I suppose I’ve been lucky that my daughter’s nursery has not, until now, closed due to some parent, ignorant of the facts, informing them of an asymptomatic (healthy) PCR positive test result.
But the inevitable has happened and I received an email today, so of course I fired off a response, asking the nursery whether I should be expected to be refunded the fees I have paid, or whether they are accepting key worker / vulnerable group children in the nursery during the closure period. I received a clear “NO” to both, quoting part of their terms and conditions, which state that where the closure is – get this – BEYOND THEIR CONTROL, there will be no refunds.
Well, common sense would say that following a guideline doesn’t count as being ‘beyond your control’ so here is my response, which you are welcome to use as template and adapt according to your own circumstances…
Hi Xxxxxxx and Xxxxxx
Thanks for your quick reply.
Where you say, “we are fully closed during the isolation period as per government guidelines,” this appears to mean that you are following guidelines, rather than enforced rules, when it comes to the closure of the nursery. Obviously, we accept you are taking this action because you believe it to be in everybody’s best interests; but it is difficult to see how such a closure can be, as you say, beyond your control. I say this because, if it were not up to you, and the government or some other body were forcing you to close the nursery, then it would be the government or that other body who would be responsible for compensating the parents for their financial loss during the closure period.
So, if there are hard rules that you are following, which you have no control over, and are forced to close whether you choose to or not, please forward me a written copy of these rules so that I can claim for my loss against the responsible party.
If you don’t have written enforced rules, or you are following guidelines that leave it to your discretion how you manage a situation involving a positive PCR test, then I would have to say the closure is not beyond your control.
I have every sympathy for you in these difficult times. I would remind you however that the evidence shows nursery age children to be at practically zero risk from covid – both in catching and transmitting the disease. That, and the impact of the disruption to their routine from the closure would naturally have formed part of your decision-making. I am not suggesting you change your decision, only that you compensate for losses resulting from your decision, where it is not a decision beyond your control. You could perhaps try to claim back from the government any compensatory payouts you make to parents, if you believe the government is ultimately responsible, since they issued guidelines that you have followed. I imagine the government’s response would be that, because it was only a guideline, the legal responsibility for the decision was yours – so it might be worth seeking legal advice on this, if you are unsure.
Please could you also provide me with a copy of the particular guidelines you are following, as they seem to be directed at schools rather than nurseries.
Also please inform me what compensation the nursery will receive when deciding to close for positive PCR results, including whether you can be compensated for the deep clean, and whether there is a ‘covid budget’ in place.
Finally can I suggest rather than just posting home learning tips and lessons, perhaps xxxxx, xxxxx and xxxxx could each provide an hour of their time on zoom, every day during the closure period. The children will miss them, and may also benefit from seeing each other on a zoom session, if they can’t see each other face to face. I am assuming of course that you will continue to pay your staff, or that they can claim furlough, during the closure period. So if they can continue to work with the children remotely this would ease the burden on parents who must continue to work while their children are forced to isolate at home.
Needless to say, I am furious at this turn of events, which the nursery has informed is due to an asymptomatic person having tested positive.
Hope you are keeping your spirits up during this humanitarian crisis. Please continue to raise your vibration every day and put out your strong determination for a better world.