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Nursery Life During Coronavirus

Proud to have provided childcare to keyworkers

Hopscotch has over 30 years of experience in providing first class childcare. Whilst we have also needed to adapt to recent changeable circumstances, we have drawn on our expertise and experience to ensure we were able to continue providing childcare to keyworkers throughout the lockdown period. Our passionate staff teams remained committed and available during this uncertain period and we continued to provide first class childcare to our key worker parents who needed it.

We are open

Since 1 June we have been able to reopen more broadly and we have used the lessons learnt during the lockdown period to help ensure our Ofsted outstanding nursery environments are safe, secure and supportive. The fact that our children have settled back into nursery life so happily and so quickly is a testament to all the hard work our Managers and staff have put into ensuring their return was smooth.

Wonderful testimonials from parents

Please see some of the wonderful testimonials we have had from our parents since reopening after lockdown on this page and also in our Testimonials section of the website.

What you need to know about nursery life during this time

We have tried to answer as many questions as possible but if you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at office@hopscotch.uk.com. We will do our best to respond as quickly as we can and add to this FAQ.

Is it safe to bring my child back to nursery?

We understand this is a worrying time for everyone and we want to make the transition back to nursery as smooth as possible. The safety and wellbeing of all our children and families is our number one priority.

We reopened our nurseries from 1 June 2020, as per Government guidance which has deemed the situation to be safe enough for Early Years settings to reopen and provide childcare to all families who need it.

Our Preston Park nursery has been providing childcare to key workers throughout the Coronavirus outbreak. During this time, we have implemented a number of new measures in the nurseries to mitigate the spread of the virus, which are explained in more detail below. We are happy to report that none of the families of key workers accessing the nursery contracted COVID-19 during this period, nor did any our staff.

We understand many of you will have concerns around returning to nursery at this moment in time, however, we will be using our vast experience in childcare to ensure all aspects of opening safely are considered and all necessary measures are implemented at every nursery location.

What are you doing to help children readjust to nursery life?

Our Nursery Managers will be in touch with you in the coming days to discuss your childcare needs and to organise a smooth transition back to nursery. Of course, some aspects of nursery life will be different and we are planning for this. Our professional and committed staff will do everything they can to ensure your children can return to nursery happy and reassured. We appreciate your help in preparing your child for these changes.

What are you doing to protect children and staff?

We are following all Government guidance on how to create a ‘COVID-secure’ environment to protect the wellbeing and health of all our children and staff. These include a detailed Site Operating Procedure (SOP) document for each nursery in addition to detailed risk assessments at each setting; implementing new social distancing measures where possible; creating smaller groups or ‘bubbles’ of children; continuing our emphasis on good hygiene and in particular on thorough and frequent handwashing; a renewed focus on outside learning and activities; and also developing health and wellbeing specific activities which will increase children’s awareness of good hygiene practices.

We will continue the frequent and thorough cleaning of all nursery areas. This will be led by our housekeepers, who we will be asking to work increased hours, and who will be supported in their duties by other staff members. In addition, we will be undertaking regular deep cleans of our nursery premises.

Will you be taking the temperatures of staff and children each day before they attend nursery?

No – as per Government guidance, there is no advice for us to take the temperatures of staff or children before they attend nursery. According to the Government advice, routine testing of an individual’s temperature is not a reliable method for identifying coronavirus. We therefore will instead reiterate the need to follow the standard national advice on the kind of symptoms to look out for that might be due to coronavirus, and where to get further advice. If anyone in the household develops a fever or a new continuous cough they are advised to follow the COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection guidance (which states that the ill person should remain in isolation for 10 days and the rest of the household in isolation for 14 days).

What about PPE?

We are following Government advice on this subject and currently there is no requirement for nursery staff to wear additional PPE items whilst working in the nursery. We will be asking staff who are answering doors at drop-off and collection times to wear some PPE including face masks, gloves and aprons in order to afford them extra protection at these times.

Staff who wish to wear their own masks or other PPE items will be permitted to do so.

How are you implementing social distancing?

Whilst maintaining a 2m distance at a nursery setting is not realistic (as acknowledged in Government guidance), there are a number of other measures we will be implementing to help mitigate the spread of the virus in the nursery environment. These include creating small cohorts of children, known as ‘bubbles’
who, where possible, will be led by the same member of staff. Bubble groups will be kept a safe distance from other bubble groups.

We will be asking parents to heed new staggered drop-off and collection times and to also be patient at these times. Parents will no longer be permitted to enter the nursery premises and although we understand this will be challenging, we will do our best to support you and your child at these times.

Prior to their return to work, all staff will undertake a Coronavirus Prevention and Awareness course which will inform and guide them in their work. Staff will also be inducted into our new Coronavirus specific risk assessments and working methods to ensure best practice measures are implemented across the board.

How can you ensure that the nursery environment is clean?

As always, excellent hygiene will be a priority for us. Our housekeepers will be working increased hours and we will also be asking other team members to undertake regular cleaning duties on a regular basis. We are investing to ensure we have the most effective cleaning tools, such as steamers, available to our staff as well as providing an array of cleaning products which have been identified as being particularly successful in eradicating germs. Of course, we will ensure all the relevant COSHH assessments are undertaken to ensure these products are safe to be used in the nursery environment.

