COVID-19 safe operation procedures
The following policy sets out how Nipperbout will ensure safe operating procedures in response the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This policy applies to the Nipperbout office, warehouse and all Nipperbout operated settings. These procedures should be carefully followed by all Nipperbout employees.
This policy contains the following information:
1. Policy overview
1.1. Nipperbout is a business which operates across the United Kingdom (including Northern Ireland) and Europe (including Ireland). Visitors to our settings come from across the globe as many of our events are international. In light of our global connections, Nipperbout’s company wide COVID-19 policy has been based on the guidance provided by the World Health Organisation. In addition to these measure Nipperbout will ensure each of our settings adhere to the local guidance, regulations and legislation pertaining to the city and country the setting is operating in.
1.2. Where Nipperbout is providing a service at an event, we will also incorporate the rules and procedures set out by the client or event organiser into our own practice.
1.3. Nipperbout will continue to update this policy in line with the latest Government guidance, regulation and legislation.
1.4. This procedure has been developed in accordance with guidance from Public Health England (PHE), the NHS, OFSTED, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the ESSA All Secure Standard.
1.5. COVID-19 is a disease caused by SARS-CoV-2. It has a number of commonly occurring symptoms including a dry cough, fever and fatigue. COVID-19 can be contracted by anyone of any age, with older and medically vulnerable people being more at risk.
1.6. There is currently no cure for COVID-19 but a number of vaccines are now available in the UK and other countries, and precautions can be taken to help reduce transmission.
1.7. Nipperbout has implemented additional cleaning procedures in our warehouse and settings to reduce the transmission of the virus via our equipment.
1.8. Nipperbout employees are required to take a Rapid Lateral Flow test prior to and while working with us.
1.9. Nipperbout has implemented temperature checks for anyone entering a crèche (indoor) setting.
1.10. Nipperbout will provide hand sanitiser in all settings and hand washing facilities wherever possible.
1.11. Signage will be displayed in our settings providing information about COVID-19 symptoms, to remind the public about behaviours which reduce transmission of the virus and providing NHS contact numbers.
2. COVID-19 (Coronavirus) information
The following information has been sourced from the WHO website (www.who.org).
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is the disease caused by the coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
- The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are a fever, dry cough and fatigue.
- Other symptoms include loss of smell, loss of taste, nasal congestion, headaches, conjunctivitis, sore throat, muscle or joint pain, skin rash, nausea or vomiting, diarrhoea, chills or dizziness.
- Severe symptoms can include shortness of breath, loss of appetite, confusion, persistent pain or pressure in the chest and high temperature (above 38°C).
- Some people who contract COVID-19 experience long term effects from the disease such as fatigue or respirator symptoms. This is commonly referred to as ‘long COVID’
How does COVID-19 spread?
- COVID-19 is spread from an infected person’s mouth or nose in small liquid particles when they cough, sneeze, speak, sing or breath. These particles range from larger respiratory droplets to smaller aerosols.
- Current evidence suggests the virus mainly spreads between people who are in close contact with each other.
- A person can be infected when aerosols or droplets containing the virus are inhaled or come directly into contact withe the eyes, nose or mouth.
- The virus can also spread in poorly ventilated and/or crowded indoor settings where people spend longer periods of time, this is because aerosols remain suspended in the air or travel farther than one meter.
- People may also become infected by touching surfaces that have been contaminated by the virus when touching their eyes, nose or mouth without cleaning their hands
- It is important to remember that infected people can be contagious and the virus can spread from them to other people whether or not they have symptoms.
- Data suggest that infected people appear to be most infectious just before they develop symptoms (namely 2 days before) and earlier in their illness. People who develop severe disease can be infectious longer
Who is most at risk from COVID-19?
- Anyone, of any age, can can get sick with COVID-19 and become seriously ill or die.
- About 80% of people who contract COVID-19 will recover from the disease without hospital treatment. About 15% will become seriously ill and about 5% will become critically ill and need intensive care. Some of whom may die.
- People most at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 are those aged 60 years and over, and those who have an underlying medical problem.
How can the spread of COVID-19 be slowed or prevented?
