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 regularly.

Questions

Answers

Who is able to return their child/ren to nursery from June 1st.

All early years children are welcome back at Tops Day Nurseries from June 1st and all school aged children within the age band of the individual nurseries are welcome to attend High 5s in school holidays,  but still only critical workers children before and after school.

Only ONE parent is required to be a critical worker for us to facilitate a  High 5s/out of school place, as follows:

  • 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”.

 

I would like to return my child to day 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 holidays, but following further advice on the grouping of children we will now only be able to offer our breakfast and after school provision, if you are a critical worker.

We anticipate that we will be able to continue to offer holiday club care to all children for the forthcoming summer holidays, 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.

Will I get a refund for fees for the last week of March when my child did not attend?

Yes if you paid in advance, this will have been credited to your account but please do check and let us know if nothing has appeared and you were expecting it to.

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

Absolutely,  please follow the government advice listed here. We request that if a child starts demonstrating COVID symptoms that you get them tested and supply us with the result. If the result is positive we may need to take action depending on when they were last at nursery so getting tested is really important.

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

No, if the nursery is closed then no charges will apply for attending that nursery.  At this point all our nurseries are open except Tops Copnor which is in the Roko Sports Club, and not allowed to re-open until gyms and sports clubs are released from lock down.  Children and staff have been diverted to our other local Tops Day Nurseries in Lakeside, the Queen Alexandra Hospital, and Southsea.

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

You are not obliged to send your child to another of our nurseries and 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?

Our “Shift Booking” policy applies to all bookings. Once hours have been confirmed for the following week these fees are still payable.  If you are keeping your child off beyond June 1st please speak to the manager to retain a place or withdraw to a date of your choice in the future.

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.

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

We do not expect to have staff shortages at this time due to low occupancy of children compared to pre-Covid-19, but if a staff shortage did occur, and we were not able to utilise our bank, casual or colleagues from nearby nurseries, and our staff ratios to children were at risk, then we would be forced to turn children away and you would not be charged.  We have never had to do this in the past, and have no expectation that we would need to in the future.

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.

If my child’s school does not re-open can I bring my older child to Hi5’s Club?

This is possible, provided that the Hi5s club had space and the facilities appropriate to your child, you would need to ask the Nursery manager on an individual basis.  We are not accepting Hi5s children before or after school as well as them going to school, unless they are Key/Critical Workers children currently, in line with government advice.

What is a bubble?

In line with government guidance, all of our group sizes have been reduced to a maximum of 16 children, and each group is known as a ‘bubble’. These groups of children and staff do not mix with other groups, this reduces the risk of spreading COVID around the whole nursery should there be a positive case.

What happens if there is a confirmed case in my child’s nursery?

If a child or staff member develops COVID symptoms they will isolate from other children and staff at the nursery and we request they are collected asap. Parents will be asked to gain a COVID test for their child and keep the nursery updated with results as soon as they receive them.

If we have a confirmed case of Covid-19 we will inform parents. The child who tested positive will have to remain at home for 7 days and the children and staff that are part of the same room/bubble as the child will have self isolate for 14 days in line with government guidance.

However, we have no plan to close the setting unless Public Health recommends this.  We have only one child case in one nursery confirmed as of this update, the child caught the virus from their NHS parents, and despite attending before any symptoms presented, there was no spread of the virus in the nursery.  We have also had one member of staff have a confirmed case of Covid-19 and work in the nursery before symptoms presented, and also had no spread of the virus in that nursery.    We are doing a lot more cleaning every day and during the day to help reduce infection in line with guidelines but we cannot guarantee that the virus is not present in our nurseries but please do ask to see the nursery risk assessments to see what actions we are doing to reduce the risks to children and staff.  We are confident that there is a very very low risk to under 5s having any serious symptoms of the Covid-19 virus or complications, and we have noticed that the usual viruses going around nurseries such as Slap Face, Foot and Mouth, Chicken Pox have dropped off actually to none during the lock down period.

We will also let all parents in a child’s nursery know if we send any child home with a temperature and a new persistent dry cough, but at this point, not just for a temperature as it could be caused by anything, and the precautions are the same as for any other potential illness.  Any child with a temperature or feeling unwell, will taken to comfort in a side room until parents collect and staff will wear  PPE and the rooms will be deep cleaned to reduce any risk of spread of any virus.

Will I be charged fees if my child has to self isolate for 14 days due to a positive COVID case in their room/bubble?

Yes, our standard terms and conditions apply. Absences due to positive results or temporary isolation are no different to children being off sick with chicken pox, hand foot and mouth and all the other contagious illnesses that children tend to pick up.

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.