Latest Update on our Resonse to Coronavirus
19th July 2021
I hope you and your family are well.
I just wanted to send out a quick update on our Covid Risk Assessment which was reviewed last week in-line with the Government accouncement to move the country in Stage 4.
We continue to be cautious as we know that in our area positive cases are still very prevalent and we are finding that many team members are being flagged for isolation, or indeed coming down with Covid themselves. Thankfully in adults – the vaccine seems to be doing it’s job, and the positive cases we are hearing about are not resulting in hospitalisation. In children we are aware that cases are rising. The latest Ofsted data shows that positive cases in Nationwide in Nurseries last week increased to 643 cases, to put this into perspective we had dropped to just over 100 cases in Early April, and at peak early February of over 2000. Reported coronavirus (COVID-19) notifications by registered early years and childcare settings – GOV.UK (publishing.service.gov.uk)
Children with Symptoms
Part of our Risk Assessment is to be vigilant about not allowing symptomatic children in our setting. Can we please remind you of what to do if your child or anyone in the family household is displaying covid 19 symptoms.
1 The child or adult must go for a PCR Test (even if a Lateral flow Test is showing negative)
2 The family must isolate at home until the results of the PCR Test come back negative
Please do not send your child into nursery with covid symptoms or whilst they are awaiting for test results. Please be also be aware that some newer Covid 19 symptoms in children can be
– cold, headache and sore throats
– Stomach upset / sickness
We recommend that if your child has any of these symptoms then they also go for a PCR test. Can we also remind parents / carers that if your child is sick then they must stay at home for 48 hours after the last time they were ill.
From Monday 19 July, schools, colleges and early years settings will no longer carry out routine contact tracing. From this point onwards, close contacts will be identified and contacted by NHS Test and Trace rather than through our managers and head office team.
Mask Wearing and Visiting Our Setting
Operationally we are now in a position where the Covid Risk Assessment is being specifically tailored by each manager at each site to meet your nursery/funclubs needs, however I can summarise the changes in general:
Inside the setting in corridors and communal areas masks are now optional for our team
The vast majority of our team will continue to wear mask when feeding back to parents and we would ask that you please do the same – we are conscious that our team catching the virus, or having close contacts, have a huge operational impact on us and are being cautious here so appreciate your support
Bubbles are no longer as strict and we are generally phasing into two bubbles to prevent a whole site closure if we have an outbreak, but we are able to move team members to support other rooms as needed.
We continue to use Lateral Flow tests and promote our families doing the same.
We continue to keep the majority of parents and visitors outside the building
From 16th August we expect children and under 18’s to no longer have to isolate as a close contact, and must only isolate if they are positive themselves. We expect this also to be the case with staff members who have had both vaccinations. We are waiting to hear whether this will be linked to daily testing.
Thank you for your continued support, as always if you have any comments, suggestions or questions please do get in touch.
20th January 2021
I hope you and your family are well.
As you know, we continue to review our risk assessment, to try and be a COVID secure as possible during these difficult times. You may be aware that we have sadly had a breakout of the virus in our staff team at Alwoodley which has meant that we have closed the setting temporarily for a couple of weeks. I am pleased to hear that our team members are doing well recovering, some had very mild symptoms, or none at all. We are relieved and grateful that no-one has needed hospitalisation or medical treatment. As has been reported in the press, it seems children continue to be less impacted by the virus, even with this new strain we have only had a very small number of children test positive at Alwoodley, again with mild “cold like” symptoms. We ask you to please be vigilant and if you child is unwell get them tested, or isolate as a precaution.
We have taken some advice from Public Health and reviewed our risk assessment accordingly. Our processes worked really well initially and the odd positive case was effectively contained, but this strain brings more challenges and there is a couple of things we need your support with.
The first is the length of time taken to talk to your key person at drop off and collection. Please keep this as brief as you are able, we know sometimes you will need to share more information than others. If you feel like you need a longer chat please ask the team member to give you a ring once they have gone back inside the setting and they will be happy to do so. Likewise if you would like a catch up call at any point just let us know. You are also welcome to share as much information as you can on Tapestry.
