We aim to keep this webpage updated as more information is made available by the Government
The Coronavirus or COVID-19 is a new illness that can cause a cough, high temperature and damage to airways and lungs causing shortness of breath. For some people, particularly eldery or those with existing medical conditions the disease can progress to severe pneumonia and can cause death.
As of March 23rd Britain is entering a 3 week lockdown
This means that people must stay at home apart from - to go to work- but the requirement is to work at home wherever possible - to go shopping for essentials such as food or medicines - but only go infrequently - to excersise outside- but only once a day and to maintain the 2 metre distance from others - to provide care or help a vulnerable person - for any medical need
All shops apart from non essential shops have been told to close.
Retailers that will be allowed to stay open include:
- Supermarkets and other food shops
- Petrol stations
- Bicycle shops
- Home and hardware stores
- Laundrettes and dry cleaners
- Pet shops
- Post Offices
Businesses will still be able to take online orders and deliver items to people's homes
Childminding UK have produced a Q&A Sheet to help you understand what you need to do
The government has released guidance for Parents and Carers. This confirms that 'Children with at least one parent or carer who are identified as critical workers by the government can send their children to school if required'. The Guidance for Schools gives clarification about who is classed as a key (or critical) worker.
On March 5th 2020, the Government added COVID-19 to the list of notifiable illnesses and SARS-COV-2 to the list of agents that cause COVID-19. Essentially Coronavirus is a mutation of the common cold and the SARS virus. Because Coronavirus is a notifiable illness, this means that any known cases must be reported
The Government is closely monitoring the situation with advice from scientists. There is currently work going on to develop treatment and a vaccine for Coronavirus but there is no information about when they think these will be ready. Because it is a new virus, they are still learning about how it behaves and it is difficult to predict what will happen long term.
Schools in the UK are to shut until further notice as a response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Schools will close except for looking after the children of keyworkers and vulnerable children, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said. He said that he hopes early years settings will follow suit and do the same.
The Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP (Secretary of State for Education) has released a statment about school closures and that early years settings including childminders should also follow this guidance. They have said they will provide financial support for these settings as required.
Where possible, they would encourage settings to also look after key workers’ children and vulnerable children throughout the Easter holidays. You can read more about this in the letter from Vicky Ford MP- Parliamentary Under Secretary of State
Childminding UK will seek to gain more clarification about who key workers are and about the financial support offered to childminders.
Following this statement and the results form our survey of members I have emailed Gavin Williamson:
Childminding UK is a registered charity supporting childminders and the families they work with. Childminders are a vital and unique childcare service for all parents. You have confirmed that the recent advice to schools does to apply to childminders but there is much confusion about the impact of this; there is a real risk that they will have to give up childminding. With Ofsted registration inspections on hold, we risk there being a real shortage of providers when things go back to normal.
A national survey carried out by us today (260 responses so far) has revealed that over 40% will close on Monday but another 40% are still unsure. Only 7% felt that they care for vulnerable children but 26% needed more clarification. Over 40% felt they had a parent in the key worker category but almost 50% said they needed more clarification. Lots of confusion here (what if only one parent is a key worker? Parent is saying she is a key worker but I’m not sure? Do I stay open for just one child or can I decide to close altogether? are just a few of the questions they have). 28% said they would ask parents for payment during closure, 24% said they wouldn’t but over 50% said it would depend on parents’ circumstances. Over 90% said their business would be at risk with 60% saying they would consider giving up childminding altogether. Overwhelmingly (78%) wanted clearer guidance and nearly 90% said that their insurance company or the government should compensate their loss of earnings. Over 70% would rather stay open as they are such small setting and closure would have such an impact on them financially and their parents who want to continue to go to work. Nearly 80% said they would rather be the ones to make the decision to close. Urgent action is needed!
We are therefore calling on the government to:
• Clarify the specific criteria for vulnerable children
• Clarify the specific criteria for Key workers
• Offer clear information about exactly what financial support will be available to childminders to compensate for loss of earnings – this should start from next week
• You say in your statement that ‘The scientific advice shows that these settings are safe for this small number of children to continue attending’ Would you consider if childminders should be treated differently as they are a smaller setting and pose less risk?
We continue to take call after call from worried childminders and parents who remain unsure of their position, all of whom just want to do the best for everyone but can’t help being concerned about their financial sitution.
Number of cases in the UK
To see the daily changing figures, check the Govt. webpage here
This link shows were in the UK the cases are.
How can you catch Coronavirus?
There are 2 main routes by which people can spread COVID-19:
- infection can be spread to people who are nearby (within 2 metres) or possibly could be inhaled into the lungs.
- it is also possible that someone may become infected by touching a surface, object or the hand of an infected person that has been contaminated with respiratory secretions and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes (such as touching door knob or shaking hands then touching own face)
Symptoms of Coronavirus
The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:
- new continuous cough and/or
- high temperature
For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild infection
Action to take if you have symptoms
If you have Coronavirus symtoms, even if mild ones, you must self isolate for 7 days and everyone else in the household need to stay at home for a period of 14 days in order to protect other people in your community.
