Coronavirus / COVID-19 Policy
COVID-19 is a viral infection similar to flu, spread from person to person by close contact. It typically causes fever and a dry cough, and in some cases may progress to viral pneumonia which cannot be treated by antibiotics. Symptoms of COVID-19 can include:
- Sore throat
- Difficulty breathing
The initial symptoms are not dissimilar to other colds and flu-type illnesses, so the key question is whether the patient has also travelled to a high-risk area in the last two weeks or been in contact with a person who has.
Any child who becomes ill with symptoms which could be COVID-19 while at Branches will be isolated from the other children by at least two metres until the child can be collected by his or her parents. Most suspected cases turn out to be negative so Branches will remain open unless or until advised otherwise by the local Health Protection Team, but parents and staff will be informed, especially those in high-risk groups.
Should any children or staff experience symptoms of COVID-19 they should stay away from Branches until all symptoms have passed and they test negative for the virus.
If any staff or children have returned from a high-risk area, they will be asked to stay away from Branches for 14 days from their date of return
Like the common cold and other flu viruses, COVID-19 is spread by:
- Infected people passing the virus to others through large droplets when coughing, sneezing, or even talking within a close distance.
- Direct contact with an infected person: for example, if you shake or hold their hand, and then touch your own mouth, eyes or nose without first washing your hands.
- Touching objects (eg door handles, light switches) that have previously been touched by an infected person, then touching your own mouth, eyes or nose without first washing your hands. Viruses can survive longer on hard surfaces than on soft or absorbent surfaces.
We will limit the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19 at Branches by:
- Regular handwashing by staff and children
- Minimising contact between our hands and mouth/nose
- Covering nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing; using a tissue when possible, and disposing of the tissue promptly and carefully (bag it and bin it)
- Cleaning hard surfaces (eg door handles, light-switches, tables, etc) with sanitizer frequently
- Encouraging the children at Branches to follow the guidance above
- All staff completing twice weekly lateral flow testing
- Instructing staff to remain at home if they display any relevant symptoms or sending them home if they first display symptoms while at work.
At Branches Out of School we will promote infection control through the methods above, and in addition we will:
- Display posters and information to promote infection control
- Ensure that adequate supplies of cleaning materials are available within the Club
- Dispose of waste promptly and hygienically
- Provide tissues and suitable facilities for their disposal
The latest advice is that closing individual settings is of limited benefit in stopping the spread of the disease. However, there may be an occasion when we will have to consider temporarily closing Branches in line with the local schools or because we have too few unaffected staff to run sessions safely. If this occurs the manager will contact our local authority childcare services for further support and guidance.
Branches will also have to close if advised to do so by the local authority in the interest of safeguarding the children in our care.
In the event of closure, the manager will notify parents or carers as soon as possible. The manager will also inform the local Childcare services as well as other relevant parties, eg feeder schools, other users of shared premises, etc. The manager will also notify Ofsted of the closure.
In preparation for dealing with COVID-19, Branches will ensure that all contact details for staff, children and parents are up to date.
We will prepare letters of notification for parents and staff, so that they can be distributed immediately if an outbreak occurs.
We will endeavour to provide cover should staffing levels fall below the required legal minimums. Any relief staff will be DBS checked at the time of joining our team, so that they are legally able to work with children should the situation arise.
Branches will regularly update its information regarding COVID-19, by checking the latest guidance from Public Health England and the local authority and will inform parents and staff of any changes to our emergency plans.
Early Years or Childcare Service: 0191 4335118
Ofsted: 0300 123 1231
Health Protection Team (HPT): 0300 303 8596 (Newcastle)
This policy was adopted by: Branches Out of School, Date: March 2021
To be reviewed: As updates are received. Signed: Sharon Evans, Manager
Written in accordance with the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (2017): Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements: Health [3.44].