The second area, again raised by Public Health, is behaviours outside when waiting for your child to be brought to you. We are asking all parents to please wear masks and we would also like to reiterate that you still need to be keeping your distance from other people, which we realise is a challenge during busy periods. Our staff team have been asked to politely intervene to help with this.
Our revised risk assessment and operating procedures is still available on our website. In terms of operational changes – we’ve made further changes to the way staff take their breaks, and added particular focus on wiping of fridge doors and key pads – which we are advised are particularly likely to hold the virus as they are metal and cold.
We really appreciate your continued support, and thank you for your continued good wishes – as usual our friendly and conscientious team are being incredibly positive during such a challenging period.
If you have any comments, suggestions or questions please do get in touch.
7th January 2021
As an extra layer of protection for our staff team we are asking all parents to please use Face coverings at drop off and collection from now on.
If you are medically exempt please contact the Nursery Manager to let them know. Thank you in advance for your cooperation with this.
5th January 2021
I just wanted to get in touch to clarify our position with the recent Lockdown announcement.
Early Education and Childcare are able to stay open throughout the period so we will be continuing with our usual service, with the exception of any forced closures due to a positive test of one of our staff or children. If you no longer require a place for your child please contact us as soon as possible by telephone or email. Places will be frozen.
Our Funclub’s remain open for vulnerable children and children of key people only. Please contact the Funclub directly to advise them of your position. If you do not require a childcare place we will freeze your account – please let us know by telephone or email.
As always if you have any comments, suggestions or questions please do get in touch.
3rd November 2020
I just wanted to get in touch to clarify our position with the recent Lockdown announcement.
Early Education and Childcare are able to stay open throughout the period so we will be continuing with our usual service, with the exception of any forced closures due to a positive test of one of our staff or children. We have been relatively lucky with the situation so far and only had 4 positive tests over our 5 nurseries and 4 out-of-school. 2 of these cases were in one setting with our team member, and her child who also attends. In all cases we have been guided by the Public Health advice line and followed their recommendations and we feel we have been successful in acting promptly and successfully limiting the spread to prevent a larger outbreak.
We reviewed our Group Covid Risk Assessment again last week in our Managers Zoom meeting and an up to date copy is available for download on our website here: http://www.littlepeoplenurseries.co.uk/content/uploads/2020/11/Little-People-Corona-Virus-Risk-Assessment-and-Operating-Procedures-Oct-20.pdf
We’ve made a few minor changes as we feel our processes are working. We were able to reflect on the instances we’ve had and have made some alterations to staff breaks, and contact between rooms to try and limit contact as much as possible between age ranges. We remain vigilant about our hygiene, cross-infection, and contact procedures and we do not intend to be complacent. If you have been affected by a bubble closing, thank you for your support and understanding. We have not charged fees for isolation periods, accounts have been credited for the care we have been unable to provide.
Will the latest Lockdown Impacted you financially?
If you have found yourself out of work, or furloughed, and are unable to afford your childcare fees for this coming lockdown period, please speak to us. Shiree is very knowledgeable with the benefits system which has been enhanced during Covid and you may find there are more options available to you. We may be able to offer additional flexibility around your childcare place. We want to support you and your family and continue with our ethos of “Be Kind, Stay Safe”.
Can we support you and your family more?
We are aware that recent months, and the looming lockdown, will impact our families in different ways. Some of you may have uncertain income in coming months and we have been looking at how we can offer more flexibility for customers who find themselves on uncertain ground. We’re thinking specifically of families who are freelancers, self-employed, furloughed or job seeking. We have temporarily removing our minimum booking, so that you can keep your child with us for a shorter session each week rather than leave us completely until your circumstances change. Your nursery manager, or our finance manager Shiree, will also be happy to talk to you about additional “pay-as-you-go” sessions on the hourly rate of £7 (inclusive of nappies and meals), with no monthly commitment. We hope this will support customers with interviews, pitching meetings, speculative quotes and other jobs that require your full attention but don’t necessarily mean you can commit to a full increase of your childcare bill.
