It is important that certain measures are implemented and maintained to ensure the safety of our children and community. For that reason, we have implemented various plans, protocols and policies in order to facilitate the safety of our staff, parents, children and babies.
The Government’s SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) are aligned with our Covid-19 protocols, policies and procedures. They were released on 24 June. We were legally allowed to re-open on 6 July. We re-opened on 13 July. Jennifer was on two of the DSD workstreams for ECDs to re-open, Protocols being one of them. The other was Care Packages. We had our DSD Covid-19 compliancy inspection on Wednesday 29 July, and we passed with flying colours.
We are grateful that young children are not classified as part of the most vulnerable group, however, we are nonetheless dedicated to employing all measures possible to ensure their health and safety.
SCREENING & PROTOCOLS – to ensure the safeguarding of UTS staff, parents, children and babies:
- We have traffic cones in use to ensure social distancing in our handover queue.
- The temperature of all staff and children/babies is screened (using wrists NOT foreheads as initial photo shows) at the nursery entrance every morning, at lunch time, as well as just before pick up every afternoon. The same applies to staff.
- Parents sign a declaration, and are asked COVID-19 risk related questions for their family.
- The children’s hands, shoes and bags are sanitised/cleaned before the children are handed over to a staff member.
- Parents (and visitors) are not allowed into the nursery school for the forseeable future.
RISK ASSESSMENTS AND PROTOCOLS
- An appropriate and comprehensive risk assessment has been conducted in every room (inside and outside) to identify, prevent and control possible infection. We have these in place already at UTS, but we have redone them in view of the heightened Covid-19 protocols and procedures.
- We have robust systems in place to determine, prevent and counteract the risk of COVID-19 infection.
- We ensure that sufficient resources and materials are available to facilitate the prevention of the infection.
- Where our two classrooms historically often socially mix at meal times and for special celebrations, we will ensure this does not happen for the forseeable future, keeping the children in their class ‘bubbles’. This is a preventative control measure.
- As we are a small school we do not need to stagger arrival times.
- Each child has his/her own sleep time mattress/cot at school. They are placed a good distance apart from one another – the one’s head at the other’s feet (mattresses and beds on which the children sleep are disinfected daily).
- As each classroom has their own dedicated outdoor play area, we do not have to curb our children’s outdoor play time at all.
- We co-ordinate social distancing during structured times using hula hoops that are spread apart, when the older children are doing puzzles or activities on the floor/grass, and spread apart high chairs for the little children.
- Personalised, individual lap desks have been bought for the older children, instead of using shared tables, during meals and activities
- Our staff have been amazing and have given their full co-operation in exercising the school’s infection precautionary measures.
- Regular, applicable training is in place for all staff; this includes Prevention and Control of Infections, Covid-19 training, Food Training and Safe Handling, First Aid (refresher), Trauma training, Washing hands training, PPE training, Child protection and Safeguarding, The importance of risky play, messy play, sensory play and role play. They have been completed/refreshed during lock down.
- They are also trained on the following: conducting medical screening, managing classes (including new hygiene rules for the playgrounds; cleaning of the premises and handling of food).
- We have a full-time cleaner who cleans, sanitizes and disinfects everyday already… this has been increased even more.
- The nursery is deep cleaned daily, and has been de-cluttered as a precautionary measure.
- We have a thorough cleaning program/rota in place for the entire premises.
- We maintain a high standard for cleaning and hygiene on the school grounds, toilets, classes, etc.
- All apparatus and resources are cleaned and disinfected after use by specific disinfectants.
- An emphasis is placed on sanitizing high use areas and objects, such as door handles, door frames, bathrooms, taps, telephones, electronic apparatus, toys, exterior game apparatus such as swings, bikes and bike handles, baby beds, mattresses and furniture, etc.
- Sufficient hand washing facilities and soap are available (inside and outside), with posters illustrating effective hand washing all over UTS.
- Staff inform the children of the importance of washing hands regularly.
- We ensure that class rooms continue to be well ventilated at all times. We do, as part of our usual daily program, spend the majority of our time outdoors anyway. This is healthier for children.
- Good record keeping is in place to ensure what needs to happen, does happen. And is evidenced by each staff member.
PLEASE CAN YOU HELP US WITH THE FOLLOWING
- Pleases sign our multi-choice declaration, answering various things, e.g.: whether you have traveled out of the province, or come into contact with someone who has suspected or diagnosed Covid-19, etc.
