Ask Me Anything - Covid 19 Pandemic - Our Response
Why are nurseries opening?
The latest scientific evidence indicates that COVID-19 appears to affect young children less often and with less severity. The role of transmission is unclear, but it seems likely that they do not play a significant role.
The Department of Education has published detailed guidance which enables nurseries to care for children safely and minimise the risk of transmission of the coronavirus.
Nurseries play a vital role in educating and preparing young children for school. They enable children to socialise, learn and play alongside their peers. Nurseries are also important in supporting families to work.
When does the Nursery re-open?
We have been open throughout for the children of frontline keyworkers and all the teams have done an amazing job.
This has given us a great opportunity to practise our safe operating procedures and adapt, as necessary.
Many children will be returning on a phased return from 8th June in accordance with parents’ wishes and acceptance of our offer to our families.
Our offer of days and your phased return can be found on the booking section of your first step app. This will be available for you to see from May 29th 2020. We have carefully planned this return based on your feedback and what we can offer. The OH marker means your place is on hold for you.
All Families will need to complete a new booking form and agree to the new terms and conditions of offering a nursery place before starting.
Can we start back part way through a month from June and July?
We will give you information on the date your child can re-join our nursery and this may be part way through the month.
If you have not been able to give us any information on a start date and contact us about re-joining the nursery or have not completed the questionnaire the places we can offer you will be subject to availability.
From August you will be required to start the nursery from the beginning of each month.
We cannot offer months on a part fees/part retainer basis at this point. This is a temporary measure and will be reviewed in September 2020.
Can my child attend 2 settings?
We are minimising all contact children have in the first 3 months of re-opening and therefore if your child attends 2 settings you will need to speak to us about this.
When do I need to complete the form by?
The new booking form will be emailed to you via parent mail on May 29th 2020.
We would be grateful if you would return the form by midnight on June 2nd, 2020.
We are working on a very tight turnaround and we need adequate notice to plan our staffing needs and give notice to the staff who will be working.
What measures have you put in place to keep children safe?
We have used the government guidance to formulate a set of safe operating procedures.
We will be emailing these out to everyone in the coming days via parent mail.
Everyone who works or attends the nursery will be required to read and follow these procedures, the most important being social distancing between groups of children/adults, regular hand-washing and children/adults not attending if they display symptoms.
Can I offer any suggestions to your Safe Operating Procedures?
We are always grateful for any advice that will enhance what measures we have put in place. We know we have many experts out there, so please do email in if you think there is something that would be of help. We will also be reading your suggestions from the survey and taking those into consideration. Thank you for the many, many thoughtful responses that we have already had.
Will you cap the numbers at our nursery?
This is not a requirement of the Government however to ensure safe distancing measures are managed we will be capping numbers in all rooms. We will be review this later in the year.
Will my child notice any particular changes at nursery?
Naturally there will be an increased emphasis on hand-washing and small group activities. This is something we have always practised but will now be much greater attention to.
Your child will also remain with one key person for most of the day, together with their buddy group.
The groups will aim to be kept at a reasonable distance from one another. With core activities taking place in different area's.
There will be a greater emphasis on outdoor learning in your child's small group and I will be sending our new Flow of the Nursery Day timetable out to parents via parent mail in early June.
We are obviously very mindful of the children’s wellbeing and we will do everything to make things seems as normal as possible for them.
What will I be charged?
To allow staff and children to settle back into routines we are planning a phased return and offer of days.
For the month of June and July you will only be charged for the days on your booking.
From August, your normal booking pattern will apply, unless you have requested a Grace period or given us notice to reduce your nursery days.
If you have requested a Grace period we will not be charging you for the months of June or July.
As of August you will be required to pay a 20% retainer for your nursery place
Thereafter your full booking will resume and full fees will apply. If you have credit on your account this can be used to pay for your retainer.
If you wish to alter your booking permanently, one months notice will apply and you will need to confirm this by email Katie.
When will I get an invoice?
If you have indicated that you will be attending in June, you will receive a bill by the first week of June.
We will be then sending out fee calculation sheets to all families in the month of June for payments moving forward for the remainder of the year.
If you have returned to nursery but then decide to give in your notice, or decide not to attend for a few weeks, you will still be required to pay the bill for which you have been invoiced.
The required notice period remains at 1 month from the 1st June onwards.
What happens if my child is sick or if the family has to isolate?
Children can only attend when they are fit and healthy, this will mean that there are fewer sick days for everyone.
Strict measures will be in place for managing illness in the setting which are led by Public Health and the Government.
If your child is sick or if the family has to self isolate, then full fees will be due.
What happens about fees if the country goes back into lockdown?
Hopefully this won’t happen but if it does then we will have to look at the situation. We would hope our response would be the same but it is too early to say at this point.
You may well have other questions and we hope that Sally will be able to help you with. Our completed Safe Operating Procedures will be shared with you all before the 1st June.
Will staff and/or children be wearing face masks?
Currently, this is not a requirement that has been recommended to early years by the Government.
Our staff will not wear face masks but will wear visors if they are on meet and greet.
They will continue to use their PPE for their standard care routines e.g. nappy changing. If a child was to display symptoms then they will be removed from the main nursery playrooms with a member of staff until a parent is able to collect. You will be contacted immediately.
How would staggered drop off and pick up times work?
Katie will be in touch the week before your return date to discuss these procedures with you if they will apply. They will be individual to each room
How do I let you know of any alterations to my child’s care?
If there have been any significant changes to your child’s routine or dietary requirements, you can indicate these on your booking form.
My child has a particular toy he is attached to, so can we bring that in?
We are trying to discourage toys from home as per our Safe Operating Procedures but recognise that might be difficult for some children.
If your child needs a comforter, we would ask that it stays at nursery in your child's basket or child's drawer . We will launder this for your child and return back to their basket /drawer.
How will you look after my child’s wellbeing?
We hope that by adopting a small group approach with an emphasis on routines, this will foster security and build up their confidence after such a long absence. We have lots of resources to help the team talk confidently about the virus and be able to answer any questions the children might have. As always, if we have any concerns, we will contact you immediately.
Will you comfort my child if they are upset?
Yes. A child’s wellbeing is paramount. If your child is upset, they will be comforted as usual by a member of staff. No child will be denied emotional support. The DfE has confirmed that it does not expect providers to keep all children two metres away from each other, or to care for children while remaining two metres away, as this is simply not possible.
Its guidance states: “We know that, unlike older children and adults, early years and primary age children cannot be expected to remain 2m apart from each other and staff.” It has said that it is asking providers to try and minimise the risk of transmission by keeping children in smaller groups, and minimising the interactions between these groups.
If I decide not to return, will I have to pay a notice period?
If you decide not to return to nursery at all then you will not have to pay a notice period.
This will only be valid until June 1st, after which one months notice will apply.
If you wish to re-register your child at any point, this will be subject to availability and no registration fee will apply. We would always ask that you talk to us first if you are struggling with any aspect of your childcare booking.