Read our latest information and guidance regarding COVID-19. Useful information for Bolton early years and childcare providers.
Useful information relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) for the early years sector
The latest updates and changes to documents and guidance are listed at the top of the page.
Suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19
Please use the following guidance which details how educational and childcare settings should plan for and deal with emergencies, including significant public health incidents and severe weather. Emergency planning and response for education, childcare, and children’s social care settings - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Contacts are no longer required to self-isolate or advised to take daily tests, and contact tracing has ended
- As of 21 February 2022, you do not need to tell Ofsted if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 at your nursery, childminder business or other day care.https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tell-ofsted-if-you-have-a-covid-19-incident-at-your-childcare-business
- Actions for early years and childcare providers during the COVID-19 pandemic was withdrawn on the 1st April 2022 (use the Emergency planning and response guidance instead)
Please continue to report COVID-19 cases
Bolton Council’s Health Protection Team, who are continuing to work closely with settings to manage clusters and outbreaks and provide any advice or support.
Please reported any suspected or confirmed COVID 19 cases via the eForm: https://forms.office.com/r/5tKrxsXKtr, this will enable us to continue our surveillance of the cases within our communities.
Contact Bolton's Health Protection Team using the details below:
|Monday to Friday||8:30am - 5:30pm|
|Saturday||9:00am - 1:30pm|
Early Years Update (email)
Follow this link to view the regular early years provider update email.
For updates, click here.
Links to useful information and guidance documents
SEND and specialist settings: additional COVID-19 operational guidance
This is additional guidance for special schools, SPIs, and AP (including hospital schools). This includes public health advice, endorsed by UK Health Security Agency (UKSHA).
Bolton Council: Coronavirus: stay safe and help prevent the spread
Local information on coronaviurus and their contacts
Test and Trace: overarching privacy notice (summary version) GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
In exceptional circumstances, settings may be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help with identifying close contacts.
Education recovery support
This document provides a list of resources to help early years settings, schools and 16 to 19 education providers support children and young people’s wellbeing and education recovery.
Evidence summary: COVID-19 - children, young people and education settings.
DfE papers summarising evidence in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly around children, young people and education settings.
Living safely with respiratory infections, including COVID-19 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Guidance for living safely with respiratory infections, including coronavirus (COVID-19).
Next steps on managing excess LFD COVID-19 test kit stock - Message from Department of Health and Social Care
Following an announcement on 29 March 2022 that regular asymptomatic Covid-19 testing in all educational and childcare settings is no longer recommended, we advised that UKHSA would provide further advice on what settings should do with any excess Covid-19 testing equipment.
The following information outlines whether excess Covid-19 LFD stock you may be holding in your setting is suitable to be returned and what you should do with stock that is not suitable for return.
Excess Test Kit Stock – Suitable for Return
Following a pilot scheme to collect unused LFD kits from a selected number of schools, UKHSA is now rolling out this scheme to all education and childcare settings.
If you have 4 or more complete cartons of unopened LFD ATS test kits (for testing onsite) or LFD self-test kits (for testing at home), please contact UKHSA on Control@ukhsa.gov.uk to request a collection.
In your email, you should include your contact details and information about the type and quantity of stock you want to return. The UKHSA Logistics team will then aim to contact you within 72 hours of your email being sent. They will ask you some questions to ascertain whether your stock meets the required standard for collection and confirm the next steps.
A returnable carton is defined as:
- Having the original security seal in-tact and no damage to the original outer, brown or white carton.
- Containing only the contents included by the manufacturer.
- Being stored as per the manufacturer’s instructions, between 2 and 30 degrees.
- Having at least 3 months expiry life remaining on the LFD test kits.
There is a limited window in which to return test kits for alternative use and redistribution, and all requests for a collection must be submitted to the Control@ukhsa.gov.uk mailbox by Friday 10 June.
If you are unsure if your stock meets the requirements, please call 119 for advice and support.
PPE Equipment – suitable for re-use
Any excess PPE with a CE mark can be repurposed within your setting and used for daily activities that require PPE. You may also want to contact your Local Authority to see whether there are any local arrangements in place for re-utilising and re-distributing PPE supplies.
Expired Test Kit Stock
All tests have a manufacturer-determined shelf life and any tests that have reached expiration should not be used. Expired test kits should be disposed of through your normal municipal waste.
For expired kits, if there is more than one carton (i.e. more than 1260 ATS tests or 390 self-tests), you must inform your waste contractor that you are disposing of unused test kits. This is a requirement of the Duty of Care regulations, as part of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, to adequately describe your waste. Ideally remove the outer carton for recycling, but if this means that there is a risk that loose test kits could be accessed by unauthorised personnel, it may be better to dispose of the whole carton.
Test Kit Stock and Equipment – that doesn’t meet the requirements for return, re-use or disposal
You may still have smaller quantities of unused ATS or self-test kits left in your setting, as well as PCR test kits, which are not eligible to be returned. You may wish to retain this stock and note it in your contingency plans. DfE has published guidance on emergency planning and response for education and childcare settings below:
If you have any queries about the return or disposal of your Covid-19 testing equipment, please contact Control@ukhsa.gov.uk or call 119 for advice and support.
