Coronavirus

Update to Government Guidance Monday 20th July

The first phase of easing out of lockdown has now been in place for a month – but just as we have started to get used to our ‘new normal’, that guidance has changed. From the 20th of July nurseries are no longer required to keep children in quite such small groups – but are still expected to minimise mixing where possible. Whilst we are clearly delighted that this ultimately means more spaces becoming available for our families, the reintroduction of more children to the nursery will require some planning.

Due to the restrictions on group sizes that we’ve been operating with, we have been keeping small static groups of children together, with the same group of staff on rotation. In order to facilitate this, normal age bands for rooms have been temporarily suspended so that we have been in a position to keep siblings and family groups together. We are delighted to let you know, that given the changes set out by Government, we can now begin to revert those groups back to being organised more closely by ‘age and stage’. The nursery team will shortly be discussing with you any changes this may result in for your child. To support this change we will be un-furloughing all staff so that there are more familiar faces around to help the children to adapt into new (yet, familiar) surroundings and/or social groups.

If you have had to make changes to your usual booking pattern as a result of Covid-19 restrictions then over the next few days, your Nursery Manager will be contacting you to discuss your current requirements and our availability. Each request, or follow up, needs time and care to process so we would ask, once again, that you bear with us while we put these plans in place. Following this, from Monday 27th July, we will be in a position to open spaces up to more families in our nurseries.

In line with government guidance, and to reduce risks of any transmission, we’d like to remind you that your child is still only able to attend one childcare setting at this time. If your child would normally attend multiple childcare settings, including childminders, then you will need to choose which you would like them to attend. If this has any impact on your booked place/sessions with us then please notify us of any changes as soon as possible.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the tremendous patience and understanding you’ve shown us throughout this time. We will get through this together!

 


Friday 20th March 2020-

Thank you for your continued support in following the advice and guidance of Public Health England to ensure those in our community are kept as safe as possible from COVID-19. As you are no doubt already aware, the guidance issued by Government on Wednesday 18th March in relation to COVID-19 (also known as Coronavirus) was for schools and nurseries to close from Friday 20th March.

The latest Government advice states that if it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be. However, as per these guidelines, we will also offer essential childcare to children of key workers (operating to our normal working hours). This is limited to those who are critical to the Covid-19 response who would otherwise have no option but to stay at home to ensure safe supervision of their children. 

To find the latest information including the list of critical work sectors:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

The aim is to keep the number of children coming into nursery to a minimum. Please therefore review this information carefully to identify whether you fall into one of the key worker categories and inform us of any essential childcare requirements at your earliest convenience. Children whose parents do not fall into these groups should remain at home.

We feel it prudent at this point to emphasise that we do not currently have any information about what will happen in regard to fees but as soon as we have any update on this we will communicate this to you.

Thank you once again for your support of the nursery and understanding during this challenging time. We intend to do the very best for our families and will work our very best to support you. We will be using social media and email to keep in touch and provide suggestions around activities you can be doing with your children at home.

Please do everything you can to stay safe and look after yourselves and your loved ones.


-Thursday 19th March 2020-
Further to advice and guidance issued yesterday, we are still awaiting further details on how we support the care of children of key workers (e.g. NHS staff). As soon as we have this detail, we will finalise our plans and communicate this to you including how/who is classified as a key worker and what kind of provision will be in place. We are now unlikely to be able to provide any further information until tomorrow (Friday 20th March).

We appreciate your patience and understanding. Thank you


-Wednesday 18th March 2020-
Further to advice and guidance issued by Government this evening (Wednesday 18th March) in relation to COVID-19 (also known as Coronavirus), First Steps Childcare nurseries will be closing from the end of the day on Friday 20th March.

We are in discussion with the Local Authority regarding how we support the care of children of key workers (e.g. NHS staff). The details of this are still being finalised and we will provide more detailed information on this tomorrow (Thursday 19 March). This is a fast-changing and challenging situation and we appreciate your patience and understanding at this time.

We understand that you will have a number of questions and we will provide a further briefing at the earliest opportunity