Infection Control Procedures and Policy

COVID-19 PROCEDURES AND OPERATIONS

Belmont Playcare is committed to ensuring that we provide the safest possible environment for all users during the ongoing COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.  We are aware that there are important actions that staff, children, and parents/carers can take during the coronavirus outbreak to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Due to the nature of the transmission of the coronavirus, in our setting, avoiding the spread of it involves preventing:

direct transmission, e.g. when in close contact with those sneezing and coughing.

indirect transmission, e.g. touching contaminated surfaces.

Belmont Playcare will employ a range of approaches and actions, which can be seen as a hierarchy of controls that, when fully implemented, create a safer system where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced. 

Social Distancing

Given recent guidance from the Public Health Agency, Education Authority and Health and Social Care Trust it is now appropriate that the safe return of all pupils is facilitated.

“Protective Bubbles”

A session will act as a single consistent bubble, with minimal interaction with other sessions.

Children within a bubble will not be expected to socially distance, however distancing (within the) session will be maximized at snack times, outside and wherever possible based on physical capacity and activities provided.

Social distancing between the adults working within the session will be maintained as much as possible with each other and the children.

Brief transitory contact such as passing in the toilets or foyer is deemed low risk.

Welcoming the children to their session on their arrival will be supported by staff who will lead them into the room to avoid congestion.

Routines/transitions: Staggered snack times and the movement of children around the sessions to reduce large groups of children gathering.

Parents and carers will be discouraged from gathering outside Belmont Playcare. The onus will be on parents/carers to ensure social distancing measures are adhered to at drop off/collection times.  A queuing system will be in place when you are dropping off/collecting your child. Two metre spacings will be marked outside the entrance door and outdoor play area entrances, parents must adhere to the signage.

Separate entrances for Preschool and Playgroup sessions are marked on the outdoor play area fences.  These entrances will be used as our new way into Belmont Playcare.

Parents are asked not to enter the building unless absolutely necessary. Instead a member of staff will meet you at the door and bring your child into the setting.  Please understand that dropping off your child may take slightly longer than normal. Parents/carers should be adhering to social distancing guidelines when leaving the playcare and school grounds.

At collection time, a queuing system will also operate. Parents/carers should queue as per the 2-metre spacing signage.  A member of staff will bring your child to the door when you reach that point in the queue.

Social distancing is necessary, as it reduces the potential for transmission.   We need to ensure there is a good balance between keeping the children well cared for as well as safe.  We will talk to the children at an appropriate level about social distancing and handwashing.

Adults should remain in the same group at all times during the session.  If staff are to cover additional sessions, they will change clothing and footwear.

External Circulation

A “one way” system of travel is now in place for the whole Belmont Primary School site to ease congestion and travel around the school- Please follow the signs.

Parents MUST come through the P1 playground and walk around the school to the Playcare and exit out the main entrance (through green gates).

Ventilation

Windows will be open to encourage natural ventilation within the playrooms dependent on climates and for existing mechanical ventilation where desired to achieve thermal comfort.

Cleaning

Cleaning and disinfecting regularly touched objects and surfaces is in place and undertaken frequently and using our standard cleaning products.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) such as aprons and gloves are used as necessary.

Clear procedures are in place for cleaning equipment and environment.

Immediate cleaning of spillages of blood and other bodily fluids and using correct PPE is in place.

Clear procedures on safe disposal of waste. is in place.

Snack Time

Normal food/drink items will be offered to children daily.  Break will be provided to children at a table where they can sit spaced apart from others.  Staff will ask children which food items they would like, and place it on a plate for them, rather than the child using tongs etc to collect the food themselves.  The skills which children usually develop during our break time routine will be addressed and challenged in other areas of the playroom throughout the year.

Items that come into contact with mouths such as cups and plates will not be shared. Children will have their own cup and plate supplied for the academic year.

Staff will wear an apron when preparing and serving snacks. It is not suggested that staff wear gloves but need to wash hands thoroughly throughout the preparation of food. There should only be a small quantity of snack prepared so no food is exposed and open.

