Covid-19 and childcare: National restriction update

The latest advice relating to childcare and coronavirus

The safety of childcarers and families is of utmost importance in these uncertain times. We are reviewing government guidance as it changes and have summarised the latest advice for working safely at this time, when for some families finding a trusted childcare solution is more important than ever.

The National Lockdown restrictions, updated on 5th January, 2021 are published here. Government guidance, updated 5th January, 2021 confirms that childcare to allow a family to work is still permitted. Childcarers can continue to attend a family’s home as long as neither household has someone with symptoms of COVID-19. The government advice states:

“There are several ways that parents and carers can continue to access childcare:

  • Early years settings (including nurseries and childminders) remain open
  • Vulnerable children and children of critical workers can continue to use registered childcare, childminders and other childcare activities (including wraparound care)
  • Parents are able to form a childcare bubble with one other household for the purposes of informal childcare, where the child is under 14. This is mainly to enable parents to work, and must not be used to enable social contact between adults
  • Some households will also be able to benefit from being in a support bubble
  • Nannies will be able to continue to provide services, including in the home.”

Guidance on keeping safe while working in other people’s homes is available here. We recommend everyone reads this to ensure we all do what we can to minimise risk and take the appropriate steps before, during and after a childcare booking.

Here are some specific recommendations to help you keep safe at this time:

Follow government guidance if you have any symptoms

  • A childcarer can only attend a family’s house providing everyone in both the family and childcarer’s household are healthy, and not displaying any COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Find the latest advice for when you or your household must self isolate here.

Communicate clearly and openly

  • It is important families and childcarers communicate clearly before a childcare booking to align on expectations about what you must both do to manage risk and also what measures you are taking. In an emergency, for example an accident, people do not have to stay 2m apart if it would be unsafe.

Travelling to work

  • Wherever possible, childcarers should avoid public transport and instead walk, cycle or drive to the family’s home.

Guidance whilst caring for children

The latest government advice on effective infection protection and control in childcare settings is available here and is a great summary of the steps you should be taking to keep safe.

  • Childcarers should socially distance from members of the household they aren’t caring for as much as possible. This means they aren’t expected to socially distance from the children.
  • Regularly wash hands, especially on arrival.
  • Follow good respiratory hygiene (catch it, bin it, kill it) and avoid touching your mouth, eyes and nose.
  • Extra attention needs to be paid to equipment, cleaning and hygiene to reduce risk, regularly clean touched objects and surfaces, for example door handles, kitchen items and toys.
  • Keep internal doors open where possible to minimise contact.
  • Maintain good ventilation, for example keep windows and doors open, or be outside where possible.
  • For regular childcare, families should use the same childcarer when possible.
  • It is optional to wear a face covering while working as a childcarer, find the latest advice here. Please note that face coverings should not be used by children under the age of three, or those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly, for example primary age children unassisted, or those with respiratory conditions.