Dear Parents and Carers,
I write to you to set out the arrangements we have made to open Winyates Playgroup from 7 September.
We will be opening for sessions, Monday to Friday each week at our normal hours, 08:50-11:50 and 11:50-14:50.
Before I set out these arrangements, I would like to take this opportunity to thank parents and carers for their understanding and cooperation since the start of closures on 27 March. I know that this period has been challenging for many families, in particular when you have had to juggle work commitments with managing childcare, if you have children with special educational needs or disability, or if you are a single parent.
I am pleased to let you know that, further to the government’s announcement that early years and childcare providers will open for the new school year (subject to scientific advice), we are working hard to take the necessary steps to be ready to welcome back all children.
Which children can attend from 7 September?
For the new school year, early years and childcare providers will welcome back all children. For the vast majority of children and young people, coronavirus is a mild illness. Some categories of children with specific serious health conditions should not attend their early years setting. If you are unsure whether your child should attend the setting due to a health condition that they or someone they live with has, please contact your medical professional.
Protective measures we are taking in light of coronavirus (COVID-19)
First and foremost, it goes without saying that the safety of your child and of our staff is our top priority. We are working hard, following the latest government guidance, to develop and implement a number of new ways of operating. This will allow us to open as safely as possible, focusing on measures that will help limit the risk of coronavirus transmitting within our setting.
Some of the steps we are taking in readiness for reopening include:
· We have prepared and continually update our coronavirus (COVID-19) Risk Assessment in compliance with WCC guidelines and this is available to parents on request.
· Asking that anyone who is displaying coronavirus symptoms, or who lives with someone who does, not to attend the setting. That includes children and staff who work here.
· Asking that any child attend only one setting to avoid the possible risk of cross-setting transmission.
· Keeping our children in small groups with as much consistent staffing as possible. The premises will not accommodate multiple groups and so there will be only one group (“bubble”) for all children attending our setting and no capacity for ‘Social Distancing’ inside Playgroup.
· Cleaning our hands more often than usual. We have developed routines to ensure children understand when and how to wash their hands, making sure they wash them thoroughly for at least 20 seconds using 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 our children understand good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach and ensuring a good supply of tissues and bins throughout the setting.
· Implementing an enhanced cleaning schedule, ensuring surfaces touched by children and staff are cleaned regularly and throughout the day, including table tops, door handles and play equipment.
· In line with the guidance soft toys will be removed from the setting to minimise transmission risk. The usual close-group activities will be replaced by as much individual activity as possible.
· Rotating resources. Toys and children’s books will be rotated over 5-days, presenting ‘fresh’ toys and books each day to minimise infection risk.
· Asking parents and carers to physically distance from each other and from staff when dropping off and collecting their children and to limit drop off and collection to one parent or carer per household.
· Asking parents to drop-off and collect children at the entrance door and not enter the reception. A member of staff will sign in/out children at the door.
· We will actively discourage personal visits by any professionals outside of the group.
· We will continue to provide toast and fruit at ‘breakfast’ time (9:30am approx.) Please bring your child’s lunch and drink in a plastic lunch box which can be cleaned by staff as necessary. Avoid bags please. More importantly than ever, don’t forget to add your child’s name to boxes and drinks, so that they don’t get mixed up, and ensure your child knows their own bottles and boxes.
· If your child is in nappies or pull-ups please provide these and a spare change of clothes (so we do not have to change them into Playgroup clothes) in a bag which can be cleaned.
· Ventilating the premises. In line with guidance for shared indoor spaces, the room will be ventilated as much as possible to encourage the highest possible flow of fresh air through the premises. This will mean leaving the front windows and rear door open as much as possible. This will inevitably mean the room will be cooler than usual. Please ensure your child is dressed warmly for the weather each day.
· Asking children not to bring toys or other items from home to the setting, unless this is essential to their health and wellbeing.
· All staff and children will be temperature checked on entering Playgroup each day.
What can parents and carers do to help?
There are a number of things parents and carers can do to help us make these arrangements effective, in addition to the points listed above concerning arrival and departure and not bringing toys to the setting.
1. Do not bring your child to Playgroup if they or anyone who lives with them are displaying any Coronavirus symptoms, or has displayed symptoms (and not had a negative test) within the last 14 days.
2. Do not bring risk of infection to Playgroup; ensure your child and family group continue to maintain the government ‘Social Distancing’ rules and guidelines.
3. To minimise transference risk we will spend as much time as reasonably possible outside in the ‘garden’ or going for walks, weather permitting. Please ensure your child is protected by applying sun protection lotion before session. Staff will not apply sun lotion to the children.
4. The room will be ventilated as much as possible to encourage the highest possible flow of fresh air through the premises. This will mean leaving the front windows and rear door open as much as possible. This will inevitably mean the room will be cooler than usual. Please ensure your child is dressed warmly for the weather each day
5. Please wait outside the Playgroup front door at drop-off and pick-up times, and maintain ‘Social Distancing’ by queuing in front and down the passage, if others are waiting.
6. Children should be dropped-off or picked up by only one person (if possible) and only someone from their own family group as per current guidelines.
7. For additional protection please wash your child’s clothes after each session and send them in freshly cleaned clothes each day.
8. If a child should show any coronavirus symptoms during the Playgroup session we will contact you immediately, and you must collect them without delay. The child will be isolated from the other children and accompanied by one member of staff who will be wearing PPE for their own protection. This is the only time that staff will wear PPE. Please ensure we have your up to date contact details from day to day. Text us if there are any changes to your details.
a) Staff will advise on ‘Stay at Home Guidance’ and direct parents/guardians to ‘Arrange Testing’ for Worcester county. Playgroup is required to notify WCC Local Outbreak Response Team. Parents/guardians are required to notify Playgroup of the TEST OUTCOME. Playgroup is required to update WCC Local Outbreak Response Team. Positive test results will also be notified to Ofsted. All suspected and confirmed cases will be recorded on our systems and by WCC in compliance with data protection requirements.
9. Let us know any time your child will not attend a session as expected and clearly give the reason. Please do not create doubt and uncertainty regarding why they are not in session.
10. Please work with us in modifying attendance days as necessary to ensure all the recommendations and guidance are observed.
Once early years and childcare providers open to more children, all children who are attending a childcare setting will have access to a test if they display symptoms of coronavirus, and are encouraged to get tested in this scenario. The aim is to enable children to get back to childcare, and their parents or carers not to need to self-isolate any longer than is necessary, if the test proves to be negative. A positive test will ensure rapid action to protect other children and staff in their setting.
We ask all parents and carers to ensure they organise a test for their child, in the event that they develop coronavirus symptoms, and notify us immediately of the outcome of the test. Further guidance is available about getting tested.
If a child or member of staff tests positive, they now have to self-isolate for at least 14 days even if they feel well.
If they are NOT a known contact of a confirmed case they can return if the result is negative, provided they feel well, and they have not had a fever for 48 hours.
If they are a contact of a confirmed case, they must stay off school/setting for the 14-day isolation period, even if they test negative. This is because they can develop the infection at any point up to day 14 (the incubation period for COVID-19), so if they test negative on day 3, they may still go on to develop the infection.
I hope that this letter has given you the information you need to understand what arrangements we have made to enable children to return to us from 7 September. We are looking forward to welcoming your child back and I hope that you are assured that we have taken all possible steps to ensure safety for all in our setting. If you have any questions or suggestions, please let us know.
Julie and all at Winyates Playgroup