Staff will wash any crockery and cutlery in kitchen areas with warm general-purpose detergent and dry thoroughly before being stored for re-use.

“Gloves can be used to minimise direct contact with food. However, gloves can become contaminated with bacteria in the same way as hands so are not a substitute for good personal hygiene and hand washing”

Toileting

We will follow appropriate guidance on the use of appropriate PPE where necessary, e.g. to assist a child with a toileting accident/intimate care dealing with a sick child.

Staff will support and encourage independence in toileting routines and good hand hygiene.

Belmont Playcare have 5 toilets and hand basins, the bathroom has been divided into two areas, so there is minimal contact between sessions.

Hourly cleaning schedule is in place for staff to clean toilets, basins, handles, doors, and soap dispensers.

Play

Belmont Playcare will be maximizing the potential for more outdoor learning opportunities. Evidence suggests that outdoor environments can limit transmission, as well as more easily allowing for appropriate social distancing between children and staff.

We will promote, support, and communicate the need for suitable outdoor clothing to enable children to be outdoors for longer periods in a range of weathers.

Promoting outdoor play using appropriate social distancing measures.

Ensuring that appropriate cleaning between cohorts of children using it.

Suspend the use of soft toys and cushioning and play dough. We hope to find ways to provide dough safely.

Resources will be allocated to the same groups/session where possible, rather than sharing across groups or classes.

To reduce transmission *items from home should be limited/prevented from being brought into the Playcare. We recognise however that some children may require a transitional object and consideration will be given on how to safely manage this to ensure children are supported in their transition from home to the setting to feel reassured and comforted.

*Items include creative work made by the children.

Sessions will remove unnecessary/surplus items from the classroom and other areas including toys, items and materials that are hard to clean. Whilst ensuring the children still have adequate resources and furnishings to support quality experiences.

Individual Needs

Plans will be compiled to support children with individual needs an Individual Risk Assessment will be compiled in relation to supporting children with routines, new adjustments to the session and other COVID-19 measures.

Re-adjustment to the routines may prove more challenging for some children with individual needs than others, and consideration and planning in coordination with parents may be requires as to best support children to settle back into the playcare.

Music and Rhyme time

Where possible we will maximise the use of the outdoor canopy for singing and rhyme time. Currently there is no evidence that singing activities are of greater risk of transmission than any other activity and the benefits of singing outweighs any potential risks.

Floor seating provided will include wipeable mats, spots, and discs.

Preschool Curriculum

Careful consideration will be given to how we tailor delivery of the curriculum to reduce the risk of the virus transmission.

Belmont Preschool will continue to plan for the delivery of remote learning in the event of local or wider closures, or if a class or group of pupils need to self-isolate.

Blended Learning is a term being used for home/playcare learning:

“An approach to education whereby schools will combine classroom-based teaching and learning methods within school, with a range of remote learning in order to deliver the Northern Ireland Curriculum”.

Safeguarding

All planned activities should be risk assessed, considering current circumstances, and assessing how practice may need to be adapted.

It is important for children to feel secure and receive warmth and physical contact that is appropriate to their needs, in particular when they receive personal care, need comforting or reassurance.

Therefore, on occasions staff will need to be close to the children and support wellbeing by giving a hug in line with their needs and staff should feel confident to do so.

Attendance

Normal practice of completing daily registers will be maintained of staff, children and visitors in each session to facilitate contact tracing in the event of an episode of infection.

Risk Assessments

Risk assessments are in place to ensure that health and safety legislation and guidance is fully adhered to. Risk assessments are reviewed regularly as circumstances change.

Outside Agencies

Outside agencies and Belmont Playcare will assess whether the professional needs to attend in person or if a virtual meeting is more appropriate.  If they need to attend in person, they should closely follow the protective measures guidance and attendees kept to 1 visitor only. Visitors MUST sign the visitors book leaving contact details.

Communication

Belmont Playcare will provide regular, timely and clear communication with parents. 

