UCL Day Nursery


COVID Safe Operating Procedure

UCL Day Nursery have developed these Safe Operating Procedures based on guidance from the Department of Education and Public Health England specifically for Early Years.

On this page 

1. Introduction

It is important that everyone complies with the latest Government guidance on Coronavirus.

UCL Day Nursery have developed these Safe Operating Procedures based on guidance from the Department of Education and Public Health England specifically for Early Years. It is important that we adapt our everyday practices to ensure that we continue to offer the staff and children a safe environment. Hygiene and social distancing remain the two key elements of infection prevention and control. If any symptoms are displayed, families must be alert and self-isolate for the safety of everyone.

Covid-19 appears to affect young children less often and with less severity. Leadership is at the heart of this reopening and we will do everything we can to be honest, open and to communicate with you. There will be a lot of anxieties and we acknowledge that it is OK to feel worried and that COVID-19 and the lockdown has had an impact on everyone.

Everyone involved in the day-to-day running of the nurseries will receive appropriate instruction and training on how to operate under the terms of the Safe Operating Procedures.

There is always a risk when children come into a childcare setting but we are doing everything possible to minimise this risk. We are constantly updating our procedures to take account of any changes in government or local authority guidelines.

We aim to work in partnership with parents and trust that everyone understands and follows these Safe Operating Procedures.

The key principles of these procedures are:

  1. Any child, staff member, parent or visitor with coronavirus symptoms must not attend nursery and must isolate at home
  2. Increased cleaning processes are in place, throughout and at the end of the day. Including twice daily fogging throughout all rooms.
  3. Children and team members will be social distancing as far as possible.
  4. Each room/group will become a Bubble and there will be staff permanently allocated to that room/group to ensure continuity of staffing and children.
  5. Rooms/ groups will be in place inside and outside
  6. Parents will not come on site or visit the nursery rooms unless this is explicitly arranged with the Nursery Manager e.g. in the event of a child being distressed
  7. The process for settling in sessions will be managed away from the other children

2. Symptoms of coronavirus in children

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot, for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
  • a loss or change to sense of smell or taste – this means they cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

2.1 What to do if your child has symptoms

If your child has any of the main symptoms of coronavirus:

  • Get a test to check if they have coronavirus as soon as possible.
  • Stay at home and do not have visitors until you get the test result – only leave your home to have a test.
  • Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, must also stay at home until you get the result.


It is important that you seek medical advice if you are unsure.

Children are strictly prohibited attend nursery if they or a member of their family are unwell, for their own wellbeing and for the safety of others.

If anyone is experiencing any symptoms they cannot return to nursery until they have completed the required isolation period and be symptom free or have achieved a negative test result (proof will be required). Prompt exclusion is essential to preventing the spread of infection. Children and employees who are classed as clinically vulnerable should follow their medical advice before attending nursery.

It is important that your child only attends one setting/Nursery to avoid mixing with different groups of children. Please speak with the Nursery Manager if this is going to be a problem or to make them aware that this is the case.

3. Drop off and collection of children

We have some revised drop off and collection procedures in place and parents must observe the strict 2-metre social distancing from others, as well as staff where possible. Upon entry, parents and children must use the anti-bac provided. Staff will wear visors at all drop of and pick up times and when during any meetings.

Parents must wear face coverings or masks at all times when on Nursery premises or at drop-offs and pick up times  

Entry to the Baby Nursery by the usual front door and a one-way system is in place.  A staff member will be available upon entry to guide you. There are markings on the floor so you can remain apart whilst waiting to enter. You will be asked to drop your child off at their room and exit via allocated exit for your child’s room.

