From all of us at Extratime I am writing to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I am also sharing some important information about clubs in January and details about COVID-19 notifications over the festive period.
Christmas and New Year
For many of us, this Christmas will be very different to normal as we navigate the latest Covid-19 arrangements, but whatever shape your festivities take, I hope you and your family are able to have fun and enjoy the holidays.
This Christmas, as well as new toys and games in the clubs we’re also giving the children and young people some Extratime goodies. Santa has delivered these little gifts to the clubs this week, so if for any reason your child or young person hasn’t been there to collect them, be assured they will be there for them in January.
At Extratime we have started to look ahead to January and beyond with optimism and hope for a better 2021. The start of the vaccination roll out is a great development.
Our well established COVID-19 secure working practices will stay in place of course and we’ll continue to carefully follow government guidance and local Public Health advice, but we are also planning exciting new activities for 2021.
This includes creating extra places in some of the clubs and (COVID factors allowing), getting the holiday scheme capacity back to pre-COVID levels. We are also starting some exciting new projects with our colleagues at Amaze, Stay Up Late and PaCC. In January we will also continue to open up the Centre for more groups and families, and keep the popular [email protected] weekend sessions running into 2021.
‘Phase 2’ of our digital project will also mean new tech solutions at Extratime. These will make it easier for you to share information about your child, pay fees and to have more direct contact with the club teams. The new system will also improve our internal processes.
Initially however, there may be some immediate challenges at the beginning of the year. This is because the government’s plan to phase the return of students back to college/university over January and early February will affect some of our colleagues who will not be able to return to work until they are allowed back to University after the Christmas break.
Kelly our HR Advisor and Rebecca our HR & Operations Lead have been working hard to minimise any disruption since this policy was announced, and whilst I’m pleased to say we do have contingency plans in place, there is a possibility that additional staff absence due to sickness, isolation or shielding, may result in staffing levels falling below a safe level. If this happens we may need to cancel sessions at your child’s club.
We will of course do everything we can to avoid this situation and we will let you know as soon as we can if this is likely to happen.
In the meantime if you are planning not to send your child to club for any reason in January, please give us as much notice as possible.
Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19
Following guidance from the Department for Education I am also writing to inform you of the process to follow should your child test positive for Covid -19 during the Christmas closure period.
Up to and including Thursday 24th December, please contact us if your child or young person shows COVID-19 symptoms within 48 hours of their last session at Extratime and has a positive test for COVID-19.
You can call us on 01273 420580 (leave a message if there is no answer) and email us at [email protected]. Extratime will be closed from Wednesday 23rd December but we will be checking messages and emails over the holidays.
If we are advised of any positive cases we will follow our usual protocol. This includes informing families/staff who have been in contact with the individual who has tested positive, and advising them of any action they should take.
You do not need to contact us if your child/young person shows symptoms more than 48 hours after their last session with Extratime, even if they then test positive for COVID-19.
Of course, when the clubs re-open in January, it is important that everyone continues to follow the guidance for attending clubs. This means anyone who has tested positive and is still in their isolation period, is showing symptoms, or who has been told they are a close contact of a confirmed case and are still in their isolation period, does not come to Extratime.
Whilst Extratime will be closed until the 4th January, our [email protected] page still contains links to lots of activities and resources, so please do check it out (from 24th December). There is also one more Extratime & Friends session with Steve and Animazing before the break, so you can sign up here to register for Saturday 19th December.
There are some fun virtual advent calendars to check out too.
Ahead of the break I also want to say a personal and heartfelt thank you to you for your patience and understanding this year.
Although we have tried to do whatever we could to safely provide support, continuity and the usual Extratime fun for the children through this difficult year, I know the impact of club closures, and fewer days at scheme have made life even harder for lots of families. I’m also very aware that a Zoom call is no substitute for the proper break you get from an after school club or holiday scheme.
So many families in our community have had an extremely difficult year, and for families still shielding very vulnerable children, the extreme pressure continues. Our love and thoughts are with you.
The Christmas break can be especially tough for families even in the best of times, so as always please let me know if we can help. We are in constant contact with parent carer groups, the councils, schools and other charities, so if we can’t help, we will probably know someone who can.
The Amaze website is also a good source of information.
We look forward to seeing you in January and until then, and on behalf of everyone at Extratime, our very best wishes for the festive season and a Happy New Year.