Our Funclub’s hold a limited number of “ad hoc places” at the normal sessional rate, again no minimum booking is required. If you find you need care for before or after school please speak to us.
Just out of interest…
We were delighted to see that Morrisons have recognised our staff team as Early Educators and give them a 10% discount to match their offer to teachers, we’re busy making photo ID cards for all our team so they can use them at the checkouts – these little acts of recognition for our sector make us smile in these strange times.
Our usual Christmas Party and Staff Pride Award celebration is suspended this year. We’d like to still recognise our team’s achievements over the year and I’ll be emailing you soon to ask for your comments and give you details of how to vote. This is a highlight of the year for many of our staff team, they love to read the comments from you and your children.
As always if you have any comments, suggestions or questions please do get in touch.
29th May 2020
The government have now confirmed that it is appropriate for us to reopen our Nurseries to all children, rather than the children of Key People only, from next week. You may have already told us what this means for you.
We are aware that schools will also be opening to some year groups of children, and our provision of before and after school care is being continually assessed at each of our sites to match parents needs.
Our managers, and staff teams, have been working hard finding out how the past couple of months have affected each family, and their childcare needs. Initial indicators show that the number of children needing care will increase from our current around 10% figure, to around 25% – so we have the capacity to take things slowly, which is great as our staff team can build on their new routines and methods as our numbers increase gradually. We are pleased to report that as yet we have not had a positive test for any of our staff or children.
I have written to you regularly to point out the key changes that will impact you and your child going forwards. These provisional plans were reassuringly mirrored in the release on information from the Government this bank holiday weekend around action for Early Years and Childcare reopening. For those of you wish to see full details I have uploaded our working document to our website here. This plan breaks down areas of consideration into more detail and is being used by our staff team to produce risk assessments for each specific room and age range.
You can find more information from the governments official guidance for parents and carers here.
As always if you wish to discuss anything please give your nursery manager or deputy a call. We are aware that we won’t be seeing much of you inside our buildings so please pick up the phone for a chat to keep in touch with us.
In terms of finance and invoicing. We continue to support you by freezing your place until you need it. Each little person’s family situation is unique and we are proud to support that. We are delighted to have Ben back in the office this week to support Shiree, who has been working throughout the partial closure. Our managers have told them amount their June re-starters and any changes to attendance, but as always feel free to drop them an email on firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any help, advice or costings.
We were delighted to launch our Virtual Tours last weekend too, our deputies did a wonderful job of being on camera and it means we are able to think about supporting future bookings as our world starts to return to its new kind of normal. They are viewable on our Google page, and Facebook. If you are able to leave a Google Review we would really appreciate it as it means we show up higher on the list when people are looking for childcare. The links for google reviews are:
Thank you for your kind messages, feedback and continued support, we’ve been extremely proud of our Little People family, parents, children and staff who have really shown kindness and understanding over this challenging time.
18th May 2020
Firstly thank you for your help and support of my staff team during these unprecedented times. We have been hugely grateful to those of you at home who have kindly sent in gifts or made encouraging comments on our social media. All forms of sharing our content or chatting with our team has been really rewarding for the staff. For those of your still attending thank you for your understanding and patience with our routines for drop off and collections, and thank you for your understanding when we’re sending the little one’s home with temperatures straight away, rather than our usual process of careful monitoring over a period of time. Your actions have helped our staff team feel safer in the work place for which we are grateful.
We have made a number of changes to our practice over the past few weeks to keep our environment as safe as we can for our children and staff team. We are currently working collaboratively with our staff team to introduce further procedures to support us as the numbers of children in our settings start to gradually increase. We are currently caring for children of Key People/ Essential workers, and are seeing a slow increase in these numbers as more essential workers resume their childcare place. If you are a key person and would like to discuss some settling back in sessions please give the nursery a ring as we are able to accommodate this.
The Government have asked us to be prepared for more children on 1st June. We are aware that this is not guaranteed and will depend on various scientific data which will be released on 28th May.
Please be aware that you will be under no obligation to resume your childcare place then, we will keep your place frozen until you need it. We are aware that each parent may feel differently about a return to Nursery/School and we’re happy to support you.