3.1 Pre-school drop-offs and pick-ups

  • Pre- School parents will not be permitted to enter the Nursery, you will be allocated an entrance and exit point at either 50 or 51 Gordon square a staff member will welcome you and support your child to come in and settle. We ask that only one family come down the stairs at any one time and that you adhere to Social distancing markers at all times.
  • Where we can, staff will try and remain 2 metres apart from parents, but of course, if we have to take children, especially the babies we will do so swiftly, but also sensitively as we recognise some children will find these changes difficult. We also recognise that these measures are very different from our usual approach, so parents will also need time to become familiar with this new normal.
  • Please be patient at drop off and collection as the team will only be able to support one family at a time so this will take a little longer, especially in the first week or so.
  • The main offices are now closed to visitors, therefore please contact the team via email, text or phone call if needed. You will be encouraged to contact your key person via phone or email again to minimise the contact between staff and families.

3.2 Temperature and symptom monitoring

Routine temperature testing is not recommended as a reliable method for identifying coronavirus. Parents and employees should follow the NHS guidelines and, in particular, evidence of a high temperature and/or new continuous cough.

3.3 Travel to nursery

It is better to travel by car, bike or walk. Face coverings have been advised by the Government for use on public transport. It is advised not to travel during peak times

3.4 Travel to foreign countries

Parents/carers and employees must inform the manager of any travel plans in or out of the country when there is at least one overnight stay. It is vital that you observe government advice in respect of self- isolation rules when returning from abroad. If the government has advised 14 days self -isolation, you will be required to pay fees for the time your child is absent.

4. Playrooms and groups

We will reduce the number of staff and children in each room to the following bubble groups.

Pre School

Mini Inventors

16 – 24 children

4 Staff

New Build

2 – 3 year olds

Mini Engineers

9 Children

3 Staff


Mini Philosophers

9 Children

3 Staff


Mini Researchers

9 Children

3 Staff

  • Each child will be allocated set adults to work with them, thus limiting the number of interactions they would have in normal circumstances considerably. Please note due to logistics this may not be your key person, however all staff know the children well and will continue with individual learning and planning as previously.
  • Each bubble group will have their own room and outdoor play space; this will be in either Baby unit or Pre-school. Sadly, although we love to integrate the children we have taken the decision to stop this for the time being.
  • Opening times have changed to 8.30 am -4 pm to enable us to ensure peak travel times are avoided and to undertake extra cleaning duties.

5. Mealtimes

  • As always, children will eat in their rooms.
  • The practitioners will serve the children.
  • No food will be eaten out of shared platters or containers.
  • Drinks will be offered with strict supervision to prevent cup sharing.

6. Employees

All employees will undergo a return-to-work induction and training on the new Safe Operating Procedures, with emphasis on good hygiene practices and maintaining social distancing.

7. Fire drills and lockdown practice

If we have to respond to a fire or emergency lockdown, we will continue to manage social distancing, as far as possible. The safety of the children and employees will always come first.

8. Wellbeing

We know that this is a very unusual and worrying time for everyone. It is very important that at the forefront of this heightened awareness of safe operating procedures, we do not forget that care and consideration must be taken of the need to ensure that everyone within the nursery community feels safe and secure. We will try our best to create a normal nursery environment and hope that you will bear with us.

We will be concentrating on fostering those secure attachments and, whilst we will be constantly observing and assessing the children, the children’s profiles will be in scrapbook format this year and not contain lengthy observations or learning stories, we will not be able to undertake lengthy handovers. We want our team to spend time with the children, playing and building their relationships. We would always speak with you immediately if we had any concerns. If your child is expressing any concerns or worries, it is important that you inform the key person/Nursery Manager.

9. Visitors

9.1 Settling in sessions/transitions

New parents may enter the nursery for the purpose of settling-in sessions, if not doing so would cause a child distress. The Manager will give further guidance on the day. It is important that social distancing continues to be maintained.

We will aim to organise groups of children who are due to transition so they can transition together in order to feel safe and secure and parents might prefer them to stay within a particular age group. The Nursery Manager will assist with this.

9.2 Visitors

Visitors to the nursery will not be encouraged unless it involves a safeguarding issue that cannot be resolved by telephone. Interviews or meetings will be conducted via videoconference. There will be no parents meetings for the time being, nor any other mass events such as pre-school graduations on the Nursery premises.

