I am very sorry to tell you that due to the COVID-19 crisis we will be closing all of our clubs at 6pm this evening until the schools have returned. We have struggled to stay open this week to support Key Worker families, but most clubs have experienced little to no attendance.
A message from Dan McCaffrey, Director: Here we outline our anticipated response and detail what you can expect from us before, during and after the virus’ peak.
However, I would like to stress that we must make our plans based on several assumptions, that are shifting daily. Therefore, I ask for your patience and understanding should we need to change approach.
This is clearly an unprecedented event for our society to cope with. You will no doubt be aware of the measures being considered to control the speed of the spread of the virus, including the crucial question of whether to close schools.
My priorities as Director
I have three key priorities that will inform my thinking at each point of this process:
- To keep your children safe: I will ensure that your children are safe, well looked after and happy in our care.
- To support my staff: I am responsible for the health and welfare of my team.
- A quick restart after the peak passes: I will do everything in my power to ensure that, should we be forced to close, we can open again swiftly to help you get straight back to work.
What we know so far
The government hope to keep schools open for as long as possible, and ideally, to not close them at all. Under these circumstances, we will do everything we can to remain open. The approach is to try to delay and flatten out the peak of the virus, pushing it into the warmer months. This means that we may not be impacted in Class Of Their Own for some time yet. There is likely to be disruption for a number of months. We are hoping for business as usual, but planning for an adjusted service for the rest of the academic year and into the summer holidays.
Before the peak – what can parents and children expect from us now?
Club will continue to run as normal, and the children should see little difference in the interim – apart from a lot more handwashing. We will encourage children to stay as healthy as possible, whilst recognising the reality of trying to limit their contact to toys, equipment – and each other! Where possible, we will spend as much time as possible outdoors.
How can parents help?
I would ask you to keep repeating the message about handwashing to your children, and, where possible, limit elderly relatives coming to collect from our clubs. If you, your child or any member of your family is exhibiting symptoms, please follow the government advice and self-isolate for the required duration.
During the peak – the key question: Can childcare remain open if schools are mandated to close?
At present, there is no definitive answer to this question from Public Health England, Ofsted or the DFE. I have had preliminary discussions with our host schools, and made the Heads aware that, should we be allowed to remain open, our intention is to run as normal.
How will Class Of Their Own respond to school closures?
It is likely that when restrictive measures are put in place, that they will come into effect swiftly and we will need to comply with all due haste:
- If childcare is mandated to close (as well as schools), we will of course close.
- If we are able to remain open, and have the necessary consents, we will open in as many locations as possible. The rationale for this is that it is not the school buildings themselves that present the issue, more the large number of pupils, parents and staff attending each day.
- Where possible, we will try to open for the whole day, providing intermediate care between breakfast and after school club. This will require further discussion and risk assessment with our partner schools as well as sanctioning from the appropriate authorities. We are in the process of discussing this and once I have more information, I will update you again.
After the peak – if required, a quick restart
Should we experience a period of closure, we will do everything possible to ensure a quick restart for you and your children. We will remain in communication with you during any closure, and give you as much notice of reopening as possible.
With a great deal of uncertainty remaining around school closures, we will require more clarity before we can create a fair and equitable approach to refunds and/or credit. In the meantime, our existing Terms & Conditions will remain in place.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I will update you again as the situation develops, and I have more information for you.
I wish you and your families the very best of health.
Dan McCaffrey, Director, Class Of Their Own