Covid-19 FAQs for Playgroup Parents (September 2021)
On 19th July 2021 England moved to Step 4 of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown and issued guidance for early years and childcare which has been used in the Coronavirus policies and procedures which will be in place from September 2021.
We understand that some parents may still be anxious and will have questions about how we will manage it and what changes may have been made. We have therefore compiled a list of FAQs that will help you understand what Playgroup will look like.
If you have any further questions that are not answered on this page or in any of the other information you have received please phone, email or talk to staff on your visit.
1. What planning has gone into preparing for the re-opening?
- We have taken account of all advice and guidance released by the Government, as well as lots of other sector-related information.
- We have met with The Methodist Church to discuss use of the building by other groups from September 2021.
- We have prepared a comprehensive risk assessment and reviewed policies and procedures to take account of the guidance. The DfE recommends that settings have proportionate control measures to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission, focusing on these four areas:
- Ensuring good hygiene for everyone
- Maintaining appropriate cleaning regimes, with regular cleaning of areas and equipment
- Keeping occupied spaces well ventilated
- Following public health advice on testing, self-isolation and managing confirmed cases of coronavirus
- We have maintained supplies of cleaning equipment and materials, hand sanitiser and PPE.
- In line with DFE requirement, we have drawn up an Outbreak Management Plan, which outlines how we will operate if there is an outbreak in the setting or local area.
2. How are you limiting access to the playgroup, and how will drop-off and collection look like?
We are continuing to reduce the number of people coming into the setting, including:
- Children will be collected from the door by a member of staff and picked up from the outside gate. Settling in visits will happen in the outside area in small groups.
- We will encourage parents to stagger drop off and pick up where possible maintain safe distancing (2m).
- Visits from prospective parents will take place when the setting is closed or when children are having lunch.
3. How will you settle children into playgroup?
We are committed to helping you and your child settle and feel safe, secure and happy at playgroup. We will work with you to plan what works best for you and your child, e.g. short sessions to start with. We can arrange for you to spend a short time in the outdoor area, helping your child to settle.
4. What is your approach to social distancing?
We do not expect very young children to keep any distance between themselves and adults and other children at playgroup. All children will need physical contact, whether for assistance or comfort, and children need to feel relaxed and comfortable. They may need additional reassurance and comfort as their emotional needs are as important as their physical wellbeing. Measures put in place to minimise potential transmission of the virus will be done without alarming or upsetting children, and staff will be incorporating routines such as hand-washing and cleaning into the normal day with as much fun and loving care as possible.
5. What are some of the changes to everyday routines?
We will do our best to maintain our normal routines for consistency and continuity for our children, however some adaptions have to be made to ensure their safety.
- Lunch will be eaten in the upstairs hall where we can ventilate the space. Children need to bring their own drink for lunchtime.
- We will spend lots of time outside.
6. What should/can my child bring to playgroup?
Parents need to provide a named drawstring bag containing several changes of clothes, and nappies and wipes if needed.
Children need a warm/waterproof coat, hat and gloves because they will be outside a lot.
7. What will happen if a member of staff or another child shows symptoms of Covid-19?
We will follow Government guidance and share this guidance with all staff and parents in the setting.
Should a person (staff or child) develop symptoms (new persistent dry cough, high temperature and/or loss of smell and taste) the playgroup manager must be notified immediately, and the person should remove themselves from the setting – if it is a child, their parents will be contacted to collect immediately. They will be instructed to get tested as soon as possible
If the test is negative, the symptoms will be managed like any other illness absence. The staff member or parents should liaise with the playgroup leader about when it is safe to return.
If a test is positive, the playgroup leader must be informed immediately and the person who has tested positive must isolate for 10 days. The playgroup leader will notify Ofsted and contact the local health protection team and take advice.
Multiple cases in the setting may be classed as an outbreak and the setting Outbreak Management Plan will be put into operation.
If your child, or anybody else in your household develops symptoms, you should contact the playgroup leader immediately:
If the child’s test is positive, we will not be able to accept your child back to playgroup until the self-isolation periods are over.
Although Government guidance is that children who live in a household with a positive case are allowed to continue attending the setting, Town Street Playgroup Policy is that they should take a PCR test and not attend unless it is negative. Our responsibility is to keep all staff, children and families safe and avoid any transmission in the setting. The DfE states that providers can use their ‘reasonable judgement’ to decide to refuse a child entry to their setting if they feel it is necessary to protect others in the setting against potential coronavirus infection.
Playgroup fees still have to be paid If your child cannot attend playgroup because they or someone in their household has had a positive test.
10. What will happen if a member of staff tests positive, or anybody in their household has symptoms?
Staff who test positive will isolate for the appropriate self-isolation period. If someone in their household tests positive, the staff member will only work in the setting after a negative PCR test.
11. Will staff be wearing PPE?
Staff will use PPE as normal when performing intimate care procedures, e.g. nappy changing, and when cleaning, and when dealing with a child or member of staff displaying Coronavirus symptoms, as outlined in risk assessment.
12. Are staff being tested?
All staff will continue to take lateral flow tests twice weekly to identify any asymptomatic cases. The Government intends to review this at the end of September.
13. What cleaning & hygiene measures do you have in place?
From September, Playgroup will have shared use of the building with other community groups, with each group having responsibility to clean the areas they have used.
We are maintaining many cleaning and hygiene arrangements to keep staff, children, and families safe during the day, including:
- Upon arrival at playgroup, both staff and children will wash their hands, and good hand washing practices will be encouraged regularly throughout the day.
- We will be encouraging as much time as possible spent outdoors (which is considered a safer environment).
- We will ensure all toys, resources and equipment are regularly cleaned.
- During the session, regular cleaning will take place on all touch points such as surfaces, door handles, light switches, and toilet areas will be cleaned and sanitised regularly.
- Floors and furniture will be cleaned regularly.