Clear two-way communication with parents and the playcare regarding the measures being taken will ensure the safety of the children and everyone’s wellbeing.

Handwashing

Good basic hygiene practices such as regular handwashing (practitioners and children). 

In addition to normal hand washing procedures, children and staff will wash their hands at 30-minute intervals throughout the session.  Staff members will support children to ensure they use soap and water or sanitiser and have thoroughly cleaned their hands.  Hands will be dried using disposable paper towels.

Staff should be made aware of any allergies with hand sanitisers. 

Staff, parents/carers, and children should avoid touching their mouth, eyes, and nose. Staff will ensure children are encouraged not to touch their face.

They should cover the mouth and nose with a disposable tissue when they cough or sneeze.  Tissues will be readily available throughout the setting and used tissues will be placed in a disposable rubbish bag and hands cleaned immediately with soap and water or hand sanitiser.  If a tissue is not available for any reason, people should sneeze into the crook of their elbow.  Again, staff will demonstrate this regularly to children, and regularly remind them of the importance of personal respiratory hygiene.

We will be promoting ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ government campaign, through posters and staff support.

Wet hands on surfaces transfer microorganisms more easily that dry hands!!

Staff will prompt the children to wash their hands for 20 seconds:

when they arrive at Belmont Playcare.

after outside breaks.

before meals and snack times.

after using the toilet.

after handling any body fluids, waste or soiled items.

before and after handling foodstuffs or eating.

before and after giving medicines.

after messy play, indoors or outdoors.

after wiping their nose or mouth or tending to a cut or sore.

after handling wastebaskets or bin.

at the end of the day before they go home.

After playing with sand.

Before and after administering medicine

Belmont Playcare will ensure there is always access to soap and water, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used instead.

Cleaning

“Clean as you go”

Belmont Playcare will promote and facilitate best infection-control practice, including the following:

Safely using cleaners and disinfectants and or steamer on surfaces and objects, this includes, wearing gloves; ensuring cleaners and disinfectants are used in a manner that does not endanger childcare workers or children at the setting.

After a child or childcare worker uses the toilet, the lid should be put down first in the staff toilets, before flushing.  Afterwards the staff member should always wash their own and the child’s hands.

Belmont Playcare will ensure there is always extra cleaning of the toilets, taps, soap dispenser and door handles. 

Belmont Playcare session rooms will be properly cleaned between cohorts.

Belmont Playcare will provide suitable disposable wipes for staff to wipe down commonly used surfaces (e.g. keyboards, desks, remote controls) before use.

Mop heads are detachable and will be replaced regularly, stored inverted to allow to dry. Mop buckets cleaned after use and stored upside down.

Belmont Playcare staff will use a steamer for upholstered items (Sofa, seating, and cushions).

Written rota for cleaning of toilets – date, what cleaned and staff signature.

Staff will note on resources what was cleaned, when and by whom before storing away.

Staff are to use a disposable cloth, to firstly clean hard surfaces with warm soapy water. Then staff will disinfect these surfaces with the antibacterial cleaning products.  Paying attention to frequently touched areas and surfaces.

Staff will wash hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds, and after removing gloves, aprons and other protection used while cleaning.

Spillages of body fluid, such as urine, vomit, faeces or blood, are cleaned up as quickly as possible.  Staff should be encouraged to treat every spillage of body fluids or body waste with caution and as potentially infectious. Therefore, any intimate care or first aid, staff must wear PPE and double bag any soiled items.

Staff will be made aware: Chlorine-based disinfectants should not be applied directly to acidic bodily fluids, such as urine or vomit, as potentially dangerous chlorine vapor may be released.  Such spills should be cleaned up with paper towels and washed with warm water and a general-purpose detergent before being treated with a disinfectant solution.  In all cases, staff will follow the manufacturer’s instructions for any disinfectant product they are using.

Mops WILL NEVER be used for cleaning up blood and body fluid.

