COVID-19 and Topcats

Dear Parents, Carers


I would like to start by thanking you all for your calm and rational approach to the Coronavirus outbreak. Topcats continues to be guided on a daily basis by expert advice from the Government and Public Health England.


Staff and the board of trustees are developing contingency plans for all scenarios. We will communicate plans as they are required but as it stands our focus is very much on the continued support and services for our young people.

We are continuing to follow the COVID-19 guidance for educational settings which can be viewed here:
https://www.gov.uk/…/guidance-to-educational-settings-about…


The Government has also yesterday published new guidance as it enters the ‘delay’ phase of leading with COVID-19:
https://www.gov.uk/…/stay-at-homeguidance-for-people-with-c…


Taking advice from the above guidance, we have actioned the following:
1. Focusing on the importance of handwashing and good hygiene practices.
The core advice we are sharing with young people and staff is as follows:

• Washing hands often – (before eating, after coughing and sneezing, after using toilets and after travelling on public transport) with soap and hot water for 20 seconds

• Use alcohol sanitiser only if handwashing facilities are not available.

• Covering their cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in a bin.

• Use your elbow and sleeve to catch coughs and sneezes if you don’t have a tissue

• Avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands

2. Risk assessments for trips, activities and visitors. We have set specific risk assessments to complete which we will continually review in the lead up to the event. All will be evaluated on an individual basis, again predominantly following the COVID-19 guidance for educational settings available at that time.

3. Attending Topcats. New messages today from the Government and Public Health England advise that any person with a new continuous cough or high temperature should self-isolate for 7 days.
Therefore, if a child presents these symptoms at Topcats we will follow the COVID-19 guidance for educational settings above, as set out in paragraphs 5, 6, 7 and contact parents/carers to collect your child.

4. Fees. Currently our premises are open and will remain open for the near foreseeable future, and therefore our services will continue to be offered to our young people and will be charged accordingly as per usual.
However, if you decide to voluntarily not use our services, we will still invoice the flatline rate as this will secure their place here at Topcats for their return. This has been agreed by our Board of Trustee’s and should you have any further questions or queries with regards to this matter then please email annemarie@topcats.org.uk

5. Keep in contact with us. Thank you to all parents who are keeping in contact with us with any queries. We are continuing to review guidance on a daily basis to do all we can to make Topcats a safe environment for all.
I must stress that we have no confirmed cases of COVID-19, but if we do get a case, we will inform you immediately.

To support us with this, can we ask all parents to:

• Make Topcats aware of any travel plans in the coming months.

• Keep Topcats up-to-date with any changes to your child’s health.

6. Possible staff illness or self-isolation Over the next few days and weeks we may have members of staff who have to self-isolate if they have symptoms or have to take care of children who have symptoms, following the Government guidance to take action, even if you do not have a diagnosis of COVID-19.
In this instance we will do our best to make sure our service continues to operate as close to normal as possible. However, if the numbers of staff unable to attend means that we cannot operate safely we may have to consider partial closure or even full closure.
While we hope this will not be the case, I do need to share this possibility with you, things are moving fast, and we face challenging times in the next few days and weeks.

7. Department for Education coronavirus helpline The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care.

Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:

Phone: 0800 046 8687

Email: DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk

Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)

Thank you for your continued support and if you have any further queries on the above, please do not hesitate to contact me.

With best wishes,
Anne Marie Battrick
TOPCATS
Service Manager

“committed to providing supported activities and opportunities
for children and young adults with disabilities and complex needs”

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