Infection control for nurseries rgarding coronavirus / COVID-19

Washing handsHow do I know if someone has the symptoms?

High temperature/fever and/or a new persistent cough.

What are the rules for self-isolating?

Anyone with symptoms should stay at home for at least seven days. If they live with other people, they should all stay at home for at least 14 days, to avoid spreading the infection outside the home. 

After 14 days, anyone they live with who does not have symptoms can return to their normal routine.

What should I do if I suspect a child or member of staff has COVID-19 but it’s not been confirmed?

If the child or staff member is displaying the symtoms as above, they should be sent home to self-isolate for seven days and their whole household should isolate for 14 days. If it is a positive result, your local public health protection team will contact your setting and advise on what precautions you should take.

What do I do while I wait for a child to be collected?

If a child is awaiting collection, they should be moved, if possible and if appropriate, to a room where they can be isolated behind a closed door.

Settings should be mindful of individual children’s needs – for example, it would not be appropriate for younger children to be alone without adult supervision. Ideally, a window should be opened for ventilation. If it is not possible to isolate them, move them to an area which is at least two metres away from other people. If they need to go to the bathroom while waiting to be collected, they should use a separate bathroom if possible.

What should I do if a child or staff member becomes unwell at nursery and has reason to believe they may have COVID-19?

If the child or staff member is displaying the symtoms as above, they should be sent home to self-isolate for seven days and follow the above procedure.

They should not go to their GP surgery or hospital. While waiting for someone to pick them up, try to find somewhere isolated for them to wait or somewhere which is at least two metres away from other people. Ask them to try not to touch any surfaces and to cough or sneeze into a tissue should they need to. You will need to clean the room after they have left. If they need to use the bathroom, try to send them to a separate toilet and clean it afterwards.  

What do I do to clean the nursery afterwards?

The bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected using standard cleaning products before being used by anyone else. If a member of staff has helped someone who was taken unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, they do not need to go home unless they develop symptoms themselves. They should wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after any contact with someone who is unwell.

What can we do to prevent the spread of the virus?

Good hygiene and handwashing is essential and very important in nurseries anyway. See our tips on encouraging children to wash their hands thoroughly.

There is an excellent BBC video that shows you how you should be washing your hands each time. You can also ring the Department for Education Helpline for general hygiene advice. 

How long must I close my nursery for in case a child or member of staff is confirmed as contacting COVID-19?

Currently those in self-isolation must isolate themselves for seven days. There has not been any advice given as to when or in what circumstances any business would have to shut as a result of COVID-19. You do NOT need to notify Ofsted if someone is self-isolating but if a child or staff member has a positive test, you must notify Ofsted. 

I work with special needs children who spit in my face, how can I protect myself?

Our best advice is to contacthe the Department for Education helpline and explain your particular circumstances. We have been saying to try to keep yourselves and the nursery as clean as possible. We can’t recommend wearing masks etc.

What if one of my nursery children is returning from one of the listed countries and wants to come back to nursery?

It no longer matters where people have travelled to and from, if they display the following symptoms, they must self-isolate for a period of 7 days: High temperature / fever, new persistent cough, if a parent is self-isolating, the whole household will also need to isolate which means that the child cannot come to nursery for 14 days possibly longer if the parent's symptoms become full blown Coronavirus.

If a child at nursery starts to demonstrate symptoms, the nursery should send them home immediately.

So, even a child who is teething and displaying some of the same symptoms (fever), just to be on the safe side, they should be sent home for 7 days. If the symptoms do not develop further by the end of this period, they can come back to nursery.

See all coronavirus support  

Disclaimer:  Any information above from our legal helpline is provided for general guidance regarding rights and responsibilities.  This should not be treated as formal legal advice and no lawyer-client relationship has been created. Our legal helpline makes every reasonable effort to ensure this information is accurate at the time of publication but laws may have since changed.