As I’m sure you can appreciate we are experiencing an extremely high level of questions regarding the impact of Covid-19. Therefore, we have put together a list of frequently asked questions to help answer your queries.
We are prioritising our time ensuring we have the effective measures in place to protect our staff and children but if you have any further questions, that aren’t answered on this page, please email Cheryl Hadland, firstname.lastname@example.org who will update the questions and answers on this page regularly.
- Guidance for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person
- Will my child's Early Years Funding still be used during lockdown?
- What to do if your child develops symptoms of COVID 19?
- Do I need to wear a mask when collecting or dropping off my child, even if this is from outside?
- Do I have to wear a mask if I am exempt from wearing a mask?
- My child has been displaying symptoms of COVID what do I do?
- My child was displaying symptoms of COVID so I got them tested but the test has come back as Negative, can they return to nursery?
- I would like to return my child to nursery, what terms and conditions apply?
- I am not required to work as I am on furlough, how does this effect me? Or my hours have been reduced at work, or I have been made redundant.
- Can all children return to Hi5's Club?
- Will regular monthly invoicing be suspended for any reason?
- If we continue our monthly childcare voucher payments of £486/mth will these be held on account towards care in the future once nursery reopens?
- Will funded hours be rolled forward where they fall in a period that nursery is closed? eg. assuming you are still closed for the start of summer term, the funded hours that would normally fall in those weeks can instead be rolled forward to cover for example some of the (usually unfunded) summer holidays?
- If Tops close the nursery my child attends, do I have to pay?
- Can I reduce my child’s hours to funded only to avoid paying any additional fees ?
- If I am a shift booker and choose to self-isolate with my child, would I have to pay my fees?
- If my child is unable to attend nursery due to limited places can I use my funding at a later date?
- What is a bubble?
- If there is a confirmed case in my child’s nursery and I choose not to bring them in, will I still be charged?
- Is it safe to bring my child into a setting if there has been a confirmed case?
- Why is Tops now providing all meals and stopping pack lunches
Guidance for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person
Will my child's Early Years Funding still be used during lockdown?
Early years funding will still be applied throughout the lockdown whether your child attends or not and cannot be deferred to a later date.
What to do if your child develops symptoms of COVID 19?
If your child develops symptoms of COVID-19, they must not come to nursery and should remain at home for at least 10 days from the date when their symptoms appeared. Anyone with symptoms will be eligible for testing and this can be arranged via https://www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.
All other household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 10 days. This includes anyone in your ‘Support Bubble’.
The 10-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill / starting showing symptoms.
Household members should not go to work, school, nursery or public areas and exercise should be taken within the home.
If you require help with buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication, or walking a dog, you should ask friends or family. Alternatively, you can order your shopping online and medication by phone or online.
Household members staying at home for 10 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community. If you are able, move any vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period.
Do I need to wear a mask when collecting or dropping off my child, even if this is from outside?
We would like all parents during drop off and collection to wear a mask to provide another layer of protection for yourselves and the team. Regardless if you are dropping off or collecting from an outside area please wear a mask.
The World Health Organisation published a statement on 21 August about children and face coverings. They now advise that “children aged 12 and over should wear a mask under the same conditions as adults, in particular when they cannot guarantee at least a 1-metre distance from others and there is widespread transmission in the area.”
We are asking that masks are worn as another layer of protection for yourself and for our team, especially at this time of rising cases of COVID-19. At times it may not be possible to self-distance when collecting the children from the parents especially the younger children.
There are no consequences for not wearing a mask when dropping off and collecting the children, this is just an additional safety measure we have introduced to protect yourselves and the team and like with all of our policies and procedures we would kindly ask you to follow them.
Do I have to wear a mask if I am exempt from wearing a mask?
No, we understand and respect that some people are exempt from wearing masks.
My child has been displaying symptoms of COVID what do I do?
Your child will need to self-isolate until they have a COVID test which will determine next steps.
My child was displaying symptoms of COVID so I got them tested but the test has come back as Negative, can they return to nursery?
If your child has not been in contact with a confirmed case and has a negative result – yes they can return back to nursery providing they are well enough to attend.
I would like to return my child to nursery, what terms and conditions apply?
Exactly the same terms and conditions as applied before the Covid-19 pandemic now apply, so please refer to your original contracts. A new price list has been produced as we are now including all meals in our settings due partly to wanting to restrict as many items coming in from home as possible, but also significantly because around 50% of children attending now have allergies so this policy will make it safer, and more convenient for all parents, for a very competitive charge.
If you are a permanent or shift booker and your employer has asked to you increase or decrease your hours at work, we will do all we can to accommodate, please book any extra hours or reduce hours in the normal way.
