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, cheryl.hadland@hadlandcaregroup.co.uk who will update the questions and answers on this page daily.

Questions

Answers

Who is a 'Key Worker'?

  • Health and social care
  • Education and childcare
  • Key public services
  • Local and national government
  • Food and other necessary goods
  • Public safety and national secretary
  • Transport
  • Utilities, communication and financial services

‘Vulnerable children’ includes children who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.

The guidance has advised that “if workers think they fall within the critical categories above they should they should confirm with their employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service”.

Only ONE parent is required to be a key worker.

I AM a key worker and I am required to work, how does this affect me?

Please can you advise the nursery of the hours you require for the foreseeable future by contacting your nursery administrator, nursery manager or send a message via your eyLog app messaging option. Please do not reply to this email as your reply does not go to the nursery your child attends.

Fees will be charged in the normal way and we aim to provide all meals as usual.  When your child attends next week we will require you to complete a short form to confirm that you do hold a ‘key worker’ position, the nursery administration/manager will have the forms available from Monday.

If you are a permanent or shift booker and your employer has asked to you increase your hours at work, we will do all we can to accommodate, please book any extra hours in the normal way

I am NOT a key worker and I am not required to work from next week, how does this effect me?

We will remove all payable bookings from next week and a credit will appear on your account. All invoices will be issued as normal for April, however, if your child is not attending the nursery the invoices will show a zero balance or a credit for week commencing 23rd March.

Any funded hours will be paid by the local authority as in line with local authority communication, if your child receives funding and you pay general extras, the general extra charges will be removed until your child returns to nursery.

Will regular monthly invoicing be suspended until nursery reopens?

Invoicing will continue as normal for key workers whose children will still be attending the nurseries.  For non-attending funded and non-funded children, zero value invoices will be raised.

Will the final week of March be refunded or credited to our account?

Credited to the account.

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?

Credited to the account.

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?

We don’t think so, but this is local authority dependent – further guidance will be issued when we know more.

If my child has a new persistent cough and/or high temperature, should I keep them at home?

Yes, please follow the government advice listed here.

If Tops close the nursery my child attends, do I have to pay?

We expect to stay open in order that Key Workers can work while we look after their children and vulnerable children can be cared for also.   In the very unlikely situation we have to close your nursery we would offer to accommodate your children at our other nurseries nearby.  You do not have to pay anything if the nursery closes and you do not accept a place in a nearby nursery.

What if I do not want my child to go to another nursery?

You are not obliged to send your child to another nursery and the government is keen that we keep as many children at home as possible to help limit the spread of the virus.  In this case, you will be refunded in the usual way as a leaver.

If my child is self-isolated (high-risk, advised, or voluntary) will I have to pay?

No, from Monday 23rd March no fees will be payable for children who are not attending due to the virus, or families going into isolation, or from having someone at home who can look after them, but please let us know as soon as possible so we can release the places for Key Worker children and potentially allow staff to rest too.

Can I reduce my child’s hours to funded only to avoid paying the additional fees during self-isolation?

Yes you can reduce your hours to funded only, this will keep your place open for your return to work.  No additional charges will be charged for any child not attending during the virus or during self isolation.

If I am a shift booker and choose to self-isolate with my child, would I have to pay my fees?

If scheduling for the hours booked has already been completed (completed at 2pm on Tuesday of the week before) then full fees will still apply just for that week.  Subsequently all charges invoiced already will be credited, including the 6 hour minimum if not used, and all invoices will be reduced to zero until the child returns including the 6 hour minimum.

In the event of staff shortages and the nursery not being able to provide childcare, do I still have to pay?

If the nursery cannot staff childcare for you then there will be no charge,  however we are working very hard to ensure that there are sufficient staff, including increasing our bank and casual staff numbers so we are not expecting to limit places for this reason at this time.

If my child is unable to attend nursery due to limited places can I use my funding at a later date?

No we don’t think so as the funding has been guaranteed to the nurseries.  However, this decision is made by the Local Authority who controls the funding. If we have any communication on this we will share it with you as soon as we possibly can.

If my child’s school gets closed can I bring my older child to Hi5’s Club?

In the first instance, priority for places will be given to children of:

  1. Our own staff children, to ensure we can continue to provide childcare to our current parents.
  2. Children under 5
  3. Children of Emergency Services and NHS personnel.
  4. Any Key worker or Vulnerable child who needs the place, on a first come first served basis.

We have increased the age range at those nurseries where we believe the environment would be suitable, up to 11 years old, others are limited to 8, and others have not increased, but we will identify the nearest club for your child on enquiry.

We are also looking at opening over the weekends if there is demand and if we can recruit staff for this.

Will I be informed if there is a confirmed case in my child’s 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 recommend this.  We have had no cases confirmed as of this update but of course we are expecting some over the next weeks and months.  We do have staff and children self isolating, and some with symptoms, and the virus is spread in the air as well as by contact, so we should assume that it is possible to catch the virus by attending a day nursery so vulnerable people should take extra precautions and also avoid coming into the nurseries if at all possible.  We are doing a lot more cleaning every day and during the day to help reduce infection in line with guidelines.

If there is a confirmed case in my child’s nursery and I choose not to bring them in, will I still be charged?

No, fees will not be charged if children are withdrawn during this pandemic and we would encourage children to be kept at home if it is possible.

Is it safe to bring my child into a setting if there has been a confirmed case?

There is a risk of infection now and that can be expected to increase once confirmed cases increase.  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 mildly but there are no guarantees of this and it is a worrying time for us all.  Children with diminished immunity should be kept at home if at all possible and every effort made to be calm and positive so that the children can be as relaxed and happy as possible in these circumstances, as this is good for their immune systems.  Any child developing a temperature or persistent cough while at nursery will be sent home immediately to try and restrict the spread of the virus.