- There are now a number of vaccines available in the UK and other countries however there is currently no cure for COVID-19 and self-medication with medicines is not recommended by the WHO for prevention or cure.
- The following precautions can reduce the risk of transmission and keep people safe:
Physical (‘social’) distance; Wearing masks; Keeping rooms well ventilated; Avoiding crowds and close contact; Regular hand washing; Coughing into a bent elbow or tissue; Cleaning and disinfecting ‘high-touch’ surfaces (such as handles, food prep areas, bathroom surfaces, toilets and taps, touchscreen devices and computer keyboards); Wherever possible, taking a test if you are experiencing symptoms or have been in close contact with the virus
How can we test for COVID-19?
There are two types of commonly used tests for COVID-19:
Polumerase chain reaction (PCR)
This test can confirm an active infection, usually within a few days of exposure and around the time that symptoms may begin.
Rapid antigen test (the NHS Rapid Lateral Flow test in the UK)
This test offers results more quickly but is generally less accurate than a PCR test. This test performs best when sampled from an individual during the time they are most infectious.
The UK Government guidance ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): getting tested’ states that ‘anyone with symptoms can get a COVID-19 test, whatever their age’. The NHS website recommends a rapid lateral flow test is taken ‘twice a week (every 3 to 4 days)’.
It is still possible to contract COVID-19 even if you have been vaccinated and the NHS website (www.nhs.uk) is clear that ‘even if you’re vaccinated, there’s still a chance you can pass COVID-19 on, so you should keep getting tested regularly’.
Incubation periods, isolation and quarantine
From the time of exposure to COVID-19 to the moment symptoms begin is, on average, 5-6 days, but can range from 1 to 14 days. The WHO advise that is you have symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 you should contact your health care provider to book a test and stay home for 14 days.
While a person is waiting for test results, they should remain isolated from others. The WHO provides a definition for quarantine and isolation, clearly explaining the difference. In summary,
- Quarantine is used for anyone who has had contact with someone who is infected with COVID-19 (regardless of symptoms). It is recommended quarantine takes place for 14 days.
- Isolation is used for people with COVID-19 symptoms or who have tested positive for the virus. If you have symptoms, you should remain in isolation for at least 10 days plus an additional 3 days without symptoms. If you are infected and do not have symptoms, you should remain in isolation for 10 days from the time you test positive.
3. Safe planning and preparation for all settings
The following procedures are carried out for all Nipperbout settings.
- All Nipperbout equipment is cleaned prior to being stored and further wiped and sanitised prior to use. Surfaces are also cleaned at the close of activities.
- Smaller items used by infants are cleaned at the end of each session.
- Hand sanitiser will be made available in all our settings.
- Running water for hand washing is available in our offices and warehouse. Nipperbout requires toilet facilities and water to be available within a 2 minute walking distance from any setting in which we are operating.
- Wherever possible Nipperbout will supply a portable sink to enable quick access to water and encourage regular hand washing within our settings.
- Nipperbout’s Purple People and Operations Crew are required to conduct a Rapid Lateral Flow test within 48 hours before starting work and send us a copy of their NHS test results confirmation e-mail.
- Where Purple People or Operations Crew are working continuously with Nipperbout for longer than 3 days, they will be required to take a second Rapid Lateral Flow test on the 4th day of work and subsequently every 3 to 4 days thereafter until their employment ceases.
- All employees working in Nipperbout’s offices and warehouse are required to conduct a minimum of two Rapid Lateral Flow tests per week and send us a copy of their NHS test results confirmation e-mail.
- Employees may not begin a shift if they receive a positive result on their Rapid Lateral Flow test. Anyone receiving a positive result should notify the NHS immediately and follow their instructions with regard to self-isolation and seeking medical attention.
- Rapid Lateral Flow tests can be supplied by Nipperbout or can be ordered from the government website (https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests).
- Medical face masks and visor shields are made available to all employees who wish to wear one.
- COVID-19 vaccinations are now available for all adults over the age of 18. These can be booked via the NHS website (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/). Nipperbout acknowledges that vaccination is a personal choice and welcomes all employees back to work, regardless of their vaccination status.