- try to stay at least 3 steps away from other family members
- wash your hands regularly, and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Use your own cutlery, dishes, towels and bed linen
- ask family to do any shopping you need and leave it outside for you to bring in
- Do not go to your GP Surgery, pharmasy or local hospital and you don't need to call NHS 111 to go into this self-isolation
- you will not be tested for COVID-19 if you are self isolating at home
- If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999
- you will not be tested for Coronavirus if you only have mild symtoms
- while you are at home in self isolation, do NOT go out at all- even for a short walk- you can go into your own garden if you have one
- if other people live in your home, try to stay in a well ventilated room
This chart shows the stay at home guidance for those with symptoms and household members. For some members of the household they may need to self-isolate for more than 14 days, but this isn't the recommendation for others in the household.
Impact on your Childminding Setting
On March 17th the Government confirmed that they will continue to pay funding to local authorities for the free entitlements for two, three and four-year-olds for anyone whose setting has to close or for any child who can't attend due to Coronavirus
The Government released this information on March 24th about school and early years and caring for key workers children, vulnerable children, EYFS requirements and ratios and lots more.
We are receiving an increasing number of calls from childminders who are worried about the health and financial impact of the Coronavirus in their setting. As a self employed person, you will already have policies and procedures (even if not in writing) about illness and exclusion and if parents will be required to pay fees. Your policy should include what will happen if children do not attend because they or their parents are ill and also what will happen if you are ill and can't work. The majority of childminders charge parents if their children are ill but the setting is open but don't charge if the setting is closed. This information about charging should be clearly explained in the contract you have with parents. Childminding UK's Illness and Infection Policy and Parent Contracts have clear information and guidance about this.
In the event of the Government forcing all schools and childcare settings to close, this is causing concerns about childminders being able to afford to remain closed for an extended period of time. Normal guidance from the Government is that for funded places for 2,3 and 4 year olds, a period of 2 weeks will still be paid for if the child does not attend. Some Local Authorities have already agreed to pay their providers for longer, and some are waiting for clarification from the Department for Education (DfE) to confirm if they will be able to do this. Contact your Local Authority to find out what you can expect in your area.
As a self-employed person, you decide on your own costs and charges. If the Government makes all early years settings close as a precaution, your normal arrangements about payments for sickness will not necessarily cover this event as you may not be sick yourself. We know that some of you are considering charging parents for this period of time if it happens. Childminding UK cannot advise you on what you should do in this situation, but please carefully consider the following.
- if parents are able to work from home, they will still be paid and may be happy to pay you
- if parents are off work too and will get paid, they may be happy to pay you
- if parents are not able to work from home and won't receive any pay (they may be self-employed or on zero hours contracts), they may not be able to afford to pay you
- if parents are only receiving statutory sick pay, they may not be able to afford to pay you
- remember you won't have any business costs such as outings, food consumables etc. so you may be able to negotiate a % of your normal fee during this time
- if you are self employed, there is a chance that you could claim Universal Credit for the time you are closed. The Money Advice Service has more information
Government Support for your business
Updated information 27th March
Claim a grant through the coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme
On March 26th the Chancellor announced the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
You can apply if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and you:
- have submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19
- traded in the tax year 2019-20
- are trading when you apply, or would be except for COVID-19
- intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21
- have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19
- earn more than half your income from self-employment
You’ll get a taxable grant which will be 80% of the average profits from the tax years (where applicable) to a maximum of £2,500 per month. Payments won't be made until the beginning of June and will be a one off 3 month payment to be backdated until March. If waiting for this will cause financial hardship, the Govt. suggest you apply for Universal Credit in the meantime and emergency payments can be paid 'within days'.
- Any tax you are due to pay from last years accounts can be deferred.
- If you will find it difficult to pay bills such as Council Tax, contact your Local Authority as they may be able to take a payment holiday
- You should also be able to request a mortgage payment holiday
How to apply
You cannot apply for this scheme yet
HMRC will contact you if you are eligible for the scheme and invite you to apply online.
Individuals do not need to contact HMRC now and doing so will only delay the urgent work being undertaken to introduce the scheme.
On March 20th, the Government announced a package of support for businesses, including regarding sick pay (for those of you who employ others)and more
HMRC have established a helpline for the self-employed and businesses affected by COVID19.
Please call 0300 456 3565 or 0800 0159 559 if you need help/advice.
If a child you care for becomes ill
Often children with simple common colds are able to attend a childminding setting as long as they are well enough in themselves to cope with the day and gain something from their time in the setting. For Coronavirus this guidance should be amended as children should not attend with the following symptoms.
If a child develops a new cough and or a temperature of over 37.8 degrees, they need to stay at home for 7 days and all other members of the household must self isolate for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. If the child develops these symptoms while in your setting, you must contact the parents immediately to arrange for them to collect their child and then to stay away for the isolation period. It is sensible in this instance to carry out a deep clean of your childminding premises before other minded children attend. (this of course also protects you and your family). More information about Deep Cleaning your setting
If one of your own family members becomes ill
If one of your children, yourself or another member of your family becomes ill, then you will need to follow the Government advice and that person must self-isolate for a period of 7 days and all other members of your household must self isolate for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. This means you must close your setting for this period of time.