We will also be limiting the use of soft furnishings and fabric resources, including the softplay rooms. Our staff teams are already developing healthy and rewarding exercise activities as fun alternatives.

Will your staff have access to testing?

Since nursery staff are considered to be key workers, they will be able to be fasttracked for a test if they are experiencing symptoms or someone in their household is experiencing symptoms, even if the member of staff is asymptomatic. We are registered with the Government’s key worker testing referral portal and we will be utilising the service as needed to ensure we can quickly identify any staff who might be infected with the virus and then take the necessary steps.

Do your normal Terms & Conditions apply?

We want as many children to return to nursery as possible, but we realise there are still some concerns about returning on 1 June. We are therefore temporarily adapting our Terms & Conditions to allow a greater degree of flexibility for our families who do not yet wish to resume their normal childcare routines.

We will not charge parents who do not wish to resume their usual childcare arrangements in June. However, we will be asking for the following retainer payments to cover non-attendance in subsequent months: 50% of your normal fees during July and August. Further details are available on our website here: https://www.hopscotch.uk.com/how-to-pay/terms-conditions/ and our Managers will talk you through these when they speak to you this week.

We will be frequently reviewing these temporary terms with a view to returning to our standard Terms & Conditions by 1 September 2020.

We appreciate your patience and understanding during this time when we will all be adjusting to new ways of doing things. Subsequently we expect to be extremely busy. We want to be as flexible as possible to meet your needs during this uncertain time. However, we also request that you respect and appreciate that we, and our staff teams, have also experienced a period of great uncertainty and we are doing our best to organise, plan and deliver first-class childcare in these difficult circumstances and with many constraints. Abiding by these temporary Terms & Conditions will help us to do this and will also help us plan how many staff we need to bring back from Furlough Leave and at what point to do so.

We would also like to take this opportunity to remind you that failure to provide payment on time will mean we are not able to provide you with childcare and your booking at Hopscotch may be terminated if payment is not promptly made.

My child will only be able to attend by using their free entitlement hours. Is this allowed?

Normally, entitlement hours must be combined with other hours at Hopscotch. However, as recognition of the current situation, we are exploring ways to be more flexible in the way funding hours are applied. Please discuss this with your Nursery Manager or our Head Office who will be able to advise on further details.

Information about how changes to personal circumstances may affect the allocation of funding by the Government is provided below.

How should I travel to nursery?

We are asking all our families and staff to either travel to nursery via car or to cycle or walk where possible. Public transport is not being encouraged as an option and you should notify us if this is how you intend to travel to and from nursery.

If you are driving, please ensure you park in a safe and legal way and that you also consider social distancing then walking to and from nursery.

We also ask that you are alert and respectful of our neighbours, members of the public and other parents and families during travel to and from nursery.

How will I pay for childcare?

Due to social distancing measures, we are now no longer able to accept cash or cheques as a payment method at our nurseries. We hope to introduce an online payment system soon and will update you in due course. In the meantime, you will still be able to pay by BACS and other payment choices such as TFC, Voucher Payments and Direct Debits will not be affected. It is still possible to make a card payment by calling Head Office but due to low staff numbers this may take some time to process and we would therefore encourage you to utilise other payment methods if possible.

Will you be providing hot lunches and teas from Little Tums as usual?

We plan on reintroducing Little Tums meals back to the nursery from the 1st September 2020 once we are satisfied that all other aspects of nursery life are back to normal. This will allow us to concentrate on ensuring our children are as settled as possible as we reopen our nurseries after being closed for such a long time. Staff will therefore be able to focus on helping our children re-establish their daily routines. Once we are happy these have been properly re-established then we will reintroduce the availability of Little Tums meals again. We will communicate this to you in due course. In the meantime, we appreciate your ongoing patience by providing packed lunches for your child and we ask you to be mindful of our allergy policies. Our Nursery Managers can advise on these if needed.

Does my funding still apply?

It is our understanding that, certainly for this term (summer), there will be no changes to any funding which has already been assigned to your child, even if your own personal circumstances have changed. More information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-can-get-tax-free-childcare-and-30hours-free-childcare-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Will you close again in the future if there is a second spike of the virus?

Prior to this outbreak, Hopscotch had never unexpectedly closed in over 32 years of business and we were extremely proud of this record. We are sad that we had to close some of our nurseries, but we are also very proud that we have been able to keep our Preston Park nursery open for key workers. Our Core Team have done a wonderful job during this time.

Like many of you, we simply do not know what the future holds. We are, of course, hopeful that we can all get back to normal life as quickly as possible, but we recognise this will take time and patience. We will continue to monitor the Government’s advice and we will follow whatever guidance is issued whilst also navigating through the complex challenges thrown up by this outbreak as best as we can.

Will nursery life go back to ‘normal’?

Hopscotch will continue to strive to provide the best possible childcare for our Hopscotch families and to ensure our children thrive and flourish in our safe, supportive and outstanding nursery environments.

We have tried to answer as many questions as possible but if you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at office@hopscotch.uk.com. We will do our best to respond as quickly as we can and add to this FAQ.

For further reading on Returning to Hopscotch please see the guide below:

For further reading from the government on the guidance mentioned above see below:

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