- We encourage all employees to maintain a minimum of one meter distance wherever possible.
- Wherever possible, windows or doors should be left ajar to allow fresh air to flow through the working environment.
- We encourage employees to wash hands regularly and to remind anyone using our settings to do so too.
- We encourage employees to cough or sneeze into a tissue or crook of the elbow and to remind anyone one using our settings to do so too.
- The Nipperbout Event Manager will be responsible for continuing to monitor the control measures put in place and update, amend or change any measures as required. These changes/amends must be logged on the Working Job Log.
- Nipperbout’s usual procedures are to operate at a space capacity of 3.7m² per child. We will continue to employ this measure in all our settings. In Edutainment (stay & play) settings, the measure is understood to be 3.7m² per visitor. Purple People are not counted in the maximum capacity number. The Event Notes document will state the size of the room / marquee / field in square meters and list the maximum number of children/visitors allowed in at any one time.
- At an Edutainment service event, such as a festival, Purple People must keep an eye on the number of visitors entering the settings and stop people from entering the area when the maximum capacity is reached. The Nipperbout ticketing system (see Queue Management policy) can be used at busy times.
4. Onsite operating procedures
Nipperbout’s services can be broadly split into two sections:
- Event Childcare is where parents leave children in the assigned care of Nipperbout. These services are normally run indoors, for example in a conference centre or hotel.
- Our Edutainment services are where Nipperbout supervises play and activities for all the family. These settings are normally run outdoors, for example at a family festival.
In order to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in each of our settings, Nipperbout has introduced the following additional procedures.
1. Event childcare services (usually indoor settings)
- A one way system will be in operation for parents dropping off and collecting their children.
One meter guides will be placed on the floor to encourage physical distancing while families wait in the registration queue.
- Nipperbout will liaise with the client to arrange staggered access times for families, wherever possible.
- A ‘signs and symptoms of COVID-19’ poster will be displayed in the registration area as a reminder for all visitors.
- We will take a temperature check from children entering the setting, each time they are signed in. A temperature check will also be taken from any visitors entering the setting.
- Parents and children will be asked to verbally confirm they, or anyone in their household, have not recently and are not currently experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, have not been contacted by the NHS and asked to isolate and are compliant with the latest travel legislation.
- In addition to medical face masks, visors shields will be made available to Purple People operating the reception desk. We recommend these are worn when signing children in and out of the setting, as this has been identified as an area of increased contact.
- Clear signage will be displayed throughout the setting, reminding people to physically distance and hand wash.
- Nipperbout’s regular procedures already include regular hand washing after activities, outings and before/after meals.
- When taking groups of children to the toilet, Purple People should communicate clearly with other Purple People, including those in other age groups or rooms, to ensure only one group uses the toilets at a time. This will reduce the likelihood of over crowding in the toilet area. Ensure the toilets are kept clean between visits as lavatories are a ‘high-touch point’.
- The Nipperbout Event Manager should ensure the onsite emergency evacuation plan and chosen evacuation route considers the risk of transmitting or contracting COVID-19. For example, does the route pass through enclosed or crowded areas? This should be added to the risk assessment document.
- In line with the latest guidance for schools and nurseries, Nipperbout will not be operating the ‘bubble’ system inside our settings, masks are a personal choice and children will not be required to take a Rapid Lateral Flow test prior to admission (unless displaying symptoms).
- Where Nipperbout is operating an Ofsted registered setting, we will notify Ofsted of any confirmed COVID-19 cases within the setting, be they children or staff. Reporting to Ofsted must be done within 14 days.
2. Edutainment services (usually outdoor settings)
- Wherever possible, Nipperbout will set up and space out activities with consideration of physical distancing. This includes activities such as arts & crafts where many people may want to work from a table/station at the same time.
- Where activities require a queue (e.g. Facepainting), Nipperbout will operate a ticket system to enable visitors to book a time slot and/or provide a clear queuing system with one meter physical distance markers.
- Signage will be displayed reminding visitors to physically distance and wash hands regularly.
- Signage will be displayed notifying visitors of the maximum capacity of the marquee / field at any one time and explaining that they may be asked to wait outside the area during busy periods.
