Enforced Nursery Closure in relation to Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Firstly, may I start by offering my heartfelt thanks for all your positive and supportive comments to the dedicated team at your nursery. I know you appreciate this a challenging time for them all given the uncertainty that lies ahead, and I know they value your support tremendously. For my own part, having been in our nurseries over the last week I have witnessed their unfaltering dedication as they have continued to come into work with a smile on their face and offer an escape for your child when the world around us is trying to re-establish itself. We are so proud of our teams and hope you and your family have found comfort in how they have approached every day. They have faced new challenges never experienced before, allowing us to remain open and welcome you with open arms. Your kind words and wishes have gone a long way during a challenging time.
Following the government announcement last Wednesday, all schools and nurseries in the UK will close in order to suppress the spread of Coronavirus. This directive has come from the Prime Minister and his expert public health advisors as the best way to tackle the virus and protect people and communities, and we support that request. We fully appreciate the impact it will have on you and we are looking at ways we can still support you and your family.
At the present time, all our nurseries will remain open to those children who are vulnerable or whose parents are key workers who provide crucial services. We are proud to open for those who need us, and play our part in the community and the greater society need at this time.
- Parents who are key workers and families who are considered to have vulnerable children
If you are a key worker or are considered to have a vulnerable child, you can continue to attend your nursery as normal and your fees will remain unchanged. You may have already spoken with your Nursery Manager on this and we ask for your patience and understanding as we all work together in readiness to welcome you this week. If you are unsure whether you are represented within the key worker category then please refer to the government guidance at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision or speak with your Nursery Manager. It is vitally important that we have a firm understanding of the number of children expected in our nurseries each day. If you have not yet declared your intention to attend your nursery over the coming weeks, please can I ask that you do so with your Nursery Manager as soon as possible. Similarly, if you had previously indicated your intention to attend but have now made alternative arrangements please let your Nursery Manager know.
- Parents who are not key workers and don’t have vulnerable children
In line with Government guidance your nursery is now closed to you until further notice. As this closure is for an unspecified time, please can we kindly ask that you make arrangements with your nursery to pick up any belongings your child may need in the foreseeable future. Do remember to collect medications and much needed comforters too.
Whilst we hope to be allowed to reopen in full soon, the decision on when that happens is in the hands of the Government and their public health advisors. May I personally reassure you that we will be monitoring the situation closely and will share with you and our colleagues any news as soon as we have it. These are the most unusual and uncertain of times for us all, and our priority will be to support our families and colleagues to avoid financial hardship. I know you will want to know about your nursery fees during the time the nursery is closed and how that fits into supporting our nursery team.
March fees have (in the main) been paid and we kindly ask those families who have not yet paid to make arrangements to do so, as childcare for most of this month has been delivered. Our nursery teams will be paid in full for the months of March and April and we will be unable, given the timing of the announcement, to reduce other nursery related costs. It is for this reason that we are unable to offer a refund for the period of closure in March.
I absolutely understand many of your questions relate to your April fees, and we are aiming to provide further clarity on this as soon as possible. Late last week the Government announced some incredible support for our teams which we are in the process of working through and will communicate as a matter of priority, to provide the reassurance we know that everyone is waiting to hear. We have been, and will continue to be, in close contact this week with all of our teams, through their Nursery Managers, and we will continue to support and update them. Our first priority is to support our dedicated nursery staff through what may be challenging financial times ahead.
Closure of all nurseries was always a possible scenario and in readiness our Academic team have been working behind the scenes to ensure that the education of your children doesn’t stop. Children soak up a massive amount of information and learning in their early years and we are supporting parents with children at home by providing activities that will stimulate them and satisfy their thirst for learning. Over the coming days you will be receiving a variety of stimulating and creative ideas and activities via EYLog; in addition we are working on other ways to engage with children currently unable to attend our nurseries, and we will be sharing more information on this next week.
This is both a challenging and unusual situation, and our number one priority at this time is to support the parents and children that need us the most. Beyond that, we are working hard to protect the financial, health and mental wellbeing of our colleagues over the coming weeks, in order to ensure that we have strong and sustainable Nurseries to welcome parents back to as soon as we are able to resume normal operations. I would once again thank you for your understanding and your support to our colleagues and to your nursery.
I commit that we will keep you updated with any information as soon as we have it and know what it means for you and for our colleagues. In the meantime, if you do have any queries then please contact your Nursery Manager in the first instance. If they are unable to help please do get in touch with Kirsty Miller, Customer Relations on Kirsty.firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0207 622 0484.
Please keep healthy and safe.
Andy Morris Chairman,
Little Garden Day Nurseries