Holyrood Nurseries - Safe Operation Procedures (COVID-19)
We are pleased to confirm that the Government expects English Nurseries to be able to welcome most children back to nursery from the 1st June.
The latest scientific evidence indicates that COVID-19 appears to affect young children less often and with less severity. The role of children in transmission is unclear, but it seems likely that they do not play a significant role.
The Department for Education has recently published guidance which, when followed, will allow nurseries to care for children safely and minimise the risk of transmission of the coronavirus.
We have taken our time to read, discuss and understand the guidance from Public Health England and the Department for Education and as such, have prepared a Safe Operating Procedures and Risk Assessment document for use internally and also to share with our parents and family community so they can themselves understand and participate in safe practice to mitigate the risk of spread.
Please also see our live FAQ’s (below) which covers a range of topics and will be updated as new questions arise.
We would be grateful if you could kindly complete the survey which advises us of any changes to your child’s needs or routines.
We are very grateful for your support during this time, and we look forward to welcoming our children and families back to the nursery, where you are happy to return. We understand this has been a difficult time for children and parents, and we look forward to seeing you all.
Health and Wellbeing
We would also like to take this opportunity to further recognise and thank our fantastic team members, who have continued to provide care and education for the children of key workers and vulnerable children throughout lockdown.
1Why has the Government lifted the restrictions on nursery attendance?
The latest scientific evidence indicates that COVID-19 appears to affect young children less often and with less severity. The role of children in transmission is unclear, but it seems likely that they do not play a significant role. The Department for Education has published detailed guidance which enables nurseries to care for children safely and minimise the risk of transmission of the coronavirus. The design of nurseries as relatively small communities with further subdivided rooms, greatly assists our ability to create distance between groups. The Government has recognised the vital role that nurseries play in education, wellbeing, preparing children for school and supporting families to work.
2What measures are in place to keep children safe?
We have implemented the Government guidance for educational settings to form bespoke Safe Operating Procedures (SOP) to make our nurseries COVID Secure. All parents and team members must read and follow these procedures to keep our community safe.
The fundamental principles are to ensure distancing between groups and to implement enhanced hygiene practices.
3When can my child attend the nursery?
We are preparing to welcome most children back from the 1st of June in England. Sadly, we are unable to confirm the return date for Scotland until announced by the First Minister.
Children classed as extremely clinically vulnerable are currently advised not to attend the nursery.
Children classed as clinically vulnerable (not extremely clinically vulnerable) are recommended to seek medical advice before returning to nursery. If a child lives with someone who is clinically vulnerable (but not extremely clinically vulnerable), including those who are pregnant, they can attend.
If a child lives with someone who is classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, they are advised not to return to nursery yet.
Care, Education and Wellbeing
1There have been changes to my child’s routine or requirements during lockdown, how do I let you know?
We understand that two months is a long time for all children, but for our smallest children, there should be some routine changes. We encourage all parents to take some time when you visit the nursery prior to your first day, to update the team and/or manager to ensure any changes to their care routine are updated and followed.
2Will there be changes to the nursery routine?
We will continue to work very hard to avoid any significant changes. Whilst we would like to say that there will be ‘no changes’, given we are operating under a very different set of guiding principles this will not be possible in all nurseries. We will however continue to ensure as best we can, that the relationships and therefore the care routines your children are used to will remain largely unchanged.
3How will you be preparing children for school?
Preparing children for the transition to school will be a priority on our return. In addition to the support we normally provide we will be giving extra attention to preparing children to return to a school implementing coronavirus limiting measures.
Changes to Attendance
1I normally use grandparents for some childcare and need to increase my hours?
Please contact your nursery manager direct or via firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to increase your attendance pattern. We anticipate the demand for places to be even higher than normal during this summer, but we will do all we can to accommodate your needs.
2My needs have changed, and I need to reduce my attendance?
Please contact the nursery manager to vary your attendance. In line with our Terms & Conditions, we will require one months’ notice to implement the change.
3My child is going to school in September and I do not plan to return to nursery?
As per our normal terms, you just need to give us one months’ notice in writing. You are welcome to access your place through this notice period, and your deposit can be used against the final month’s fees.
Fees & Deposits
1When are fees due?
We were pleased to be able to suspend fees during COVID-19 closure in March, April, and May, where the Government restricted attendance at nurseries. From the 1st June (for England) we can welcome most children back to nursery and fees for those returning will return to normal.
Invoices for June will be prepared based on the uptake of places and will be sent as soon as they are prepared. Fees will be payable in advance, in line with T&C’s within the few days of returning to nursery.
2I am cautious about coming to nursery for the next few weeks, do I need to pay fees?
We are currently working to understand demand at each nursery. Given the need to change our operational plans at each site (environments and methods of operation) to ensure ‘safe’ operating capacities, we expect a phased approach to returning families. Parent fees will, therefore, be payable from the date you return in June.
From 1st July 2020, normal fees will apply to all parents who have been offered a place. This includes holding a place where you decide not to return.
Assuming 1st of July 2020 opening, no fees apply before then if you are unable to use your place. Normal fees will apply to use or hold your childcare place on a date yet TBC.
If your child or a member of our household is in a clinically vulnerable group, please contact your nursery manager directly.
3I made payments during April and May but did not attend the nursery, what happens to these?
Any payments made during the restrictions when your child was not attending will be credited to your account. These credits will be offset against future invoices. If you cannot use the credits in full before leaving for school, they will be refunded to you, subject to any account arrears.
4What happens if we cannot attend the nursery due to isolation?
If we experience a confirmed case of coronavirus, it may be that a family, home base room or even the whole nursery will need to isolate for 14 days as per government guidelines. We hope to avoid this, but like any period of sickness or for events outside our control, we will need to charge an element of fees to have the nursery ready for your return.
If your child has to self-isolate and you are therefore unable to use your childcare space, we will reduce fees by 75%, only charging a 25% retainer. This retainer will enable us to better support our teams and ensure the nursery can be ready for your return.
For any prolonged periods of isolation over and above 14 days, we advise you to contact your nursery manager. We will endeavour to look at individual cases where possible.
5What happens if the country goes into lockdown again?
We were pleased to be able to suspend fees for April and May where the Government restricted attendance at nursery. We need to reserve our right to charge fees during any future significant period of non-attendance but would review this based on the situation.