Controlling infection in your early years setting
Rigorous infection control measures
You, your staff and your families should be confident that your service has rigorous infection control measures in place such as:
- good basic hygiene practices such as regular hand-washing (practitioners and children)
- supervise young children to ensure they wash their hands for 20 seconds more often than usual with soap and water
- clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces more often than usual using your standard cleaning products
- waterproof dressing to cover on any existing wounds or lesions
- personal protective equipment (PPE) such as aprons and gloves are used as necessary
- clear procedures are in place for cleaning equipment and wider environment
- immediate cleaning of spillages of blood and other bodily fluids
- clear procedures on safe disposal of waste
- infection control guidance and management procedures in place which are clearly understood and adhered to by staff
- any items that come into contact with mouths such as cups, bottles and straws should not be shared.
Public Health England advises that children and staff should be encouraged to catch sneezes with a tissue, bin the tissue and wash their hands.
You should also remind children to wash their hands:
- after outside breaks
- before meals and snack times
- after using the toilet
- when they arrive at your setting
- at the end of the day before they go home.
If you do not have access to soap and water to hand at the time, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used instead. Look for products with minimum 60% alcohol. It is important that everyone should try not to touch their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Good ventilation can help reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus, so a focus on improving general air flow, preferably through fresh air or effective mechanical systems, can help to create a safer environment for staff and children.
It is important to ensure your setting is well ventilated and that a comfortable environment is maintained.
You should identify any poorly ventilated spaces as part of your risk assessment and take steps to improve fresh air flow in these areas, giving particular consideration when holding events where visitors such as parents are on site, for example for a show or play.
Where it is safe to do so, opening external windows can improve natural ventilation and, in addition, opening internal doors, can also assist with creating a throughput of air. If necessary, external opening doors may also be used (if they are not fire doors and where safe to do so).
Read the full government guidance here.
The Health and Safety Executive also provides guidance on ventilation and air conditioning during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The use of CO2 monitors
CO2 monitors are being rolled out to education settings to help identify areas of poor ventilation.
The DfE has published a guide to using CO2 monitors. You can download it from here.
Reporting an incident to Ofsted
Positive Covid cases no longer need to be reported to Ofsted.
Latest government advice and support
Infection prevention resources
- Alliance members can complete our FREE EduCare course Infection prevention and control in an early years setting and non-members can access for small cost.
- A copy of our publication Good Practice in Early Years Infection Control is available in our online shop.