We are pleased to let you know that, further to the government’s announcement that early years and childcare providers will open from 1 June (subject to scientific advice), we are working hard to take the necessary steps to be ready to welcome back all children.
We will open to more children only if the government confirms that their five key tests justify taking this step.
Which children can attend from 1 June?
As you may be aware, we have remained open for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children since 23 March and have been operating with smaller group sizes and additional hygiene and infection control measures. We will remain open for them until wider opening is confirmed.
The government is now encouraging all eligible children to attend and it is no longer necessary for parents of eligible children to keep them at home if they can. Please do contact us if you fall into one of these groups and would like your child to take up their place. If you choose to keep your child at home during June, fees will be waived. However, from July onwards, we will need to ask that you pay half fees to retain your child’s place. This is due to the fact that we are currently turning many potential new children away as we wish to remain loyal to our current children and families and hope to have everyone back as planned once you feel ready. I will continue to review this policy and revert back to 100% fees when appropriate.
From the week beginning 1 June, early years and childcare providers will welcome back all children, if the five key tests set by government justify the changes at the time. For the vast majority of children and young people, coronavirus is a mild illness. Some categories of children with specific serious health conditions should not attend their early years setting. If you are unsure whether your child should attend the setting due to a health condition that they or someone they live with has, please contact us so we can discuss the details with you.
Protective measures we are taking in light of coronavirus (COVID-19)
First and foremost, it goes without saying that the safety of your child and of our staff is our top priority. We are working hard, following the latest government guidance, to develop and implement a number of new ways of operating. This will allow us to open as safely as possible, focusing on measures that will help limit the risk of coronavirus transmitting within our setting. A full risk assessment has been shared with all families and staff.
Some of the steps we are taking in readiness for reopening to more children include:
Asking that anyone who is displaying coronavirus symptoms, or who lives with someone who does, not to attend the setting. That includes children and staff who work here.
Cleaning our hands more often than usual. We have developed routines to ensure children understand when and how to wash their hands, making sure they wash them thoroughly for at least 20 seconds using running water and soap and dry them thoroughly, or use alcohol hand rub or sanitiser ensuring that all parts of the hands are covered.
Ensuring our children understand good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach and ensuring a good supply of tissues and bins throughout the setting.
Implementing an enhanced cleaning schedule, ensuring surfaces touched by children and staff are cleaned regularly and throughout the day, including table tops, door handles and play equipment.
Asking parents and carers to physically distance from each other and from staff when dropping off and collecting their children and to limit drop off and collection to one parent or carer per household.
Asking children not to bring toys or other items from home to the setting, unless this is essential to their health and wellbeing.
• Undertake additional training on Covid-19 protection, effects of isolation and child bereavement.
What can parents and carers do to help?
There are a number of things parents and carers can do to help us make these arrangements effective, in addition to the points listed above concerning arrival and departure and not bringing toys to the setting.
If your child, or anyone in your household displays symptoms of coronavirus (that is a temperature of 37.7 degrees C or above, a new continuous cough or a loss of taste and/or smell) to inform the setting immediately and isolate for 14 days or until a negative Covid-19 test has been confirmed
If your child displays symptoms whilst at the setting, we will isolate them from the group and wear PPE as appropriate whilst also comforting and distracting the child so as not to worry them. Please ensure that your contact details and those of your emergency contacts are up-to-date so that your child is collected promptly.
Discuss and agree drop off and collection times with the setting and stick to them as far as possible. This way we can ensure as little contact with other families as possible and still leave us time to give you a quick round up of the day.
Be patient with us while we adapt our routines and processes and slowly get back to ‘normal’. The added cleaning and infection minimisation measures may mean that other paperwork such as Daily Diaries may not be completed. However, we will always make sure we have a verbal handover at the end of the day and upload pictures and observations where possible.
Reassure your child that though some processes seem different (such as pick up and drop off times), they will still be able to see and play with their friends as usual and have cuddles and comfort from us as needed!
Once early years and childcare providers open to more children, all children who are attending a childcare setting will have access to a test if they display symptoms of coronavirus and are encouraged to get tested in this scenario. The aim is to enable children to get back to childcare, and their parents or carers not to need to self-isolate any longer than is necessary, if the test proves to be negative. A positive test will ensure rapid action to protect other children and staff in their setting. If a child within the setting tests positive for Covid-19, current guidance is that the whole setting is to close and complete the 14 day isolation period.
We ask all parents and carers to ensure they organise a test for their child, in the event that they develop coronavirus symptoms, and notify us immediately of a positive test. Further guidance is available about getting tested
I hope that this letter has given you the information you need to understand what arrangements we have made to enable children to return to us from 1 June. We are looking forward to welcoming your child back and I hope that you are assured that we have taken all possible steps to ensure safety for all in our setting.
Most importantly, I would like to reassure you all that as far as the children are concerned, things will seem very much the same. They can play as they usually do and receive the comfort that they need – us adults will be working behind the scenes to clean and keep everyone as safe as possible. As always, please do contact me with any questions which you may have.