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Update after yesterday's government guidelines.
As I'm sure you appreciate we are doing all we can to protect the children and staff in the fight against the coronavirus. Evidence leads us to believe children contract a less severe form but that they are carriers of the disease. Also this is a virus we know little about and therefore we cannot be certain regarding mutation, effects, incubation periods. We know we can't stop the spread - at the nursery we are trying to ensure that we can stay open and offer care to our children until instructed otherwise.
We are implementing the following with immediate effect:
Please do not send child/children to nursery if they have a temperature of 37.8 or above. If a child develops a high temperature whilst in our care we will contact you immediately for you to organise your child to be collected. We will desist from our practice of giving children Calpol, with your permission, as this could mask underlying conditions. We will keep children comforted and with a cold compress until your arrival. We will have Calpol available for you to give to your child so they are comfortable for the journey home. You will need to follow the advice of medical professionals when your child is in your care. We would urge you to act in the best interest of the wider public at this time with regard to quarantine.
Please do not send your child to nursery with a persistent or new cough. Again we are not in a position to give medical advice, you must act on the advice of a medical professional.
Colds are abounding at the nursery! It is part of nursery life. Therefore I believe children displaying only a runny nose, without the other symptoms above, are welcome to attend.
We are charting unknown territory at this time and I believe we are in for a rocky journey over the coming weeks. We are a community at the nursery and must support each other to face the challenges which lie ahead and work towards the common goal of minimising the effects of this pandemic.
I am available to contact by direct email - firstname.lastname@example.org should you wish a personalised response to your concerns.
Please note from today all recent letters and current information and updates will be available on our website.
Advice sheet for parents
These are unprecedented times. Information is changing rapidly and we are working hard to keep abreast of new guidance and policies. Be assured our 'in house' procedures regarding health and hygiene are exemplary. We are completing regular checks on the efficiency of the systems in place. We appreciate your support too.
NB the information below, may, as the situation unfolds be subject to change.
Please see below details of the virus and it's effects on children:
What Is the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
At the end of 2019, a new type of coronavirus began making people sick with flu-like symptoms. The illness is called coronavirus disease-19 — COVID-19 for short. The first cases were diagnosed in people who had visited a market in China that sold live seafood and animals. The virus spreads easily and has now affected people in many countries.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
COVID-19 causes a fever, cough, and trouble breathing. Symptoms are a bit like those people have with a cold or the flu. The virus can be more serious in some people, and may lead to illnesses like pneumonia.
How Does Coronavirus (COVID-19) Spread?
Experts are still investigating how COVID-19 spreads. In general, coronaviruses spread through droplets sent into the air when people cough or sneeze. The virus can spread in communities from one person to another, and through contact with surfaces that have germs on them. Research indicates this particular virus can live up to 72 hours on a hard surface.
Is the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dangerous to Children?
Experts are still learning about COVID-19, so we don't have a lot of information about it yet. There are far fewer cases of the virus reported in children. Most of them caught the infection from someone they lived with or a family member. The virus seems to cause a milder infection in children than in adults or older people.
Call your doctor if your child starts to display symptoms if they have been near someone with COVID-19 or lived in or traveled to an area where lots of people have the coronavirus.
How Is Coronavirus (COVID-19) Treated?
Most people with COVID-19, including children, do not have serious problems. They usually get better with rest and fluids. But it is important to keep children with COVID-19 away from others who may have a harder time with the virus.
People who are very ill get care in a hospital with breathing help, IV fluids, and other treatments.
How Can I Protect Myself From Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
As with other viruses, the best ways to protect yourself and your family are:
- Avoid people who are sick. Since COVID-19 may be highly contagious before a person has any symptoms, avoid large gatherings and busy places until the outbreak is under control. We would suggest avoiding soft play centres, leisure centres, cinemas, theatres etc. Walks and being outdoors is great but if you want to use the park take antibacterial wipes with you.
- Try to stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) away from someone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Wash your hands well and often. Wash for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Teach your children to do the same. We are talking about this a great deal with the children.
- Try not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Use a germicidal household cleaner or wipe to clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that people touch a lot. Bleach, kept locked away from children is excellent for cleaning surfaces, toilets, door handles etc.
Antibiotics can't treat viruses so they won't help with the coronavirus. Medicines for the flu don't work either because the coronavirus is different from the flu virus.
Talking to children about the virus
- Don't be afraid to discuss the coronavirus. Most children will have already heard about the virus or seen people wearing face masks, so parents shouldn't avoid talking about it. Not talking about something can actually make children worry more. Look at the conversation as an opportunity to convey the facts and set the emotional tone. Your goal is to help your children feel informed and get fact-based information that is likely more reassuring than whatever they're hearing from their friends or on the news.
