Dear Parents and Carers,
We write to you to set out the arrangements we have made to open up Gosforth Park Out of School Club from 1st June to more children.
Before we set out these arrangements, we would like to take this opportunity to thank parents and carers for their understanding and cooperation since we had to close to the majority of children from 23rd March, in particular your agreement to continue paying towards fees. This has allowed us to continue to pay all of our staff 100% wages whilst operating a very small service for key workers. This has meant five staff working throughout this time. As many of you will know, furlough although a massive help is rarely 80% of staff’s current wages so without your help we could not have paid all the staff in full.
We know that this period has been challenging for many families, in particular when you have had to juggle work commitments with managing childcare, if you have children with special educational needs or disability, or if you are a single parent.
We are pleased to let you know that, further to the government’s announcement that early years and childcare providers will open from 1 June, we have been working hard to take the necessary steps to be ready to welcome back children.
Which children can attend from 1 June?
As you know, we have remained open for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children since 23rd March and have been operating with smaller group sizes and additional hygiene and infection control measures.
The government is now encouraging all eligible children to attend school and it is no longer necessary for parents of eligible children to keep them at home if they can. For the vast majority of children and young people, coronavirus is a mild illness. We have lists from the school indicating which children who attend the Out of School Club are returning to school. We will assume that all of these children will be attending the Out of School Club for their usual sessions unless we hear otherwise from you. If your child is returning to school and you haven’t had an individual email from us please do get in touch as soon as possible.
Protective measures we are taking in light of coronavirus (COVID-19)
First and foremost, it goes without saying that the safety of your child and of our staff is our top priority. We are working hard, following the latest government guidance, to develop and implement a number of new ways of operating. This will allow us to open as safely as possible, focusing on measures that will help limit the risk of coronavirus transmitting within our setting.
We are attaching a document that explains all the steps we are taking. These include:
- Asking that anyone who is displaying coronavirus symptoms, or who lives with someone who does, not to attend the setting. That includes children and staff who work here.
- Keeping our children in small groups with as much consistent staffing as possible, and minimising contact with other groups around the setting.
- Cleaning our hands more often than usual. We have developed routines to ensure children understand when and how to wash their hands, making sure they wash them thoroughly for at least 20 seconds using running water and soap and dry them thoroughly, or use alcohol hand rub or sanitiser ensuring that all parts of the hands are covered.
- Ensuring our children understand good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach and ensuring a good supply of tissues and bins throughout the setting.
- Implementing an enhanced cleaning schedule, ensuring surfaces touched by children and staff are cleaned regularly and throughout the day, including table tops, door handles and play equipment.
- Asking parents and carers to physically distance from each other and from staff when dropping off and collecting their children and to limit drop off and collection to one parent or carer per household. In order to do this we are asking parents to wait in the car park on arrival and collection.
In the mornings we are asking all parents to ensure that they arrive between 745am and 815am. There will be a member of staff standing mid way between the car park and the entrance to the school. Please bring your child to the entrance to the school grounds and send them to this member of staff, as you know this is only about 20 metres. If you arrive late the staff member will no longer be there in which case you will need to text the club phone 07941413728 to let them know you have arrived and a member of staff will come out to collect the children. We would urge you to arrive on time as it will have an adverse effect on the safe running of the club if you are late.
After school you may collect at any time. If you arrive between 4.45pm and 5.00pm there will be a member of staff in the same spot who will use the walkie talkie to call for your child to be sent out. Please do not enter the school grounds. If you arrive at another time please stay in the car park area and text the club to let us know that you have arrived. A member of staff will bring your children out to you.
- Asking children not to bring toys or other items from home to the setting.
What can parents and carers do to help?
There are a number of things parents and carers can do to help us make these arrangements effective, in addition to the points listed above concerning arrival and departure and not bringing toys to the setting.
- If your child is displaying symptoms or has displayed symptoms (cough, fever, loss of smell/taste), in the previous 7 days or lives with someone who has displayed symptoms in the last 14 days, they should not attend the club unless they have tested negative for coronavirus.
- If your child develops symptoms at the club they will be isolated and you will be called to collect them immediately. Further details can be read in the attached document.
- Please talk to your children about the return to the Out of School Club and how things will be different, emphasising the need for them to listen carefully to staff about washing their hands and keeping their distance from other children as much as possible, particularly for example, at times when they are all hanging up coats and bags. We are very aware that this has been a time of uncertainty, change and perhaps anxiety for children and that perhaps some children are suffering bereavement. Many of them may not feel happy about coming back to school, others may be very keen to get back. We would encourage you to share with us how your children are feeling and if there are any concerns that you have.
Once early years and childcare providers open to more children, all children who are attending a childcare setting will have access to a test if they display symptoms of coronavirus, and are encouraged to get tested in this scenario. The aim is to enable children to get back to childcare, and their parents or carers not to need to self-isolate any longer than is necessary, if the test proves to be negative. A positive test will ensure rapid action to protect other children and staff in their setting.
We ask all parents and carers to ensure they organise a test for their child, in the event that they develop coronavirus symptoms, and notify us immediately of a positive test. Further guidance is available about getting tested.
We hope that this letter and attached document has given you the information you need to understand what arrangements we have made to enable children to return to us from 1st June. We are looking forward to welcoming your children back and we hope that you are assured that we have taken all possible steps to ensure safety for all in our setting. If you have any questions or suggestions, please let us know.
Jo and Margaret