We are also able to look at the sessions that you currently attend and alter these if your circumstances have changed, on either a temporary or permanent basis. We may in turn ask you if there is any flexibility around the days etc that you need if we feel it would be beneficial for our staff team.
When you start to think about returning your child to our care I wanted to share some of the key features of our ongoing risk assessments which we have been working on. Some of these actions are already in place, and have been since our partial closure back in March, some are newer concepts and will start to become relevant as we see our numbers increase. As always we will continue to review and be proactive in our commitment to be as safe as possible.
• We have obviously heightened our hygiene, cross contamination and infection control regime, reviewing processes and following latest guidance.
• We would like to continue collecting your children from you at the entrance, unless it will cause your child distress. This has been extremely successful and our children have so far been very receptive to running on in, whilst it’s time intensive for our team, as our start times are staggered, we feel it’s worth it for the lack of footfall coming into the building. Each site is looking at their entry points and considering the use of alternative entrances for different age ranges to further limit their exposure to others.
• We will continue to only welcome children to the setting who are symptom free. As we start to see an increase in attendance we may begin to take our children’s temperature on entry. Whilst not a government recommendation, this is extremely reassuring for our staff team, and prevents us having to isolate the child later in the day if they are coming down with something. If a child does start displaying symptoms in the setting they will be isolated with their Key Person, until their parent arrives. This is the only time we will ask staff to wear additional PPE. We will ask that the parent contacts 111 by telephone to arrange a test (under 5yrs old) or online (over 5yrs old).
• We are limiting the interaction between staff and children of different age ranges within the setting. Each age range will become their own “bubble”, with their own staff team, and these with be the only children and staff that they come into contact throughout the day. When planning our Nurseries it has always been really important to is that each age range has free access to outdoor play without having to take turns with other age groups and we will making full use of this, enjoying as much outdoor space as possible. We have also always placed a high importance on bathroom facilities for each age range meaning that each “bubble” have their own designated bathroom space, again reducing the amount of contact with others. Our staff team are looking at proactive and resourceful ways to protect themselves and the children, such as changes to the laundry routine, collection of meals from the kitchen, and the removal of self-serve in Schoolroom.
• Our staff will socially distance themselves from you, and other staff members, but not your children, nor will we be asking young children to keep their distance from each other when in play. However we are able to space out beds, and work with small groups, encourage good hygiene methods, and of course promote lots of time outdoors.
• We have significantly limited visitors to the setting, our external meeting have moved online, our training is now delivered remotely, and we are working on Virtual Show-Arounds to allow us to fill our September spaces whilst remaining as socially distant as possible. Clearly there will be times when we need to allow occasional visitors into setting but these are being managed with the highest level of care.
When finalised I will share our full and detailed operating procedures, we are still making a few little tweaks with input from the staff team, and additional government guidance is still filtering through but I felt it was useful to share our thoughts.
There is more information for parents and carers here…
Guidance for parents and carers: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/reopening-schools-and-other-educational-settings-from-1-june
As always we are aware that updates are being released all the time, and we need to keep open-minded and positive when dealing with challenges, we continue to be guided by legislation to priortise the health and safety of our staff team, and your children.
We are constantly reviewing the number of children that need care currently, and how this may change going forward. If you are aware of a change to your childcare requirements over the next few weeks you can let us know by contacting the site directly or emailing Finance@LittlePeopleNurseries.co.uk.
Or contact the setting directly to discuss your needs.
Please be assured that we’ll be as helpful as we can during these challenging times.
20th April 2020
I hope you are all well during these unusual times. Thank you for your support, patience and understanding during this difficulty time, our team really appreciate the lovely gifts of chocolates, flowers and kind messages.
We remain open and providing childcare for all essential keyworkers, our settings are now extremely quiet and we feel confident with the social distancing measures we have put in place to protect our staff team. All of our settings are still fully operational, we have moved our Stanningley staff and children over to it’s neighbouring site of Farfield, the contact number is being diverted and remains the same.