- Be developmentally appropriate. Don't volunteer too much information, as this may be overwhelming. Instead, try to answer your child's questions. Do your best to answer honestly and clearly. It's okay if you can't answer everything; being available to your child is what matters.
- Take your cues from your child. Invite your child to tell you anything they may have heard about the coronavirus, and how they feel. Give them ample opportunity to ask questions. You want to be prepared to answer (but not prompt) questions. Your goal is to avoid encouraging frightening fantasies.
- Deal with your own anxiety. If you notice that you are feeling anxious, take some time to calm down before trying to have a conversation or answer your child's questions. These are very worrying times and it is understandable to be afraid and cautious.
- Be reassuring. Children are very egocentric, so hearing about the coronavirus on the news may be enough to make them seriously worry that they'll catch it. It's helpful to reassure your child that children get a very mild form and they will get better.
- Focus on what you're doing to stay safe. An important way to reassure kids is to emphasize the safety precautions that you are taking. Children feel empowered when they know what to do to keep themselves safe. Talk to them about the importance of thoroughly washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds (or the length of two "Happy Birthday" songs) when they come into home from outside, before they eat, and after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing or using the bathroom. If children see people wearing face masks, explain that those people are being extra cautious.
- Stick to routine. Children - and adults too - don't like uncertainty, so staying rooted in routines and predictability is going to be good right now. Structured days with regular mealtimes and bedtimes are an essential part of keeping kids happy and healthy.
- Keep talking. Tell kids that you will continue to keep them updated as you learn more.
Specific nursery policies and procedures
In house procedures if your child becomes ill at the nursery
If a child is awaiting collection, they will be moved to the staff room which is being made into a temporary "sick room."
This room has been set up to ensure the children feel safe and comfortable whilst waiting for parents. Water to sip, a book to read and lots of TLC will , of course, be available.
If they need to go to the bathroom/have a nappy changed while waiting to be collected, they will use a separate toilet. This toilet will be deep cleaned and disinfected using standard cleaning products before being used by anyone else.
Protective clothing will be available for the member of staff caring for the child.
We will have available cold packs to keep down the child's temperature. There will be medication available for you to give your child on arrival at nursery before your journey home.
After the child is collected they"sick room" will be deep cleaned as per the in house instruction sheet.
Illness at home:
Please do not bring children into the nursery if they have a fever. We would ask you to keep children at home in isolation for 14 days.
We will not dispense any analgesics at this time - such as nurofen or Calpol. Our decision regarding this is that we do not want to "masks" one of the main symptoms
of the virus.
I realise this may cause some parents concern as we usually work in cooperation with you regarding this but at this time I feel it is important that I look at the well being of the majority of children in our care and the staff too.
The following temporary changes are being made to try to protect the children and staff from cross infection. They may appear draconian but please know we are doing our best to think ahead and do all we can.
- Pre prep and the main nursery are to now operate separately. Staff and children are not to enter each other's area.
The reason for this is that if the virus was to hit one of the buildings and the Department of Education tell us to close, even for a short time, we can at least operate, albeit not ideal, in the other building.
There will be exceptions, of course, but these cross overs will need to authorised.
- Parents to wait at group room door for their children to be handed over to them and not enter the group rooms.
- Staff rooms are out of bounds as these are areas where staff gather and are in close proximity to each other. This is to try to minimise cross infection.
- No toys are to be shared between rooms.
- Staff are being encouraged to use the telephone system and not visit group rooms or the office.
- Hygiene checks, using aprons, gloves and mask are to be made each morning by the designated managers.
- Parents not allowed past the pre prep foyer. A bell has been fitted which can be rung to gain attention and children will be sent out to parents.
- Visits off site discontinued. Unless it's for a walk or for time in the fresh fresh air. If using the park take antibacterial wipes.
- No taxis to be used at present for visits to Dumbles. These could be being used by ill people visiting the doctors surgeries/hospitals.
- No group meetings - we will be using conference call facilities. All evening meeting and open days are cancelled until further notice.
- Kimbles sessions are cancelled for the next few weeks as resources are used which we cannot be assured are clean to our standards and the leader of the group would not only move between rooms in our setting but visits other nurseries and leisure centres offering Kimbles.
Soccer Tots to continue to be held outside.
- Show rounds/visits to be discontinued at the present time.
- Clearly our previous guidelines are still to be followed such as using hand gel on arrival etc.
- Any parent in a front line profession who is required to work extra sessions at this time is assured that we can support your child care needs at the nursery. Please contact us for help.
Personally, I'm working remotely at this time as I have Lyme Disease which puts me in a very vulnerable category. I've visited the doctor yesterday for blood tests and will keep you updated. I am constantly in contact with the nursery and am planning and responding to all guidelines re the virus. Please be assured my emphasis is on ensuring strategies are in place to protect the nursery community.