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'We are at risk every day.' West Norfolk nursery bosses warn of coronavirus dangers

Managers of a West Norfolk nursery have warned they are being put at risk every day by the lack of coronavirus restrictions on their sector.

Although attendance at schools is currently limited to the children of key workers and vulnerable pupils, there are no similar rules for the pre-school sector yet.

The Clever Clogs nursery in Downham is among those that are still open, and its managers, Debbie Tasker and Lisa Webb, today spoke out about how the new restrictions are impacting them.

Clever Clogs staff, from left, Jess Bridge, Millie McGuirk and Lily Webb. (43904865)
Clever Clogs staff, from left, Jess Bridge, Millie McGuirk and Lily Webb. (43904865)

Lisa said: “We feel apprehensive about coming to work, but all nurseries are in the same boat.

“We are at risk everyday on the front line and it’s hard to social distance with very young children.”

Debbie added: “We’ve had a lack of PPE, which is worrying with the new strain. However, Norfolk County Council has kindly sent us a box.

“We would be more reassured if we were provided Covid tests like care workers, as our job is risky to our home life.”

The nursery has been a favourite for parents in Downham for many years though, in the last few days as few as five infants, most of them children of key workers, have been in attendance since the lockdown was reinforced.

Debbie and Lisa were keen to point out that they have been rigidly following the government guidelines, wiping down toys and tables.

Lisa said: “We make it into a game. The kids are largely unaware of what is going on and we don’t want them to feel anxious when they come here.

“We want them to feel as normal as possible, a lot of them love playing ‘cleaning up’ with us.

“We understand the impact Covid has had on education and we are all doing our best in the current circumstances and when working with children of this age it is vital not to scare them.”

Concerns for early year providers have been raised as they are often encouraged to operate as normal, with a lack of PPE and no Covid testing is offered.

The Department of Education released new guidance last week, in which it argued that care for the under fives was a “low risk” for staff and “unlikely to be a driving force in transmission” of the virus.

It also claimed the new variant of the virus was no more harmful to children.

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