a robust daily cleaning regime. Extensive cleaning routines that will include fixtures and fittings, resources and outdoor equipment.
- Resources: to be steam cleaned, anti-bac wiped, sprayed or washed, placed in the dishwasher on hot wash or where this is not possible then removed for 72 hours.
- We have de-cluttered areas to enable easier cleaning routines.
- Assess individual items and resources to ensure items available can be washed in hot water, sterilised, sprayed with anti-bac spray or wiped or steam cleaned where possible.
- We will anti-bac wipe all lunch boxes and drinks containers that come into the setting before they are stored in the fridge.
- Parents are instructed not to allow their child to bring in toys or comforters from home.
- The children will have their own designated plates, cups, juice bottles and cutlery clearly labelled with their name.
- Shared areas, such as toilets and hand washing areas, will be supervised and cleaned after each use.
- Frequent hand washing / sanitising and good hygiene practices will be adhered to washing hands for at least 20 seconds with running water and soap, dry them thoroughly and/or use hand sanitiser or alcohol rub, ensuring all parts of the hands are covered. Parents are asked to ensure this practice continues at home.
- We will continue to present our ‘Activities of Everyday Living’ activities regarding personal hygiene to the children, including continually to wash hands, blowing noses, coughing into their elbow then washing hands etc.
- Staff and children are advised to wear short/elbow-length sleeves to enable more effective hand/forearm washing where possible.
- Staff are not allowed to wear their uniforms off the school premises.
- Children will be encouraged to cough into a tissue and dispose of tissues safely, before using hand sanitiser or washing their hands.
- Regular (20-second rule) handwashing throughout the day for all staff and children, singing our ‘Wash your Hands’ song as a guideline.
- Hand sanitisers fitted in outdoor play areas, including the park and woods we visit, children and staff will be encouraged to use these outside, when coming into preschool and then regularly throughout the day alongside regular 20 second-hand washing routines.
Please Note: This policy is subject to change as we receive new information and guidelines.