We would like to give a warm welcome to new families joining Les Petites Etoiles and families intending to do so in the future.
This correspondence intends to answer your questions regarding the school’s measures in dealing with Covid-19. We have been reworking our daily routine in order to follow the latest guidelines and make sure we can receive both your children and our staff in the safest possible way.
1. Shielding and clinically vulnerable children, staff or parents
Any child, parent or member of staff who is shielding and clinically extremely vulnerable should contact us immediately. It is important that extremely vulnerable people are shielded and should not attend Les Petites Etoiles. In accordance with government guidance, and in line with the protocols listed in this email, we have ensured that our nursery is safe and that “All other children are strongly encouraged to attend Les Petites Etoiles”
2. Minimising contact and mixing- Social distancing
One of the protective measures we can take to reduce transmission is to have smaller groups. We know that, unlike older children and adults, early years children cannot be expected to remain 2 metres apart from each other and staff. In deciding to allow all children back to our nurseries, we are taking this into account.
- Creation of separated groups “Bubbles”
In order to reduce contact and therefore the risk of transmission to children and staff both staff and children will be allocated set “bubbles. Individual members of each bubble will be able to socialise amongst themselves, but bubbles will not be permitted to mix with other bubbles in the nursery and this applies for the staff of each bubble as well.
• In Tufnell Park, we will do this by dividing the English and French classes into 2 spaces with transparent partitions. Bunnies class will stay as 1 whole bubble.
• In Crouch Hill, Bunnies’ class will be one bubble and Penguins’ class be one bubble.
A bubble will contain a maximum of 12 children, and 2 or 3 members of staff. Each bubble will be bilingual, with a French and English member of staff.
- Drop off and pick up time
We will also stagger the arrival and collection times. This is to enable social distancing at the start and end of the day and to alleviate the severe staff shortage we will experience from being unable to spread our team evenly.
We would like to thank the parents for all their support during the closure – we are now asking for a maximum of help and support with regards to the arrival and departure times:• Each bubble will have a specific arrival time and collection time
• For maximum safety and to avoid the cross-over and mixing of children and staff from different bubbles, we will only have one bubble arriving or being collected at any one time.
• It is vital parents help us by arriving at the correct allocated times.
• Parents waiting at either arrival or collection times are to wait at a safe social distance from one another – we will be putting marks on the pavements to assist parents/carers in keeping a safe distance from one-another.
- Social distancing outside nursery
Each bubble is being treated as a large family. In line with social distancing, children must not attend any other setting if they attend Les Petites Etoiles. Outside of the nursery, children should not mix with other children or adults, other than their parents. We ask all parents to practice safe social distancing outside of the nursery.
We are encouraging our staff to avoid public transport and will provide the staff with face masks, to use if they need to take public transport. We are rolling-out training on the safe usage of face masks to all our staff so they can get to work safely, and all our staff have taken additional training on infection control.
- Outside play
We will take the children out to the playground in separate bubble groups. We will take them outside as much as possible, as the outside air is great for them and reduces the chance of infection.
- Visitors – extra curriculum activities
No parents/carers will be allowed at anytime in the nursery – in addition we will not organise visits and stop any extra curriculum activities.
- Snack, Lunch and Tea
From 8am to 4.30pm, no adults, apart from our chef, will be allowed to enter the kitchen. Children in each bubble will be served food and water by the adult at their table. All our staff are qualified in food hygiene and has before they will carry on applying safe procedures when serving the children.
Birthday cake from home won’t be accepted.
PPE will be worn by the members of staff serving food
3. Avoiding contact with anyone with symptoms
Should a child have temperature or any symptoms of Covid 19, we will isolate him/her on the stage at Tufnell park and the garden house at the back of the garden at Crouch Hill. The manager will stay with the child until parents/carers can arrive. The manager will wear full PPE whilst waiting for the parents. The manager will not be part of any of the bubbles, and so cross-bubble infection risk is reduced.
Any child or member of staff who displays any symptoms will be asked to isolate for 7 days from the nursery, and in line with government advice, any person in the same household will have to isolate for 14 days. Government guidance on testing should be followed – updated details will follow.
If any child or member of staff tests positive for the virus, the entire bubble will self-isolate at home for 14 days.
4. Frequent hand cleaning and good respiratory hygiene practices
Public Health England (PHE) is clear that if early years settings, and crucially if they are also applying regular hand cleaning, hygiene and cleaning measures and handling potential cases of the virus as per the advice, then the risk of transmission will be lowered.
As before, we will ensure regular hand washing. Each bubble will wash their hands together on arrival and in between each transition. The toilet area will then be disinfected and cleaned before the children from the next bubble arrive.
We will use visuals to remind children to be extra vigilant and thorough in their hygiene routine.
5. State of the art air filters
We have ordered Swiss-made state-of-the-art air filtration, made by IQAIR. Their HyperHEPA filtration is tested and certified by an independent third-party lab to effectively filter 99.5% of harmful ultrafine pollution particles down to 0.003 microns in size. This is 100 times smaller than what is achieved with ordinary air filtration technology and 10 times smaller than a virus. We are providing one of these to each of our classrooms in time for the opening.
6. Regular cleaning of settings
Toys will be not mix- each bubble will keep their own toys. These will be cleaned regularly.
We will remove unnecessary items from classrooms and other learning environments.
We will remove soft furnishings, soft toys and toys that are hard to clean (such as those with intricate parts)
We will have a deep clean every single evening with professional cleaners, as well as regularly cleaning throughout the day.
We have organised for an additional cleaner to be present at the nursery to help with door handle and toilet cleaning from 8:30am to 6pm. This is on top of the normal cleaning team which will perform a deep clean every single evening.
The decision to reopen
As well as the risk assessment and the specific actions we are putting into place above, we are also taking the following factors into consideration as we decide to reopen:
• We have a high degree of confidence that the severity of Covid-19 is lower in children than in adults.
• It is possible that young children are less susceptible to infection compared to adults, however it is certain that young children are not more susceptible to infection compared to adults
• The Director of the Local Authority Public Health team advised us that there is evidence that people with no symptoms are less contagious than infected people with symptoms (who are excluded from the nursery)
• There is no evidence to suggest that children are “super spreaders”, unlike the case for other diseases
• Keeping children at home to reduce the risk of Covid-19 comes at a high price for the development and social development of children. Children benefit from mixing with other children and making friends.