If you are now at home with your child: We have lots of activities going on Facebook and Instagram from our fabulous social media team. There is lots of story reading, teaching actions songs and signs and simple science activities to do together. The aim is to keep the children in touch with our lovely staff team by seeing what is going on in nursery while they are on their holiday at home. Please pop on and say hi! We’re on Facebook as Little People Nurseries or Instagram as @LPNurseries.
If you are a Key Person, and do not need your usual childcare place as your work has altered, we are still able to offer you some support if needed in the form of “ad hoc” childcare. If either parent is recognised as a Key Worker we can continue to offer some support for your childcare requirements. You may just need the odd days care, every week or so, which we can invoice on an “as and when basis”. You can contact the nursery directly to arrange this.
In terms of Nursery fees – if you are not using us you will not see a May invoice. If you still have arrears outstanding from before March 2020 we are asking you to bring this up to date at your earliest convenience.
Once again, we would like to thank everyone for their ongoing support through this difficult time, and hope you are all safe and well.
Please check www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ for upto date information
29th March 2020
Thank you to all our parents for their understanding this week.
We remain partially open, and are able to offer emergency childcare for critical workers who need childcare to go to work to help us fight this.
Our guidance from the government clearly states
“Care should be provided to children of critical workers and vulnerable children only in order to limit the spread of the virus. Other children should remain at home, in order to further reduce the number of social interactions and thus flatten the upward curve of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Many working parents who are critical workers may also be able to ensure their child is kept at home. Every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.”
Please protect our staff team by only using us if absolutely necessary. If your child does not attend you will not be charged. We want to keep our staff team as safe as possible.
(A HUGE thank you to those kind parents who are sending fees our way anyway as they are on full pay themselves – we are very grateful and we are looking forward to our re-opening party already!)
20th March 2020
Thank you for your well wishes, our team are being incredibly positive and we’re pulling together. We’ve had a few parents offering to send us April payment anyway, as they’ve not suffered a financial loss, or are receiving funding towards their place. We are INCREDIBLY grateful for this and thank them hugely for their kindness and compassion.
We have now received the list of job roles which allow your child to still attend our settings. We are also happy to receive other children, new to us, who’s parents perform these vital job roles. We will not be cutting the hours of our staff team, unless they request this, so our usual team will be available to continue offering this essential care.
The full list can be found here…
Our managers are doing their best to contact relevant parents today, if you are attending, or not attending, please feel free to ring in and let us know too.
Any relevant invoices for April will be send out later once Shiree and Ben have the information from Managers. Please do not be offended if you get a call from my team asking for any outstanding fees from last month – they are crucial to our cash flow. We are grateful, as ever, for our prompt payers and are overwhelmed by your kind words.
During the break:
We know your little person will be missing their usual routine, their friend and our staff. We are working on developing some content to share on social media, story times, sing alongs, possibly live sessions. We would like you to share these with your little person where possible so they are still seeing familiar faces and are looking forward to seeing us again in a few weeks time. This partial closure is sudden, and it’s a scary time for them. Please chat to them about it, assure them they’re just taking a break, and stick to facts, be careful not to over dramatise the situation.
We have already been sharing some germ education bits that you might use to talk to your child about what is going on.
We will try and help you all keep your sanity at home by sharing some ideas for activities and inspiration.
Feel free to get in touch with us,
19th March 2020
Following last night’s announcement we will be FREEZING childcare places, and will not be issuing invoices as planned this week. Your place will be ready for you to use when you need to resume it.
We will continue to offer care for children of Key People, including out-of-school care at all sites. We will continue to offer care for children who have a Social Worker or children on an EHC plan.
The Government will soon be declaring the categories of Key People, we are waiting clarification but expect this to be:
Care industry staff
Food Retail staff
Emergency Services staff
We envisage that we may have space for children of these Key People who do not usually attend and will be struggling for childcare due to school closures, or because they are usually cared for by grandparents.
We appreciate it is a difficult time for lots of families, and we are happy to do whatever we need to support you if your family circumstances have changed.
You can keep us updated by emailing email@example.com or speaking to our managers and deputies.
In 30 years of business we have never known such uncertainty and we thank you for your ongoing support of our hardworking staff team.