Playing with toys or using equipment such as climbing apparatus and slides is an important part of the child’s day in an early years/childcare setting.  However, these items can quickly become soiled or unhygienic and a child’s habit of putting toys in their mouth can lead to a situation where disease can be spread.  Staff will ensure that toys and equipment are inspected and cleaned regularly throughout the working day.

Staff

Travel on public transport – staff will need to wear a mask on any public transport.

Leader should consult daily with staff about their health and well-being (Have their circumstances changed which may affect their work).  Any information should be brought to the attention of the coordinator immediately.

Current NHS guidance is that where staff and children are not symptomatic, then no personal protective equipment is required above and beyond normal good hygiene practices.  Gloves, aprons masks and eye protection may however be required to support delivery of intimate care, first aid or for specific cleaning duties as normal.

Belmont Playcare staff simply need to follow the guidance on social distancing, handwashing and cleaning surfaces.

Staff should not bring pens and pencils from home from the setting and ensure personal items are kept to a minimum and cleaned regularly.

Other equipment which is shared e.g. phones and laptops should be sanitised before being handed over.

Shared rooms must be properly cleaned between cohorts.

Belmont Playcare will stress the importance to staff of staying home if they have a frequent cough, sneezing, fever, or difficulty breathing.

If a member of staff becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature (37.8 or higher), or has a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste of smell (anosmia), they will be sent home immediately and advised to follow the COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection guidance https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance.

Session staff will routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects (e.g. doorknobs, light switches, classroom sink handles, countertops, toys, books, shared keys etc.).

Where adults cannot keep 2 meter distance and interacting with other adults for over 15 minutes or more, face coverings should be worn.

Staff wishing to wear face coverings during contact time with the children are permitted to do so.

Belmont Playcare will regularly check (and share with any pregnant staff) the new www.ni-maternity.com website, which offers specific advice in relation to pregnancy and incorporates the latest COVID-19 advice for pregnant women. The guidance includes a link to a separate piece of helpful guidance available at https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/2020-04-27- occupational--health--advice--for--employers-and--pregnant-women.pdf.

Symptoms Procedure

Children should not attend if they have symptoms or are self-isolating due to symptoms in their household.

A system to check with parents and guardians daily on the status of their children will be in place when children are dropped off at the playcare.

Temperatures will be taken after the children arrive using the infrared thermometer.

Up-to-date email addresses and home, work, and mobile phone numbers of parents and guardians of children at the Playcare so we can reach you at all times.

Children should stay at home if they are sick, have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19, or if someone in the household has symptoms (loss of taste or smell, cough, fever, shortness of breath);

We ask parents/guardians to contact the coordinator or session leader if they, their child or any other family member with whom they live or have had contact has tested positive for COVID-19.

Children, parents, carers or any visitors such as suppliers are not to visit the setting if they are displaying any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).

If a child starts showing symptoms of Covid-19 while at Belmont Playcare, they should be collected as soon as possible by a parent/carer.

Children will await collection with adult supervision (adult MUST wear full PPE including visor) either in a separate room with closed door or in our outdoor play area. Appropriate adult supervision guidelines will be adhered to and adult will try to maintain a 2-meter distance however it may not be possible to maintain this.

Ideally, a window should be opened for ventilation. If it is not possible to isolate them, the child will be moved to an area of the room which is at least two meters away from others.

If they need to go to the bathroom while waiting to be collected, the toilets will be cleaned and disinfected using standard cleaning products before being used by anyone else.

If the child is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk, we will call 999.

If a member of staff has helped a child who was taken unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, they do not need to go home unless they develop symptoms themselves.

They should wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after any contact with someone who is unwell.

Cleaning with normal household disinfectant after someone with symptoms has left will reduce the risk of passing the infection on to others.

Staff will wear disposable gloves, mask and aprons for cleaning.  These should be double bagged, then stored securely for 72 hours then thrown away in the regular rubbish after cleaning is finished.

If an area has been heavily contaminated, such as with visible bodily fluids, from a person with coronavirus (COVID-19), use the visor protection for the eyes, mouth and nose, as well as wearing gloves and an apron

Belmont Playcare will increase the frequency of handwashing and cleaning surfaces, toys, and other equipment.