Health protection guidance update for education settings
Reminder - message from Public Health Bolton - Please find a summary below of the changes to the guidance on COVID-19 and other respiratory infections that has been released over recent days, plus information to share about scarlet fever:
- Universal guidance on ‘Staying safe’;
- What to do if you have symptoms of a respiratory infection, or test positive for COVID-19;
- Guidance for education settings on planning for and responding to outbreaks and incidents of infectious diseases;
- Scarlet fever.
As we learn to live safely with coronavirus (COVID-19), there are actions we can all take to help reduce the risk of catching COVID-19 and passing it on to others. These actions will also help to reduce the spread of other respiratory infections, such as flu, which can spread easily and may cause serious illness in some people.
There are simple things you can do in your daily life that will help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections and protect those at highest risk. Things you can choose to do are:
- Get vaccinated.
- Let fresh air in if meeting others indoors.
- Practise good hygiene:
- wash your hands
- cover your coughs and sneezes
- clean your surroundings frequently
- Wear a face covering or a face mask.
See the full guidance at: Living safely with respiratory infections, including COVID-19 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
What to do if you have symptoms of a respiratory infection including COVID-19, or a positive COVID-19 test
If you have symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as COVID-19, and you have a high temperature or you do not feel well enough to go to work or carry out normal activities, you are advised to try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people.
Symptoms of COVID-19, flu and common respiratory infections include:
- Continuous cough;
- High temperature, fever or chills;
- Loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell;
- Shortness of breath;
- Unexplained tiredness, lack of energy;
- Muscle aches or pains that are not due to exercise;
- Not wanting to eat or not feeling hungry;
- Headache that is unusual or longer lasting than usual;
- Sore throat, stuffy or runny nose;
- Diarrhoea, feeling sick or being sick.
If you have symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as COVID-19, and you have a high temperature or do not feel well enough to go to work or carry out normal activities, try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people, until you no longer have a high temperature (if you had one) or until you no longer feel unwell.
It is particularly important to avoid close contact with anyone who you know is at higher risk of becoming seriously unwell if they are infected with COVID-19 and other respiratory infections, especially those whose immune system means that they are at higher risk of serious illness, despite vaccination.
Try to work from home if you can. If you are unable to work from home, talk to your employer about options available to you.
Actions for adults aged over 18 with a positive COVID-19 test
Widespread testing is no longer available. Some people will continue to test due to workplace requirements or to manage risk to other people. Information about eligibility for free tests is available at Changes to testing for COVID-19 in England - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
If you do have a positive test result, you should try and stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 5 days after the day you took a test. You should also avoid meeting people who at higher risk of becoming seriously unwell from COVID-19 for 10 days after the day you took a test to make sure that you are no longer infectious.
Advice for children and young people aged 18 and younger
Respiratory infections are common in children and young people but we know they are at a lower risk from COVID-19 infection, compared to the wider harms of missed or disrupted education.
Given the importance of education, children and young people should continue to attend their nursery, school, college or university if they have mild respiratory symptoms. Only if they are unwell or have a high temperature should they stay at home. They should avoid contact with other people until they feel well enough or no longer have a temperature.
COVID-19 testing is no longer recommended for children and young people aged 18 years and younger unless directed by a health professional. If they do test positive for COVID-19 they should try and avoid contact with others for 3 days after the day they took a test. After 3 days, they can resume normal activities, including returning to education, provided they feel well and do not have a high temperature.
Find the full guidance at People with symptoms of a respiratory infection including COVID-19 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Guidance for education settings
Guidance on ‘Managing coronavirus (COVID-19) in education and childcare settings’ including Contingency Framework was withdrawn on 1st April. Emergency planning and response for education, childcare, and children’s social care settings - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) updated 1st April provides information on how educational and childcare settings should plan for and deal with emergencies, including significant public health incidents and severe weather.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has a practical guide for staff on managing cases of infectious diseases in education and childcare settings (Health protection in education and childcare settings - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) updated 5th April), which provides advice on:
- Preventing the spread of infections;
- How long to keep children away from school;
- Managing infectious diseases, and actions to take in the event of outbreak or incident;
- Cleaning the environment.
We are seeing increases in Bolton borough. It is not unusual to see increases in scarlet fever at this time of year, however whilst this is usually a mild illness, it can be serious if left untreated. It's highly contagious and mostly affects young children. It is easily treated with antibiotics.
The first signs of Scarlet Fever are flu-like symptoms such as:
- High temperature;
- Sore throat and swollen neck glands;
- A bumpy, rough feeling rash usually appears after 12 to 48 hours on the chest and tummy.
We're reminding parents of the symptoms following a rise in cases across the country. If you think your child is showing signs of Scarlet Fever it’s important to contact your local GP or NHS111. Stay away from nursery, school or work for 24 hours after taking the 1st dose of antibiotics.