If a child or parent in your setting is a suspected case of COVID-19
If anyone has been in contact with a suspected case in a childcare or educational setting, no restrictions or special control measures are required while laboratory test results for COVID-19 are awaited. There is no need to close the setting or send other learners or staff home.
If a child or parent in your setting is a confirmed case of COVID-19
You will be contacted by Public Health England to discuss the situation and they will guide you as to what action you need to take. You may or may not need to close your setting. A risk assessment will be undertaken by the educational establishment with advice from the local Health Protection Team. In most cases, closure of the childcare or educational setting will be unnecessary but this will be a local decision based on various factors such as establishment size and pupil mixing.
What if a family have returned from abroad?
In response to coronavirus measures the Government are now are advising against all and all but essential travel to some countries, cities and regions. If travellers are returning from particular countries, the advice is to call NHS 111 and follow thier advice about self-isolating for up to 14 days. It is realistic to ask a family to call NHS 111 to find out if the child should return to your setting. Latest Government travel advice
The Government has produced guidance specifically for Education Settings
Loss of earnings insurance cover
Not all Public Liability Insurance policies cover loss of revenue cover and of those that do, some will not cover Coronavirus even though it is now a notifiable illness. Please contact your own Public Liability Insurer for more information about your policy. For some policies there is no loss of revenue cover and for others the cover may be limited to notifiable illnesses that are listed in the policy document. Because COVID-19 is a new virus, it it possible that it won't be listed unless the insurance company has made changes to their policy to reflect this.
The Government has announced the following:
'Businesses that have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered, as the government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that advice to avoid pubs, theatres etc is sufficient to make a claim.
Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. '
Please note: Do not go and pay for insurance that covers you for loss of earnings now in order to protect yourself from any potential closure due to Coronavirus without carefully checking that you would be covered in the event that you have to close. Most new policies won't cover you for any event that you could forsee happening in the near future.
Keeping as safe as possible
Good hygiene procedures and personal hygiene procedures are the most effective way of stopping the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Public Health England (PHE) recommends that the following general cold and flu precautions are taken to help prevent people from catching and spreading COVID-19:
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze. See Catch it, Bin it, Kill it
- put used tissues in the bin straight away
- wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available. (hands should be washed on arriving at your setting, after using the toilet, after playing outside and outings, before food preparation, before eating any food, including snacks, before leaving the setting.
- try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
**Hand sanitiser gel must contain at least 60% alcohol in order to be effective
It is recommended that we wash our hands using soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds or the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star once.
This video shows the correct way of washing hands
Public Health England have produced a range of posters and other information. You need to sign up to use, but it is a quick easy process and this means you will be kept informed if other resources are made avaialble too.
Tom Fletcher who is a member of the McFly band and well loved children's author has produced this video to visually show children the importance of washing hands
Protecting Childrens skin
Some children are developing red and sore hands from washing their hands more frequently, as water removes natural oils from the skin. The best way to alleviate this is to provide simple moisturising cream such as E45 to use after handwashing. It is advisable to gain parents written permission for this or to ask parents to provide a moisturising cream of their choice and give written permission for its use.
Explaining Coronavirus to children
This video explains Coronavirus in a fun way aimed at not causing alarm
This graphic is a child friendly way of explaining the virus to children
Public Health England has some 'fun e-Bug teaching resources' including Horrid Hands and Super Sneezes
Childline has produced information for children who may be concerned about the virus and what they hear on the news. It includes suggestions of what children can do if they are worried.
Social Distancing guidance
The Government has suggested more stringent social distancing for everyone to help control and slow down the spread of the virus, such as not going to restaurants, pubs, theatres etc. For those most vulnerable, such as those over 70 years of age, those with severe underlying health problems and pregant women, it was announced on March 16th that these groups should take extra measures for 12 weeks f and stay at home as much as possible. More information can be found in the Government Guidance on Social Distancing.
Ofsted information regarding Inspections
Ofsted have revised their guidance on when they will defer inspections and are following Government advice carefully regarding this.
Department for Edcucation Helpline
The Department for Education in England has launched a new helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 for education establishments. You can contact the helpline between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday by calling 0800 046 8687 or emailing [email protected]
Support for Childminding UK Members
We will continue to email Childminding UK Members with important updates as they become available. Members can also contact our staff team for advice. While we will do our very best to support you and answer questions, please do remember that Childminding UK are not experts in COVID-19.
Some companies are offering FREE temporary subscriptions to their learning resources for parents, teachers, carers to help keep children engaged in learning during any self-isolation or setting or school closure. Other companies are making us aware of FREE resources they offer that may be useful at this time too. We will aim to add to this list as we hear of any more.
Safer Internet Centre has a list of online safety activities you can do from home for all ages
FREE for 30 days Widget Symbols to support people help parents, teachers and carers who use symbols and help them realise their full potential, no matter what their age, ability or background.