- Nipperbout does not require visitors to be temperature checked nor take a Rapid Lateral Flow test for admission to our outdoor settings.
- Nipperbout will be guided by the COVID-19 procedures of the event/client for which we are operating.
5. Contact with or suspected contact with COVID-19
The following procedure outlines what action to take when
- someone is displaying COVID-19 symptoms
- someone comes into contact with COVID-19
Wherever reference is made to a Rapid Lateral Flow test, Nipperbout will also accept test results from a PCR test where taken within the same timeframe. In line with Government guidance, a negative PCR test, taken within 2 days of a positive Rapid Lateral Flow test, will override the Rapid Lateral Flow test and the person can return to the setting (as long as they do not have symptoms).
What to do if someone entering the setting has a high temperature?
- Nipperbout will conduct temperature checks in crèche settings only. We will not test the temperature of visitors to our supervised outdoor play settings.
- Normal body temperature for a child is about 36.4°C. A temperature is considered ‘high’ if the reading is 38°C or over. A temperature over 104°C is considered dangerous and must be referred to medical services.
- Be mindful of the weather and environment. If it is a hot day or someone has just been running, their temperature is likely to be higher than normal. In this case, allow the person some time to cool down and take a second reading.
- If a reading continues to be high, the individual will not be permitted entry to the Nipperbout setting.
- Depending on the temperature reading, Purple People should offer advice to the family for taking a COVID-19 test, contacting the NHS and/or seeking medical assistance.
- When preventing someone from entering a Nipperbout setting, Purple People should acknowledge the feelings of the individual and their family/companions. This message can be upsetting and frustrating to hear as it will likely effect their plans for the day.
- An individual may be re-admitted after taking a Rapid Lateral Flow test and receiving a negative result. Nipperbout requires evidence of this test result in the form of an NHS confirmation text or email.
What to do if someone entering the setting is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or tells us they have recently experienced symptoms of COVID-19?
- If someone wishing to enter the setting is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or tells you they have experienced symptoms in the last 5 days, stop them from entering and request they take a Rapid Lateral Flow test first (Nipperbout can supply these).
- If the result of their Rapid Lateral Flow test is negative, they may be permitted entry to the Nipperbout setting. The negative result must be provided to Nipperbout in the form of an NHS confirmation text or e-mail. Purple People must a note of the test and the result on the Working Job Log.
- If the result of their Rapid Lateral Flow test is positive, ask the person to leave the area and contact the NHS for advice and medical assistance.
- Purple People should take any necessary precautions such as wiping down surfaced the infected individual may have touched and notify anyone who came into contact with them. Ensure this is done discretely and respectfully so as not to make the individual feel victimised.
- The Nipperbout Manager must notify the client and log the positive result on the Working Job Log.
- At outdoor settings where Nipperbout is supervising activities, Purple People should politely remind customers to cough/sneeze into a tissue, wash their hands regularly and maintain physical distance. Nipperbout will not remove or ban families from entering our outdoor play areas.
What to do if someone entering the setting tells us they have been contacted by the NHS and/or believe they have recently been in contact with COVID-19?
- If an individual admits they (or their child) has been contacted by the NHS or believes they (or their child) have recently been in contact with COVID-19, the individual (or their child) should not be admitted into the setting.
- Depending on the information given, Purple People may:
1) ask the person to leave the area, contact the NHS and follow any advice given to them by the NHS regarding self-isolation.
2) request the person takes a PCR or Rapid Lateral Flow test
- If the individual can provide an NHS confirmation e-mail or text of their negative PCR or Rapid Lateral Flow test result, they may be permitted entry to the setting.
- From 16th August 2021, children under 18 years of age will not be asked to isolate by the NHS if that have been in close contact with a positive COVID-19 case. Instead the NHS will request they take a PCR test.
What to do if you are due to be working for Nipperbout and are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, are contacted by the NHS or believe you have recently been in contact with COVID-19?
- As soon as you experience symptoms of COVID-19 you must notify your Nipperbout Event Manager and the Nipperbout office. Stay at home, do not come in to work. Take a Rapid Lateral Flow test if you have access to one or contact the NHS to arrange a test. Follow the NHS advice with regards to testing, self-isolating and receiving medical attention. Make sure to update Nipperbout about any test results or advice given to you by the NHS.