17th March 2020
We continue to be led by latest Corona Virus update from the Government, we are thankful that the virus does not seem to be targeting children, however we must be mindful of following the recommendations to keep our community safe.
As with any infectious disease it is our policy to follow health guidelines on exclusion periods. The current exclusion period for a child with Corona Virus symptoms is 7 days from the start of the symptoms.
The current symptoms of the virus are:
- a high temperature – child feels hot to touch on their chest or back
- a new, continuous cough – this means the child has started coughing repeatedly
Your child can attend after the 7 day period provided their temperature has gone, they may continue coughing for longer. However the rest of the family should remain in isolation for 14 days since the start of your child’s symptoms to allow their own symptoms to develop should they have contracted the disease.
To help us protect our staff team please do not attend our setting to collect your child if you have symptoms yourself. If you are being sent home from work to isolate please ask someone else to collect your child. If this is not possible please ring the Nursery manager who will advise. If you have symptoms yourself you should keep your child home for 14 days following the government’s “Stay at Home” advice for households. Keep up to date here: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
Additional Care / Cancellation of places
The latest guidance will impact different families in different ways. We have had some families who have requested extra sessions so that children do not need to spend time with grandparents who are the most vulnerable group. We have also had some families handing in their notice to spend the Summer at home. We will do our best to work with you and meet each families’ needs. This will include potentially offering some care for children in the event of a school closure – dependent on government recommendations.
For extra sessions, which will be dependent on our ongoing staffing, we will priortise our parents who work for the NHS and in our emergency services.
We really appreciate all of your kind words to our worried staff team in these uncertain times, and appreciate your understanding should we need to contact you to advise you of symptoms. If there is anything that we can do to support you or your family please let us know.
13th March 2020
The latest Corona Virus update from the Government has made us all appreciate that this a marathon rather than a sprint and we are taking steps to protect our children, communities, and our staff over the coming months.
We really value your support as we head into unknown territory.
The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:
- new continuous cough and/or
- high temperature
For most people (including children), coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild infection.
If you, or your child, display the above symptoms please do not attend the setting and follow the government advice of staying at home for 7 days. Stay at Home guidance here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-people-with-confirmed-or-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection
If you are planning on travelling, or recently returning from abroad, please keep our manager informed.
We envisage more staff absence than normal – this may be prolonged over the coming months as the virus spreads. We will keep you informed if this will impact our ability to operate.
Infection Control Government Guidance is…
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze. See Catch it, Bin it, Kill it
- put used tissues in the bin straight away
- wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available. See hand washing guidance
- try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
We will also add some additional, sensible precautions as follows;
- Handwashing – educate the children with an effective handwashing technique and wash your own hands more frequently
- Increase hygiene around nursery on frequently touches areas – such as anti-bac door handles and hand rails.
- Keep areas clear, tidy and free of clutter, and confidential information in case we need to bring in deep cleans at short notice.
- Remove malleable play
- Visitors to Nursery will be asked not to attend if they are showing the symptoms, we’ll display a notice at the entrance to remind people of this (attached). This includes interviews, French lessons, Play and Stay, Baby Massage – ask “Are you displaying symptoms? If so, can we reschedule for in a weeks time?”
- Keep show-arounds, and meetings, brief and keep your distance – Close contact is 15 minutes contact of closer than 2 metres (3 steps). Explain to the parent that we are protecting our children and our staff from close contact.
- We have contacted AVT and asked for all student contact this month to be done by telephone or facetime – this shouldn’t cause a delay for our trainees but means we do not have assessors coming in who have been visiting lots of other settings. This has been approved by the Awarding Body as being acceptable.
- Stop community visits, no visits to libraries, residential homes, shops or parks for the coming months, or until we know more.
- No external training visits to other places/sites for the coming months or until we know more.
Review, Communicate and Continue to Keep Updated: We will continue to monitor the situation and make changes where necessary advise is changing on a day-to-day basis and we may need to do more in the coming months, we will keep you up to date with any changes that impact you,
If you have any specific queries please do not hesitate to contact your nursery manager,
Keep an eye on the vulnerable, together we can fight this.