These guidelines are intended to assist early years providers in implementing precautionary measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 disease in childcare settings. Providers should build on these considerations and guidelines to form Site Operating Procedures (SOP), suitable to their situation. These guidelines are based on Public Health England and the Department for Education guidance for educational settings and their key workers.


The fundamental principle of this guidance is to ensure physical distancing between identified groups and to implement good hygiene practices. The design of settings as relatively small communities for daycare on non-domestic premises and further subdivided rooms greatly assists our ability to create physical distance between groups and cluster children into specific cohorts or ‘bubbles’.

Area of consideration



  • Only children who are symptom-free or have completed the required isolation period should attend the setting.

  • We take the temperature of children on arrival and when they leave the nursery and will carry out a risk assessment with health questions for returning children.

  • Children all have to sanitise their hands on arrival and they are supervised by a team member.

Physical distancing/ grouping

  • Children are organised into small groups within their rooms in our settings. 

  • The toddlers and preschoolers are separated in their room including time in the garden.

  • Care routines including the provision of meals are carried out and served safely.  Children maintain a safe distance between themselves using all tables in each area. 

  • Both groups use separate toilets designated for preschool and toddlers,

  • Nappy changes are carried out safely by the child’s key worker or staff member from the same room.

  • The distancing of the sleeping area is facilitated for the toddlers. 


Wellbeing and education

  • Children are supported in age-appropriate ways to understand the steps they can take to keep themselves safe including regular hand washing and when sneezing to wipe their noses and place the tissue in the bin,  then wash their hands.

  • There are numerous posters and signs around the whole nursery where children can see pictures of what they should be doing which is reinforced by the staff

  • Children are supported to understand the changes and challenges they may be encountering as a result of Covid-19 and staff need to ensure they are aware of children’s attachments and their need for emotional support at this time.




  • Staff only attend the nursery if they are symptom-free, have completed the required isolation period or achieved a negative test result.

  • We also take the temperature of staff on arrival and will carry out a risk assessment when required for returning staff.

Physical distancing/ grouping

  • Wherever possible staff remain with the small group of children, the ‘bubble’ of children who they are allocated to and not come into contact with other groups.

  • Emergency revisions to the EYFS have been implemented which provides some flexibility on ratios and qualifications to make this feasible.

  • Social distancing is maintained during breaks to two members of staff at a time. 

  • Staff members avoid physical contact with each other including handshakes, hugs etc.

  • Our meetings and training sessions are conducted outside working hours when no children are present.


  • All staff members prior to reopening in September 2020 received appropriate instruction and training in infection control and the standard operating procedure and risk assessments within which they will be operating.


Physical distancing

  • Parents maintain social distancing when waiting outside and there are signs on the steps.

  • We aim to limit drop off and pick up to 1 parent per family.

  • No parents are currently allowed in the nursery for drop off and pick-ups at the nursery entrance to avoid parents entering the nursery unnecessarily unless they are required to do so.

  • We allow only one parent to enter the nursery for the purpose of settling in sessions if not doing so would cause child distress. 


  • Parents receive clear communication in the form of letters with our guidelines regarding the role parents play in the safe operating procedure and all measures being taken to ensure the safety of their children and themselves.



  • Attendance to the setting is restricted to children and staff as far as practically possible and visitors are not permitted to the nursery unless essential, or to aid in the children’s continued learning.

  • Show around for new parents are made by appointment only and are made outside of the usual nursery operational hours.


Travel associated with setting operations

  • Wherever possible staff and parents should travel to the nursery alone, using their own transport.

  • If public transport is necessary, current guidance on the use of public transport must be followed and adhered to.

  • Parents are encouraged to ensure they do not leave items such as buggies, car seats, scooters in the setting premises, but rather in our external buggy shed

Hygiene and Health & Safety

Hand Washing

  • All children and staff must wash their hands upon arrival at the nursery.

  • Children and staff members are encouraged to wash their hands frequently.


  • An enhanced cleaning schedule is implemented which includes furniture, surfaces and children’s toys and equipment is carried out as normal.

  • Communal areas, touchpoints and handwashing facilities are cleaned and sanitised regularly.

Waste disposal

  • All waste is disposed of in a hygienic and safe manner

  • Tissues are  immediately disposed of in bins within the nursery rooms 


  • All items within the setting requiring laundry are washed in-house daily.

  • Items such as towels, flannels and bedding are not shared by the children.

Risk assessment

  • All activity is risk assessed and due consideration has been given to any adaptations to usual practice. It includes, but not limited to, the suspension of learning experiences involving materials which are not easily washable such as malleable materials e.g Playdough.


  • Government guidance is that PPE is not required for general use in early years settings to protect against COVID- 19 transmission. PPE is worn as normal for nappy changing and the administration of first aid



  • Prior to reopening the setting, health and safety checks were carried out, a deep clean was done, the nursery was repainted and decorated and all toys and equipment were steam cleaned.

  • Items and equipment that cannot be easily cleaned or maintained were removed from the nursery eg: cushions and cuddly toys

  • The windows are opened daily to ensure ventilation


  • Children are told to not bring items (toys) from home into the setting unless absolutely essential for their wellbeing. Where this is the case items will be appropriately stored upon arrival

  • All resources used for play and learning experiences of the children are regularly sterilised

  • Equipment used by the staff such as the iIpads are allocated to the staff members in their own room and are cleaned regularly.


Procurement & monitoring

  • As a setting, we have an adequate supply of essential supplies. The setting will not be able to operate without essential supplies required for ensuring infection control

  • A monitoring system for the usage of PPE is done so to ensure that a supply of stock is available to all who require it.  When stocks are low, other options may be considered, such as the use of washable tabards. These items will be washed at a high temperature and separate to any other nursery washing.

  • The nursery uses an external food company who follow their own safety measures and we have procedures implemented to ensure that the food safety and hygiene processes are followed.

Responding to suspected cases


  • In the event of a child developing suspected coronavirus symptoms whilst attending the setting, we will contact the child’s parent to be collected as soon as possible and they will have to isolate at home in line with the NHS guidance

  • Whilst waiting for the child to be collected they will be isolated from others in a  room or area. Where  possible, a window will be opened for ventilation

  • The staff member responsible for the child during this time should be a staff member from their ‘bubble’. The provider will ensure suitable PPE for this staff member.

  • The area will be thoroughly cleaned immediately. The person responsible for cleaning the area will wear appropriate PPE

  • In the event of a staff member developing suspected coronavirus symptoms whilst working at the nursery, they will be asked to return home immediately and isolate at home in line with the NHS guidance