- If you are contacted by the NHS to say you have been in contact with someone who is infected with COVID-19, follow the advice you are given regarding self-isolation. Contact the Nipperbout office immediately and let us know what advice you have been given.
- If you believe you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 or might have COVID-19 you should remain at home. Contact the NHS and follow their advice in regards to how long you should isolate. Ensure you notify Nipperbout about the advice you have been given.
- Where there is a conflict of advice between the NHS and the WHO, Nipperbout may ask employees to stay at home longer and/or take additional precautions. This may include asking employees to work from home until Nipperbout deems it safe for the individual to return to the office/warehouse.
What to do if a child in the setting starts displaying symptoms of COVID-19?
- Follow the normal Nipperbout procured for dealing with sickness and illness; isolate the child and contact the parent. In an emergency, call 999.
- Purple People supervising the child should maintain physical distance where possible and wear a face mask. Ensure the child is cared for and feels comfortable and safe.
- The child and the staff should avoid touching any equipment or surfaces as much as possible.
- When the parent arrives, take the child to the parent avoiding contact with any other staff or children and keeping away from any surfaces or equipment. Make sure the parent signs the child out of Nipperbout’s care in the usual manner.
- Request the child takes a Rapid Lateral Flow test and that the parent provides evidence of a negative test result before allowing the child to return to the crèche.
- Once the child has left the setting, wipe down any surfaces or equipment they and their parent may have touched. The Purple People dealing with the child should thoroughly wash their hands and dispose of any PPE they were using whilst tending to the child. Ensure this is done discretely and respectfully so as not to make the child feel victimised.
- The Purple People and the Nipperbout Event Manager should assess whether there is any further risk of transmission to the staff or children in the setting and take action accordingly.
- If the result of the child’s Rapid Lateral Flow test is negative, the child may be permitted re-entry to the Nipperbout setting. Purple People must make a note of the test result on the Working Job Log.
- If the result of their Rapid Lateral Flow test is positive, the child should not be re-admitted and the parent advised to contact the NHS for advice and medical assistance.
- If a negative result has not been provided by the time the Nipperbout setting is closed, Purple People must notify all families collecting their children from the crèche that someone in the setting is suspected of having COVID-19. Inform them that we will keep them updated as to whether the suspected case is confirmed positive or negative. Advise parents to watch for the development of any symptoms in their own children.
- The Nipperbout Event Manager should notify the client and the Nipperbout office that a child in the setting is suspected of having COVID-19. Both parties should be kept up-to-date about any test results and further cases.
- At outdoor settings where Nipperbout is supervising activities, Purple People should politely remind customers to cough/sneeze into a tissue, wash their hands regularly and maintain physical distance. Nipperbout will not remove or ban families from entering our outdoor play areas.
What to do if you are currently working for Nipperbout and start experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, are contacted by the NHS or believe you have come into contact with COVID-19?
- As soon as you experience symptoms of COVID-19 you must notify your Nipperbout Manager and the Nipperbout office.
- If you begin experiencing symptoms at home or in your accommodation, stay home or in your room and contact the NHS. Follow the NHS instructions for taking a test, self-isolating and seeking medical attention.
- Ensure you keep Nipperbout informed about your test results, any advice given by the NHS and when you expect to be able to return to work.
- If you begin experiencing symptoms whilst in a Nipperbout setting, isolate yourself from children and staff as best you can and notify your Nipperbout Event Manager. The Nipperbout Manager will be able to supply you with a Rapid Lateral Flow test. Take the test, away from other people and wait up to 30 minutes for the result. Take action as soon as you receive a positive result reading. You will need to remain isolated for the full 30 minutes before confirming a negative result.
- If the test result is positive, immediately leave the setting and return home or to your accommodation making as little contact with other people as possible. Make sure to notify your Nipperbout Manager before leaving. Contact the NHS and follow their instructions for taking a test, self-isolating and seeking medical attention.