9.3 Nursery show-rounds

Nursery show rounds are paused until further notice. Prospective parents should make use of the nursery website for information relating to the ethos and organisation of the nursery   The Nursery Manager will be able to give you all the information you require.

9.4 Contractors

Any contractors to the nursery will be reminded of Public Health England guidance prior to entering the building.

10. Health, Hygiene and Safety

10.1 Reducing the spread of the virus

It is recognised that good hygiene and cleaning practices will significantly reduce the spread and transmission of the virus as well as everyone being alert to the symptoms. Doors and windows will be opened as much as possible..

10.2 Cleaning

An enhanced cleaning schedule will be implemented throughout and at the end of the day. Communal areas, door handles and shared facilities .g. iPads, must be regularly cleaned.

The rate of hand washing must be significantly increased. Everyone, including children, must wash their hands on arrival at nursery. If no washbasins are available, sanitiser will be available. There will be regular opportunities for hand washing throughout the day.

10.3 Use of tissues

The children will be supported in age-appropriate ways to understand the steps they can take to keep themselves and others safe and this includes sneezing into a tissue (or their arm if immediate) and then to dispose of the tissue.

10.4 Toileting

The children will be taken to the toilets and supervised. Hand washing signs will be displayed to ensure hand washing is thorough and the practitioners will talk to the children about why we are washing our hands.

10.5 Clothing

All employees and children should wear clean clothing every day. Staff will adhere to the nursery uniform policy; all uniform washed at nursery and kept on site at all times If you have travelled on public transport, it is advised that you change your clothing on arrival at nursery. Pre-School Children should bring one bag with changes of clothing to last their day of their weekly booking pattern and take it home with them at the end of the following week.

10.6 Risk assessments

All risk assessments will reflect the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Certain activities will be adapted or removed to reflect this risk e.g. going on trips using coaches.

10.7 Items from home

If your child requires a comforter e.g. soft toy or blanket, please bring it in a bag and then take you must take it home at the end of the day and wash it. We would prefer no toys or comforters to be brought into nursery but do understand that this could cause distress.

10.8 Resources at Nursery

Toys and resources that are difficult to clean will be removed, including cushions and soft toys. The children will only share toys and activities within their groups. We will aim to sanitise items at the end of each day.

11. Responding to a person displaying symptoms of COVID19

11.1 A child

  • If a child is suspected of displaying coronavirus symptoms whilst attending the nursery, they should be collected as soon as possible and isolate at home in line with NHS guidance. The child must be tested before they return.
  • Whilst waiting to be collected, they will be isolated from others in a designated area. An employee will stay with them and will wear PPE.
  • If the child becomes very unwell, we will follow our normal emergency procedures and call 999.
  • The isolation area will be deep cleaned once the child has been collected.

11.2  An employee who displays symptoms

In the event of an employee developing coronavirus symptoms whilst at work, they will leave work as soon as possible and isolate at home in line with NHS guidance. They will be required to have a test before they return.

11.3 PPE Equipment

Government guidance is that PPE is not required for general use in nurseries to protect against COVID-19 transmission. Hand washing, effective cleaning and social distancing are the most effective measures. Gloves and aprons will be used for nappy changing and first aid. Aprons will be worn at mealtimes

11.4 Reporting, testing and tracing

Everyone over the age of five, children, parents and members of their households, is now eligible for a COVID-19 test, should they display coronavirus symptoms.

Any suspected or confirmed case must be reported to the Nursery Manager as soon as possible. If a positive result is confirmed, the practitioners and children associated with that group/bubble must self-isolate for 14 days before returning to nursery. Positive tests will be reported to Public Health England and Ofsted by the Nursery Manager.

If there is reasonable evidence that a positive diagnosis was caused by exposure at work, this will be reported to RIDOR.

The Government’s tracing app is a way of helping to protect everyone.

12.Further guidance

Last updated: Monday, August 17, 2020

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