- We kindly ask you to supply your child’s own bed linen for the forseeable future.
- Bedtime blankets/sleeping bags will be sent home weekly for washing (Blankets should therefore fit into a plastic bag, that can be kept in your child’s locker the whole week). Please do remember to bring it back to school on Monday.
- Please bring enough clothes on a Monday for the week (for mess/accident changes etc.), to prohibit clothing going to and from nursery and home each day please.
- Please do not bring a toy (of any kind) to school from home.
- Please do not bring in the usual items you bring in for our creative use – cereal boxes, loo rolls etc. This is not allowed for the forseeable future.
- Children who feel sick MUST stay at home when showing or experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. Please isolate for 10 days (it was 14 days previously). If tested, please inform the school what the Covid-19 test results are. We in turn will trace contacts (and inform), and deep clean the school as need be.
- No hand tools, toys or equipment may be shared in the school, playground or classroom environment.
- We have made each child a personalised activity/stationery box, which remains in their locker, when not in use. It contains bubbles, chalk, crayons, scissors (older children), various containers with coloured play dough, and a plastic knife and cookie cutters for the play dough etc. We change this regularly, and disinfect it daily, after use.
- After playing with toys/puzzles etc., they are disinfected immediately.
- No fur-type soft toys are allowed (like teddy bears/puppets), except when used as part of your child’s stimulation and care where need be, and are made from machine-washable cloth. It is then washed immediately after use.
- We will continue to communicate with parents telephonically, via our dedicated whatsapp family group, or via emails.
- As and when needed, meetings will be conducted on-line. Where an appointment requires the physical presence of the parties concerned, measures will be implemented to ensure that social distancing protocols are adhered to. Meetings on the school premises are by appointment only.
- It is so important, now more than ever before, to have healthy habits such as washing hands, not touching our face, eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands, how to cough/sneeze into elbows etc.
- Please dress your child(ren) with warm clothes. It is winter and it is chilly, and we do spend a large amount of time outside in the fresh air. We also love the warm winter sun on our back.
- We are a small nursery school (circa 20 children), with a high staff:child ratio. This is perfect for ensuring Covid-19 protocols are safely kept.
- Our staff travel by car, not taxi, to school in the morning.
- Staff are fully screened, sanitise and change upon arrival at work. They have a travel mask and 2 other 3 layered masks, provided by the school. They have also been provided with two face shields.
- As we are so small, control is high, very doable and SAFE.
PROCEDURES TO FOLLOW IF SOMEONE IS SICK
- We will see to is that children, babies and staff who develop symptoms during the normal course of school are attended to in the prescribed manner, and that the parents of the child are immediately notified.
- The situation will be treated with the utmost confidentiality to protect the child/staff member.
- We will strictly adhere to our protocols (SOP guidelines) re what to do if we suspect a child/staff member has symptoms, and this will be well documented.
- Children, babies or staff who become sick/show symptoms at school, or arrive sick at school, will be sent home as soon as possible.
- Sick children, babies or staff are kept safe and separate from everyone else, until they are collected. The child will be isolated (with a teacher who has a mask and a face shield) in our quarantine/isolation area.
- Our isolation room is in a separate room, away from the school. It has a mattress, sheets, blankets, books, puzzles and a few toys. As well as a First Aid Kit, a non touch thermometer and two medical masks. There is a sink with clean drinking water and bathroom facilities for use as well.
- When the child has been collected, the items and entire isolation area will be disinfected.
- The parties concerned will have to be tested by their medical doctor, and self-quarantine for 10 days discussed.
- The relevant parties must immediately provide a complete list of people with whom they have been in contact in the past two weeks.
- The school will let the Department of Health know about any positive cases
- Communication will be provided to parents regarding the way forward, as soon as possible.
- If your child/baby has certain underlying medical conditions (comorbidities), he/she is regarded as high risk and more vulnerable in developing complications in case of being infected with COVID-19.
- Children/babies with comorbidities will not be allowed to return to school unless a medical doctor has given written authorization.
- The return of a child is voluntary and at the sole decision of the parent/guardian.
- There needs to be open and honest communication between parents and the school at all times.
- People who become sick (positive for Covid-19), and who have had contact with other individuals, must be followed up to combat the virus as far as possible. Your cooperation to protect our community is absolutely imperative.
- It is the responsibility of parents and staff to answer enquiries as accurately and comprehensively as possible.
Any new/updated information received by the school is communicated to our parent body as soon as possible.