- If the result is negative, notify your Nipperbout Manager. Together with the Nipperbout Manager and a trained First Aider, decide whether you are fit to continue working in the setting. Make a note of this decision on a Risk Assessment form.
- If after a negative test result, the decision is made that you are fit to continue working, you must take a daily Rapid Lateral Flow test for the duration of your employment with Nipperbout and continue to report the results to your Nipperbout Manager and the NHS. Daily Rapid Lateral Flow testing should be done for 5 consecutive days to ensure the result was not a false negative. If the event you are working last for less than 5 days, then you should continue to test after you have finished working with us until the 5th day is reached. You must continue to notify Nipperbout of your results. Alternatively, a PCR test can be taken once to confirm a negative result. We recommend isolating at home until you are confident you do not have COVID-19. If any of your tests produce a positive result, you must notify Nipperbout immediately.
How Nipperbout will track and trace
- Nipperbout keeps the contact details of all employees and clients, and for families using our Event Childcare (crèche) settings and well as any visitors to the crèche. We do not collect contact details for visitors to our Edutainment (stay & play) settings such as family festivals.
- Where an event has a ‘track and trace’ QR code, Nipperbout will ensure a copy of this is displayed in our area.
- All employees are required to notify Nipperbout immediately if they contract COVID-19 within 14 days after working at a Nipperbout setting. Employees must also notify Nipperbout immediately if they are contacted by the NHS to say they have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 within 10 days after working at a Nipperbout setting.
- Families using our settings are asked to notify Nipperbout immediately if anyone in their family contract COVID-19 within 14 days after attending a Nipperbout setting. We also ask families to notify Nipperbout immediately if they are contacted by the NHS to say they have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 within 10 days after attending a Nipperbout setting.
- Nipperbout asks clients to notify us immediately if they are informed that someone attending an event where Nipperbout was operating has contracted COVID-19. Nipperbout will ask for any available details about when the individual was in attendance, where they visited and who they were with to ensure a thorough track and trace can be conducted.
- In any of the above scenarios, Nipperbout will then notify the client of the event we were working at, all employees who were on duty and, wherever possible, the families of anyone who attended the setting at the same time as the infected or potentially infected person/s. Advice will be given to take a COVID-19 test and follow NHS guidance.
6. Taking children on outings
When operating full day care settings, Nipperbout will take children to visit local attractions for approximately 2 to 3 hours per day. The following procedure outlines how Purple People should risk assess and manage the prevention of COVID-19 while on an outing.
- Consider COVID-19 in the outings risk assessment. Think about the space, fresh air, hand washing facilities and how crowded it is likely to be. It is also important to consider the route to and from your chosen destination as this may take you through enclosed areas such as a shopping centre. Log these risks and the action taken to mitigate them on the outings risk assessment.
- The World Health Organisation identifies that confined, crowded environments are the highest risk for contracting COVID-19. Wherever possible select environments with open, outdoor space. Parks, playgrounds, the beach, museums with wide corridors/atriums, outdoor mini-golf are some examples of lower risk activities. Cinema’s and bowling alleys maybe be a higher risk environment depending on the venue layout and number of people attending.
- Remember to check the COVID-19 restrictions or regulations imposed by the venue or attraction you are visiting. Some venues such as cinema’s and public transport require all visitors to wear a face mask. Make sure everyone attending is aware of this and happy to comply.
- When planning indoor trips, ensure all staff, children and parents are fully informed about the chosen outing and its possible risks 24 hours before the proposed trip. This will allow people time to consider whether they are comfortable attending. When indoor trips are being offered, an alternative, outdoor trip (e.g. a walk/the park) should be made available for anyone who feels uncomfortable going to the chosen venue.
- Follow the ‘hands, face, space’ guidance to mitigate risks; wash hands regularly, use a face covering if preferred (optional), maintain space whenever possible. Be particularly mindful of queues. Is there an outdoor area where the group can wait while someone purchases the tickets? Hang back and allow members of the public to finish an activity before the Nipperbout group moves in for their turn.
- Encourage children to make use of any supplied cleaning or hand sanitising facilities before and after making contact with equipment. Purple People must supervisor the use of cleaning products.