Holiday Academy Forest school clubs Covid-19 Pandemic Policy and Procedures Winter 2021

Forest school is a wonderful way for children to reconnect to the peace and calm of nature, and the Forest school leaders are super keen to be back outside and safely resuming our outdoor provision.

We will be promoting health, happiness and wellbeing, with appropriate resources/activities.

We appreciate wholeheartedly that the working environment outdoors is intrinsically safer than any other social setting and we have detailed here the formulated additional procedures which form this policy.

These procedures are informed by the current understanding of COVID-19, Government guidelines (for educational and sport settings) and our own preferred way of safely operating a Forest school club, with the children’s mental and physical welfare in mind. We ask that all families and households adhere to the latest guidance to form a safe community around Holiday Academy.

These are still strange times, with mental health as a particular issue for many of us. We need to be mindful of the children’s experience of this, and also mindful that strains of the virus are still in circulation, possibly with no display of symptoms.

Holiday Academy Forest school clubs take the health of children, parents and staff with the utmost seriousness. This policy will be updated as appropriate. It is in addition to our other policies and procedures (and may override them). Please email if you would like any policies sent to you.

The following may be subject to change if the official advice changes, so it is worth keeping yourselves up to date.

Encouraging news is that being outdoors is the healthiest place to be during this pandemic as droplets carrying the COVID-19 virus are dispersed into the air and have less surfaces to land on. There is also research that acknowledges the positive impact of sunlight and dry air on the virus. It is still possible to catch the virus outside, though.

o Drop off point will be the same as pick up point and detailed in welcome email.

 o Aiming to be outdoors 100% of the time, in a location that is suitable for the weather. The only time we do not operate is when there are high winds, or if there is sheet rain all day. We will not refund if we have to cancel the day due to factors beyond our control.

o If appropriate, all participants will be allocated a group from drop off until pick up. The groups will be nearby but socially distanced enough away and will not share any resources unless thoroughly cleaned. All resources cleaned at the end of each day

o Washing hands when required

o Using hand sanitizer at drop-off and throughout the day


o If the weather is just showers and waterproof trousers and jackets are adequate protection we will continue to operate. As stated previously we do not operate in high winds and all-day sheet rain.

By paying for your booking with us you explicitly agree to the following terms, conditions and procedures, together with our general terms and conditions, and we will expect you to abide strictly by them, so please take a moment to read, understand and agree them and then explain them to your child(ren).

o Playing games and planning activities that allow for natural social distancing; whilst we can’t enforce social distancing, we can try to facilitate it.

o Maintaining social distancing rules between staff, parents and other adults.

o Doing a daily temperature check of staff and children at drop off (this will be with a non-contact thermometer). Temperatures need to be under 37.8 degrees to join the Forest school groups.

o Drop off / pick up points to avoid unnecessary contact between adults:

  • Please maintain social distancing while queuing to sign in and out and wear a mask covering your nose and mouth. You must be 1 metre plus from the other adults while queuing and give yourself time to wait as required.
  • Please stay 1 metre plus from the leader conducting sign in/out while you are waiting, and approach one family at a time when you are invited to do so. Please only have one adult attend per household.
  • Try to sign in and out as quickly as possible to minimise our staff’s exposure to you.
  • If you have queries about the day please wait until the end of registration and ask any questions while maintaining the recommended 1m plus distance.
  • The leader will have set up a visual guide to indicate where the queue should start – please respect that and understand that some families will be strictly adhering to social distancing for personal reasons.
  • For 5-6s and 7-12s groups please arrive at 10:00 promptly.
  • For 3-5s please arrive at 9:45am promptly.
  • This can be a difficult transition for some children so please drop and go, without waiting for the group to leave. The staff will call if your child is not settling. We have found that children settle quicker if the parent drops off quickly!
  • For the 5-6s and 7-12s groups, please pick up at 3:30 for 4pm.
  • For 3-5s please pick up at 3pm.

o We will ask parents to support us by:

  • Remaining at drop off / pick up and a staff member will collect / bring children to them
  • Ensure children have and know their own bag, kit, lunch, and water bottle with every item named.
  • Please give a thought to too heavy lunch bags, heavy tupperware, and difficult items to open.
  • Sending their children in with a flannel to dry their hands with
  • Ensuring children have sun cream applied at home that will last for the full day during Summer months.
  • Ensuring that the children are dressed appropriately for activities like climbing trees, weather, and temperature.
  • Please bring a hat and water-proof jacket and trousers.
  • Ensure footwear is weather and waterproof – this is so important!
  • Be available to pick up your child throughout the day if required.

