Why are Early Years settings remaining open when schools are being closed?
The reason schools have been restricted is not that they are unsafe but because additional measures are needed to contain the spread of the virus. The wider significant restrictions in place as part of the national lockdown to contain the spread of the virus in the community to enable us to continue prioritising keeping nurseries and childminders open, supporting parents and delivering the crucial care and education needed for our youngest children.
Early Years settings remain low risk environments for children and staff. Evidence shows that pre-school children (0-5 years) continue to have the lowest confirmed rates of coronavirus of all age groups, are less susceptible to infection and are not playing a driving role in transmission. There is no evidence the new strain of coronavirus causes more serious illness in either children or adults and there is no evidence that the new variant of coronavirus disproportionately affects young children.
The Department of Education states - Early years childcare providers were one of the first sectors to have restrictions lifted last summer, in recognition of the key role they play in society. Nursery staff across the country have worked hard to keep settings open through the pandemic so that young children can be educated and parents can work. The earliest years are the most crucial point of child development and attending early education lays the foundation for lifelong learning and supports children’s social and emotional development. We continue to prioritise keeping early years settings open in full because of the clear benefits to children’s education and wellbeing and to support working parents. Caring for the youngest age group is not something that can be done remotely.
PHE evidence remains that the risk of transmission and infection is low if early years settings follow the systems of controls, which reduce risks and creates a safer environment. We have risk assessments, cleaning schedules, policies, procedures and consistently promote social distancing and good hygiene.
COVID cases in the setting
Should we receive notification that a child or staff member has tested positive for Covid and attended our setting, we will gain as much information as possible with regards to their symptoms and look at our attendance register and bubbles to establish who they have been in contact with for 48 hours before symptoms started and we will inform affected parents that their child needs to isolate for 10 days.
A deep clean of the setting will take place immediately with staff wearing full PPE. All toys and equipment will be fully sterilised. We follow Covid cleaning in non health care settings guidance.
If isolating, and they develop symptoms, they need to get a covid test and need to inform us if they have a positive result.
If there has been a positive case, however, your child is not in this bubble and does not need to isolate, we will still inform you of the steps we have taken at the setting.
Regarding fees, should a child be required to isolate due to case within our setting, we will assess each situation individually.
I don’t want my child to attend?
It is your choice for your child to attend nursery, these are uncertain times and everyone has to make their own choices. However, the reason we have been asked to stay open is because Early Years settings pose a much lower risk to younger children and there is limited evidence it spreads in early years age group.
If we are open, fees are payable for us to remain sustainable.
I am still on Furlough, my hours have been reduced or I have been made redundant, how does this effect my place?
Your child can still continue with their care, or you can withdraw as you feel appropriate, please see our normal terms and conditions and follow our policy.
What terms and conditions apply?
The same terms and conditions that applied before the Covid-19 pandemic now apply, so please refer to them. They are available on the website.
You can withdraw giving one months’ notice and rebook for a date of your choice to suit you and your family’s situation, subject to availability.
If my child has a temperature, should I keep them at home?
Absolutely, we will take temperatures on arrival please follow government guidance. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
If the nursery is closed again, do I have to pay?
We will get a plan in place as before dependent on government guidance and assess everything to support staff and parents as best we can. However, would aim as previous to not charge anything.
Please help support us and the country by following government guidance and social distance at all times.
If my child is off in isolation, do I need to pay?
We will need to follow our normal sickness policy.
Could my child have COVID-19?
There are 3 main symptoms please view NHS government guidance and advice. Please ensure you follow government guidance to protect the nursery community. Call 111 for advice https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms/coronavirus-in-children/
In the event we have staff shortage, the nursery could not operate would we be charged?
I do not see this scenario occurring as we have a fantastic keen staffing team, however if we, where unable to accommodate your child we would refund that day.
Will I be informed if there is a confirmed case in the nursery?
If we have a confirmed case of Covid-19 we will inform parents, However, we have no plan to close the setting unless Public Health recommends this. The children and staff within the bubble of the child with covid 48 hours prior to symptoms will need to isolate for 10 days. The bubble will have a covid clean. We are doing a lot more cleaning every day and during the day to help reduce infection in line with guidelines but we cannot guarantee that the virus is not present in our nursery but please do view our risk assessment sent out in May. Any updated risk assessments will also be shared with parents as well as our staffing team. Any child feeling unwell will be placed comfortably in the isolation area with a staff member in PPE as per our risk assessment.
If there is a confirmed case of Covid-19 in the nursery, and you choose not to send your child will you be charged?
Yes, fees are payable unless the nursery is closed by us or public health.
Is it safe to bring my child to nursery if there is a confirmed case?
There is an increased risk of infection from a confirmed case, but there is also a risk from children or staff without symptoms. However, we will track exactly which children and staff any confirmed case has been in contact with and communicate this to all concerned so they can take a test themselves, and their children, to see if they have the virus – in which case they would need to isolate as per the government guidance.
We will follow the guidance given by public Heath England as per any other notifiable virus. Staff will spend more time on cleaning and hygiene, and less on administration and record keeping.
Children seem to be getting the virus very mildly but there are no guarantees of this and it is a worrying time for us all. Children with diminished immunity will be notified by their GP and should be kept at home. Every effort will be made to be calm and positive at nursery, and to keep things as normal as possible, so that the children can be as relaxed and happy as possible.
How can parents help?
Follow our policy, be patient at drop off and collection to support the nursery. Do not bring bags in and out they should remain at nursery. If a child has an accident dirty clothes will be sent home in a plastic bag and we will ask for new items to come in. Comforters should be bought in and remain at nursery unless impossible if so then they will need fabric cleaner to re-enter.