‘Life goes on’ for mingling toddlers at St Albans nursery – but for how long?

Maltings community hero award winner Janet Charles. Picture: DANNY LOO

Janet Charles, of London Road Pre-School and Nursery, is delighted they remain open during lockdown. She is pictured with Maltings Shopping Centre manager Phil Corrigan after winning a Community Hero award. - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

As parents of primary and secondary age children feel the pressure of home learning, pre-schoolers are still mixing with no social distancing.

When the government threw the nation into lockdown, they decided to keep education for nursery children open, which is still being accessed by many locals.

But many other parents buckling under the weight of home education demands question why this young age group should still attend settings - especially when they can’t socially distance.

Yet leader of Old London Road Pre-School and Nursery in Riverside Road, St Albans, is “delighted” to be open, exclaiming that “life goes on in early years”.

Janet Charles said: “In the first week, 75 percent of families chose to return. Ninety percent of the older group who are state nursery age, and 66 percent of the children aged two and three years old.

“We are delighted that so many families are comfortable to return, during a time when all parents and staff have cause to be anxious about their working environment, as social distancing is impossible with under 5s.”

They have been interacting with children not in attendance via Zoom, with children in the preschools setting being joined by some of those at home for an online ‘lunch club’.

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But as NHS medics report hospitals reaching breaking point and confirmed new cases reached almost 55,000, a question mark hangs over the continuing of face-to-face preschool delivery.

Last weekend saw the third deadliest Sunday of the pandemic, as health secretary Matt Hancock hinted at even tighter restrictions to help get it under control.

Insider speculation suggests nurseries closing could be among new imminent rules, which might be necessarily brought into force.

It comes as the race to vaccinate the nation intensifies, as the death toll passed 80,000 and the total number of infections topped 3m.