If you wish to delay your child’s re-start for any reason then a retainer is applicable to keep the place, or you can withdraw giving one months notice and rebook for a date of your choice to suit you and your family situation.
I am not required to work as I am on furlough, how does this effect me? Or my hours have been reduced at work, or I have been made redundant.
Your child can still continue with their care and education at Tops, or you can retain the place with a retainer, or you can withdraw as you feel appropriate, please see above and your normal terms and conditions/contract.
Can all children return to Hi5's Club?
Yes, all children can return to Hi5s in the holiday, however, group numbers will be limited in line with government advice. Our nurseries are usually much quieter in the holidays allowing us additional space to move children and to utilise all the indoor and outdoor areas.
Will regular monthly invoicing be suspended for any reason?
No, invoicing will resume as it was before Covid-19 pandemic.
If we continue our monthly childcare voucher payments of £486/mth will these be held on account towards care in the future once nursery reopens?
Yes these will have been credited to your account but please do check and let us know if this hasn’t appeared so it can be corrected if necessary.
Will funded hours be rolled forward where they fall in a period that nursery is closed? eg. assuming you are still closed for the start of summer term, the funded hours that would normally fall in those weeks can instead be rolled forward to cover for example some of the (usually unfunded) summer holidays?
No, no funding has been rolled forward, funding has been used towards overheads and staff remaining at work.
If Tops close the nursery my child attends, do I have to pay?
Previously, when we have advised a child needs to self-isolate we have had a number of parents ask us the position regarding the charging of nursery fees. We do appreciate that government guidance, whilst it only deals with general principles, suggests that parents should not be charged during this period. Elsewhere, the guidance suggests that a nominal fee could be charged to maintain services. We want to be fair to all our parents, and this includes both being flexible where the law says children cannot attend, and at the same time, charging fairly so we can maintain our nursery’s viability into the future. Without the payment of nominal fees, we may be in a position where we are unable to keep the nursery open.
Accordingly, when children are instructed to self-isolate we will charge a nominal fee each week of only 6 hrs as of Monday 11th January 2021. We can continue to offer services to any child asked to self-isolate but able to produce a daily negative lateral flow test. Your nursery manager can assist you to locate and perform a test. We hope this will go some way towards keeping the nursery open, functional, and staffed to our usual high standard. We appreciate that everyone is making difficult decisions in a rapidly changing situation. If you are struggling to pay for your child’s place at this time, please approach us and we will do our best to work with you to find a solution. If you have any questions regarding your invoices please do not hesitate to contact a member of the admin team for your nursery.
Can I reduce my child’s hours to funded only to avoid paying any additional fees ?
You will need to speak to your manager as there may be a waiting list for funded only places, as priority is given to those children who need education and care for longer. Funded only children’s places are paid for until the end of the summer term, and if not attending then no additional fees will be charged.
If I am a shift booker and choose to self-isolate with my child, would I have to pay my fees?
Normal terms and conditions pre Covid-19 have been resumed, so if you have booked hours and your child cannot attend then you will still be charged, but you can reduce your booking to the minimum to retain the place until such time as your child can return, and if you have not booked any hours but have not withdrawn your child then the minimum retainer will be charged. 1 months notice of withdrawal is still required.
If my child is unable to attend nursery due to limited places can I use my funding at a later date?
No, this decision was made by the Local Authority who controls the funding.
What is a bubble?
In line with government guidance, we are keeping bubbles in place within our age groups, there are no limits to amount of children in each bubble.
If there is a confirmed case in my child’s nursery and I choose not to bring them in, will I still be charged?
Fees will be charged unless the nursery is closed by either Tops or Public Health, as they are if children are off for any other reason.
Is it safe to bring my child into a setting if there has been 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.
The nurseries will follow the guidance given by Public Health England as per any other notifiable virus, such as measles, mumps and scarlet fever, and staff will spend more time on cleaning and hygiene, and less on administration, record keeping and audit during this period.
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 (letter from their GP) 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 this is good for their immune systems and also for their education.
Why is Tops now providing all meals and stopping pack lunches
We have been looking at all the items that children bring in and out of nurseries that could increase the opportunities for the Covid-19 virus, but we also have a major allergy problem with many children, in fact around 50% of children in the UK now have intolerances and allergies, and the latest advice (not law yet) from Environmental Health is that all food should include information on the 14 allergens on them to help us keep allergens away from children with those allergies and this has become very challenging for staff, and would be for parents if we asked you to label up all the food you supply. We have costed the food up very competitively, and introduced a one charge for all food also, to make this change as easy as possible, and indeed particularly good value for children staying for longer periods, but also possible for parents to avoid the charge by not attending at lunch times, or electing for us not to provide a tea at tea time in the event that you are providing a meal shortly afterwards, or not booking a breakfast because you have just provided a breakfast.