Early Start COVID-19 Statement March 2020

Dear All,

I wanted to update you on our current service status given the rapidly developing public health situation with COVID-19. Whilst it is our intention to continue to provide our services as normal to as many of our customers as possible, as this situation develops it is paramount that we do everything we can to take care of our employees and protect our customers.

In light of the latest advice from the Government we will be introducing the following adjustments to our services:

  • Deploying staff from the Best Start in Life Programmes (Parenting, Nutrition, Volunteering and Children’s Centre team) to work from home. Delivering services where possible via video conference calls
  • Taking referrals and enquiries as usual through our website
  • Keeping our Nurseries and Centres open for as long as possible and being prepared to follow Government advice related to closure
  • Displaying signs asking our staff and customer, if they have symptoms of COVID19, not to come into our Nurseries and Centres but to contact us by phone or email instead
  • Reserving the right to send staff home to self-isolate and to refuse admission and ask staff/customers to seek medical advice via NHS111 or their GP
  • Continuing to follow good hygiene practices and asking all our customer to wash their hands on entry to our premises using the hand sanitiser stations provided
  • Social distancing where possible including the closure of smaller rooms in our centres which will limit capacity
  • Sending staff with pre-existing medical conditions or symptoms to work from home or for up to 12 weeks in-line with Government advice
  • Limiting all sessions in the Family Contact Centre to no longer than 1.5 hours per contact
  • Arranging for contacts via video call, where families are already known to us if they are self-isolating, and preparing to deliver the family contact services remotely in the event that the centre is closed
  • Cancelling all community based contacts but allowing them to continue in the centre
  • Cancelling parents evenings, all visitors to our site and all non-essential meetings
  • Updating our customers contact details and providing information on how to access services remotely using laptops and smart phones, where possible
  • Updating our website with key information and contacts

We believe it’s critical to do our part to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19 whilst striving to run our operations. Your health and safety is our top priority and at the heart of every decision we make. We are diligently following guidance and best practices from the NHS and PHE. Our leadership and customer service teams are available to answer any questions, to work with you, and provide more information as and when there are further developments or notices from Government.

  • We will be providing emergency paid time off to enable team members to quarantine if necessary
  • We will be asking individuals to refrain from travel, unless critical, and have established quarantine procedures after travel to high-risk areas
  • We are providing resources to help employees modify how they work, including flexible schedules for caregivers and remote work wherever possible.

While the environment around us is uncertain, we take comfort in the fact that we have a compassionate and loyal community of customers and a dedicated, skilled and flexible workforce. We hope that our websites, online training and social media can be a source of support. Please do not hesitate to ask us any questions or discuss any matters directly with us. There will be a duty manager for each service we deliver on duty, on a day basis, including during any potential period of closure. Again, contact numbers will be displayed on our website above and updated regularly should anything change.

Justin Elder

Managing Director of Early Start

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