Coronavirus: Government strengthens advice around social distancing in early years settings and schools


Updated guidance clarifies which children and staff can continue to attend settings and extends practical steps to implementing effective social distancing.

Education staff with serious underlying health conditions which put them at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus are being advised to rigorously follow shielding measures in order to keep themselves safe. Staff in this position must not attend work.

These specific conditions are outlined in the Government’s guidance on shielding.

Those with other conditions that mean they are at increased risk of serious illness should work from home where possible, and education and childcare settings are asked to try to support this. More advice on this is included in the Government's social distancing guidance.

Critical workers’ children can continue to attend unless they are in one of the most vulnerable health groups as set out in this advice.

Children with mild underlying health conditions, as specified, can continue to attend as long as the setting is fully aware of them and can address any issues.

If a vulnerable or critical worker child – or a member of staff – lives with someone in a vulnerable health group, including those who are pregnant, they can attend their education or childcare setting, as the number of social interactions in the education or childcare environment will be reduced, due to there being fewer children attending, and social distancing and good hand hygiene being practised.

If a child in this category lives in a household with someone who is in the most vulnerable health groups, as set out in the guidance on shielding, they should only attend the setting if stringent social distancing can be adhered to, and the child is able to understand and follow those instructions.

The guidance flags up that this may not be possible for very young children and older children who lack the capacity to adhere to instructions.

Settings should allow staff who live with someone in the most vulnerable health groups to work from home where possible.

To read the full article by Early Years Educator, click here.

Author: Early Years Educator