Staff may be using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) if this is their choice, and definitely when we need to administer first aid to a child the staff will use a face mask or visor and gloves.

The best way to minimise the risk of infection is to ensure that it does not enter the setting in the first place and that all attendees are healthy prior to attendance, therefore in addition to our existing sickness policy the following precautions will apply throughout the pandemic;

Please be responsible when making a decision about bringing your child – bringing a child who is mildly ill, even if you are sure they are well enough to attend, could threaten the health of other children, and of our staff. It is possible to have a common cold and COVID-19 at the same time, and you will need a PCR test, or two consecutive lateral flow tests to check this. Our staff are required to self-isolate at the first sign of any symptoms even if they are double vaccinated, so if you send a poorly child – even if you are convinced that they do not have COVID-19 – you risk us having to cancel all future sessions for this season because our staff will be unable to work.

No admittance to any person that is displaying symptoms of the virus unless they have had a negative PCR test; this includes children, staff, parents/carers dropping off / picking up. Recognised symptoms are:

o A cough
o A temperature at or above 37.8 degrees celsius
o A loss or change to sense of taste & smell
o Children not to attend if they have had temperature/fever reducing medication prior to attendance such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
o Not giving medication within the setting apart from where it is needed to manage long term health conditions (E.g Asthma inhalers/Epipens)
o Children / staff not to attend who have coughs or cold symptoms as this increases the chances of the virus being spread (again, it is possible to have a cold and Covid-19 at the same time)

Kit on the day

Food and Drink: Children must bring their own snacks, packed lunch and drink; we are unable to provide any food, cups or cutlery at this time.

Hand Hygiene: We will have a hand washing station and a pump hand sanitiser. You need to tell us if your child is allergic to the brand of hand sanitizer we use. Please pack a flannel separate from their food for them to use to dry their hands.

Disposable tissues: We recommend that children bring their own tissues as part of their kit in case they need to use them.

Masks: The UK government guidance on masks says: “Wearing a face covering or face mask in schools or other education settings is not recommended…. Schools and other education or childcare settings should therefore not require staff, children and learners to wear face coverings. Changing habits, cleaning and hygiene are effective measures in controlling the spread of the virus.” We will use a face mask if we need to apply first aid.

Please do not send your child in a mask, or ask us to make sure they wear one:

On the day

Parents of children attending the holiday club should tell the FS leader if their child wants to be with someone they know on the day attend, otherwise we will put children together who are similar age.

We are hoping that the toilets stay open in every site – we have camping toilet facilities which involves a tent with seat, and disposal protocol for the older children, and potty-style facilities for the younger. Please be aware that much of the logistics needing to be managed is due to the park drop off and extra kit the leaders are having to carry.

Should anyone display symptoms we will take the following steps to minimise risk of infection:

o If a child becomes ill whilst in our care, they will immediately be isolated with a member of staff using PPE, our usual procedures will then apply regarding contacting parents who need to be quickly available to pick up their child.

o If a child displays symptoms whilst outside the setting parents are asked to report this to the manager as soon as possible and to book a test by calling 119.

o If the test is positive the government test and trace system will then be activated as required by regulations
o If the group is cancelled due to Covid-19, there is no refund under these circumstances.

o The other groups will continue to run provided it can be staffed safely, also reserve the right to close the setting if staff need to isolate and we do not have enough staff to maintain ratios and run safely.

If sessions are cancelled by Govt shut-down then all refunds will be made fully except the payment gateway fee. There will be no refund if your child has to isolate or wait for a test result.

Please can you ensure that you have read, agreed and understood this new policy and have spoken to your child so they understand how the Forest school clubs may run slightly differently to ensure we all stay safe.