Government updates guidance for early years education settings amid coronavirus (COVID-19)

Government updates guidance for early years education settings amid coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Department for Education has updated its guidance on the provision of childcare services that early years settings, childminders and local authorities during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The updated guidance covers shielding for staff and children, asymptomatic testing for childminders, Test and Trace payments for parents and carers, parent and child singing groups, educational visits, and resuming Ofsted visits.

Shielding advice for staff who are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) is being paused nationwide from 31 March 2021, with CEV staff being advised from 1 April 2021 to continue to follow the rules in place for everyone under the national restrictions. Clinically vulnerable (CV) staff can continue to attend early years settings, but must follow the system of controls to minimise the risk of transmission. CEV children should attend their setting unless they have been advised by their GP or clinician not to do so. Children who live with someone who is CEV should continue to attend their setting as normal.

Childminders can access asymptomatic testing twice per week by attending a test site, collective lateral flow device (LFD) test kits to take at home, or ordering LFD test kits online.

Some parents and carers may be eligible for a Test and Trace support payment of £500 live in England and are on a low income, unable to work from home, and at risk of losing income as a result of self-isolating.

Parent and child groups for the benefit of children under the age of 5 can take place outdoors from 29 March 2021. Where singing is part of the parent and child group, it should only be the group leader and children under the age of 5 who participate.

The guidance continues to advise against educational visits and school trips, though the roadmap out of lockdown indicates that settings can resume day visits no earlier than 12 April 2021, as long as they are conducted in accordance with coronavirus-secure guidelines and regulations and full risk assessments are carried out.

On 29 March 2021, Ofsted announced its plans to resume on-site inspections of registered early years providers from 4 May 2021, following their suspension on 17 March 2020.

The full updated guidance can be read here.

Source: Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

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