Information to share with parents and families Scarlet fever: symptoms, diagnosis and treatment - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
Change to guidance for Childminders
Please find below, copy correspondence from the Early Years LA Delivery Team with regards to changes in guidance for childminders.
We are just writing to let you know of a change to guidance in relation to childminders which has been shared today via the daily sector email. Please see the details below:
From today, 17 March 2022, if someone in a childminder’s household has tested positive or has COVID-19 symptoms, childminders can continue to childmind at home. Childminders are advised to follow the steps below to reduce the risk of onward transmission.
- The person who has tested positive or has COVID-19 symptoms should avoid contact with the children being cared for in the setting.
- Where possible, use separate toilet and handwashing facilities. If this is not possible, maintain extra cleaning and hygiene routines, particularly after the person has used the facilities.
- Notify parents and carers of the children attending the setting, and any assistants, about the person who has tested positive or has COVID-19 symptoms, as soon as reasonably possible and maintain open communication with them throughout.
- Consider the need to reduce the spread of COVID-19 with mitigations such as ventilation and extra cleaning and hygiene routines. They should be applied where practical and safe to do so. Additional guidance is available in Coronavirus: how to stay safe and help prevent the spread.
- Comply with health and safety law by reviewing your risk assessment. The risk assessment must demonstrate that the provision of childcare in your setting is safe and how you will put into place any additional but proportionate measures
Childminders can also consider using alternative places to childmind such as other childminders’ houses, where possible.
Early Years LA Delivery Team
Support from representative organisations
Support for the sector is available through representative organisations, such as PACEY and EY Alliance. Both have COVID-19 webpages with FAQs for specific sectors that are answered by the Department for Education (DfE). The DfE also answer some additional questions from Childminders.
DfE - Additional Childminder questions and answers (updated 16th December 2021)
RP164 Childminders with a self-isolating household FAQ.pdf - Google Drive
Other dedicated group pages:
All of the group pages are linked to the main Bolton Start Well Facebook page who will share information that is relevant to the sector directly to the group pages.
Please note, the group pages are not continually monitored by Bolton Start Well, so if you have an urgent query, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 01204 338149.
Updated guidance has been published on the Council website to help anyone self-isolating. It has financial advice, support contact details, well-being tips and lists of essentials and other things to consider should anyone be required to self-isolate.
COVID-19 Self-Isolation Support – Bolton Council
Early Years Provider Business Planning and Support
Bolton Start Well regularly update the Business Planning and Support webpages which now include a section relating to COVID-19. You can access the homepage here.
COVID-19 vaccination leaflet
NHS Bolton have produced a COVID-19 vaccination leaflet which will help to dispel some myths and concerns about the vaccine. The leaflet also answers some of the most commonly asked questions.
The CCG intend to deliver a copy of the leaflet to every household in Bolton but prior to this, the electronic version is available here.
This is the link to the Governments guidance for the wider opening of early years and childcare settings
It is the responsibility of the Owner/Manager to compete a risk assessment and ensure that it is shared with all staff.
Communication with parents and carers is key and elements of the risk assessment shared with parents may reassure them in such uncertain times.
Please contact your health and safety provider for additional support.
COVID-19 Early Education and Childcare Support Pack - Last updated 09 09 2020
This document includes:
- General compliance checklist - this is a basic compliance checklist. This can be used to help you ensure that your building is safe to reoccupy. You may need to liaise with other competent persons when completing this form.
- Discussion template - could be used at a pre-meeting, when your setting is meeting to discuss opening the site or increasing the number of persons on-site. It poses questions relating to a setting environment and invites you to consider the plans you have in place; you can add or delete sections as needed.
- COVID-19 early years and childcare generic guidance based risk assessment - This is a generic guidance-based risk assessment. It provides lots of example control measures, but you will need to add or remove hazards and controls to make this document suitable for your own site.
This document is supplementary to the COVID-19 Early Education & Childcare Support Pack. It is important that employees (particularly those who have been identified as at increased risk from COVID 19 are individually risk assessed. This document is based on advice issued to the maintained schools sector and has been adapted as tool for Early Education and Childcare Settings which they may wish to use.
You can contact the Start Well team by email: email@example.com or by telephone: 01204 338149 for additional support and advice during normal operating hours.
Supporting mental and psychosocial well-being
Early Years in Mind - a free online network for early years practitioners.
If you would like support and advice, the Start Well team will be on hand.
Please contact the office on: 01204 33 8149 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org and you will be directed to the right person/team.
The Start Well SEND team are available to support you if you need help or guidance during this challenging time.
Call the team on: 01204 338355 or send an email to: StartWellSEND@bolton.gov.uk
SEND FAQ - in response to COVID-19
To support children with SEND during the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be a number of questions you have in relation to services and the processes that will be followed during this time.
With this in mind, Bolton Start Well have compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help answer some of your queries. The information can be found on the links below:
The Start Well SEND team are available to support you if you need help or guidance during this challenging time.
Call the team on 01204 338355 or send an email to: StartWellSEND@bolton.gov.uk