News, Policy & Media

20Mar

New Guidance on Schools and Key Workers

Dear All,

 

This morning, the Government has published guidance for schools, colleges and local authorities following the announcement that schools will be closed from Monday 23 March to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

 

The guidance contains details of those children for who schools are being asked to continue to provide provision, including children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.


The guidance states that schools should continue to provide provision for the children of parents who have roles that are "critical to the COVID-19 response" or who those who work "as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment".

 

The full section on Health and Social Care staff reads as follows:

 

Health and social care:

This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK's health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.

 

The guidance states that, "If workers think they fall within the critical categories above they should confirm with their employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service."

 

We are aware of the nuances involved in this definition, and BIVDA, along with trade association partners are continuing urgent enquiries with the relevant Government bodies.

 

It is also worth noting the Government has urged those who can keep their children at home to do so:

 

"Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors outlined below. Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. And every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.

 

Please, therefore, follow these key principles:

If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.

If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.

Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.

Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.

Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to care for children wherever possible.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.

 

We will keep members updated, including in the Weekly Update, out later today.

 

 

 

With our best wishes,

Doris-Ann Williams

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