COVID-19: cleaning of non-healthcare settings guidance https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-decontamination-in-nonhealthcare-settings.

COVID-19 NI (Health and Social Care Northern Ireland) APP has been downloaded (download links available at: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-overview-andadvice).

Procedure if a parent contacts Belmont Playcare to advise that a child who recently attended has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Belmont Playcare will contact the Public Health Agency and follow advice as to informing families

Belmont Playcare will Increase cleaning activity to reduce risk of retention of virus on hard surfaces (including play equipment), and keeping property properly ventilated by opening windows whenever safe and appropriate.

When a child, young person or staff member develops symptoms compatible with coronavirus (COVID-19) they will be sent home, advised to self-isolate for 10 days, and arrange to have a test to see if they have COVID-19. Further information is available at https://www.publichealth.hscni.net/covid-19- coronavirus/testing-and-tracing-covid-19#testing-for-essential-workers. Their fellow household members should self-isolate for 14 days. All staff who are attending Belmont Playcare will have access to a test if they display symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) and are encouraged to get tested in this scenario.

Where the child or staff member tests negative, they can return to their setting and the fellow household members can end their self-isolation. IT IS IMPORTANT TO STILL APPLY CAUTION RETURN DEPENDS ON IF WELL ENOUGH AND NOT HAD A FEVER FOR 48 HOURS.

Where the child or staff member tests positive, the rest of their session within Belmont Playcare should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 14 days.

Public Health Agency Guidance will be sought and strictly followed in this case.  This will include contact and tracing, isolation guidance and the potential of entire session or full closure of Belmont Playcare.

Where settings are observing guidance on infection prevention and control, which will reduce risk of transmission, closure of the whole setting will not generally be necessary. Further information is available at: https://www.publichealth.hscni.net/covid-19-coronavirus/testing-and-tracingcovid-19/contact-tracing.

Taken from Guidance for Registered Group Childcare Settings (V4 1st August 2020)

Children and members of their households, will have access to testing if they display symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). This will enable them to get back into childcare and their parents or carers to get back to work if the test proves to be negative. Parents will have a number of routes to access testing for themselves and their children and should contact their GP in the first instance. It is recommended that children under 5 are tested using the home testing kits as the experience will generally be less stressful for them than attending a testing facility. Further information is available at https://www.publichealth.hscni.net/covid-19-corona...

Deep Cleans

Belmont Playcare will follow the Public Health Agency recommendations and use disposable cloths or paper roll to wipe down all hard surfaces, chairs, door handles, grab rails, telephones, and bathroom fittings, and using disposable mop heads for the floors.

Shared areas, such as the foyer, and which are not visibly contaminated will be cleaned thoroughly as normal. Any cloths and mop heads used will be disposed of and put into waste bags.

Belmont Playcare will steam clean items such as upholstered furniture and foam seating/cushions.

Waste, including disposable cloths and tissues, will be put in a plastic rubbish bag and tied when full.

Waste

If a child or staff member has symptoms of covid-19 any waste MUST be double bagged, and guidance should be sought from Public Health Agency as contaminated waste should not be put in commercial waste bins. Waste should be stored for 72 hours and then binned or if child or staff tests negative.

Recognition of an Outbreak

It is important that potential clusters of cases are identified early so immediate steps can be taken to prevent spread. If two or more children and/or staff are positive for COVID-19 within a 14-day period, the Leader or Chairperson will contact the Public Health Agency (PHA).A clinical risk assessment should then be undertaken by the PHA duty officer.The PHA duty officer will advise us of what further action to take, and we will act accordingly.

A person at work (a worker) has been diagnosed as having COVID-19 attributed to an occupational exposure to coronavirus. This must be reported as a case of disease to Riddor

This policy will be updated regularly and in line with the latest government guidelines. At all times the safety and well-being of the children and staff will be of paramount concern as we continue to provide a quality education for each child.