Covid-19: Information for families
Government releases new guidance for parents and carers of children attending holiday and after-school clubs
This guidance is for parents and carers and covers changes to after-school clubs, holiday clubs, tuition, community activities and other out-of-school settings for children and young people during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Returning to childcare or Reception? Read our Q and A for parents
Whether or not to send children back to childcare and school has polarised parents and carers. Some will be desperate for the doors to open, while other parents will prefer to keep their children home.
If you're undecided or feel you don't have enough information about reopening, we've produced this simple Q&A for parents, based on government guidance.
Under 5s to be tested for coronavirus if they show symptoms
Coronavirus testing has been extended to children aged under five as of today. Health secretary Matt Hancock made the announcement saying that from Thursday 28 May "we are expanding eligibility for testing to include the under-fives, so that now every single person who has symptoms of coronavirus can get a test, no matter their age.”
The announcement is part of a wider expansion of the government’s ‘track and trace’ system being rolled out ahead of childcare and some school provision opening on 1 June.
Under the voluntary programme, anyone with one or more of the symptoms of coronavirus should self-isolate immediately and book at test on the NHS website or by calling NHS 111.
Those who test positive will be contacted by the NHS test and trace service within 24 hours to establish who they have been in contact with and could have infected.
Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive will be contacted and asked to self-isolate, even if they do not have symptoms.
Childcare provision and Reception can re-open from 1 June
The government is asking early years providers, including childminders, to begin "welcoming back all children" from 1 June 2020 onwards, according to new guidance from the Department for Education (DfE).
Read the government guidance on childcare provision reopening here: Opening schools and educational settings to more pupils from 1 June: guidance for parents and carers
Parents will not lose access to childcare offers during coronavirus outbreak
Parents who are usually eligible to access the 30 hours and Tax-Free Childcare schemes will continue to benefit from them in the summer term, even if their income falls during the coronavirus outbreak.
The Department for Education confirmed that parents will still receive funding for the offers, even if their earnings fall below the minimum requirements during the pandemic.
A special message for parents from the NHS
With the current Covid-19 crisis, many parents - understandably - may be unsure or even reluctant to seek medical advice if their child has had an accident or is feeling unwell, with non-Coronavirus related sypmtoms.
And news reports suggest children are being put at risk from other illnesses or injury because parents don't want to bother their GP, are confused about whether to call 111 or 999 or are simply unable to access any medical assistance at all.
The NHS has therefore issued a special message for parents with more details of when it is appropriate to seek various medical services for your child to try and make the situation clearer for parents and carers and to help allay any fears.
Family Time Tips — an innovative FREE digital service for families
If you're stuck for things to do to keep your child busy then sign up for our brilliant new service for families where you get one fun activity sent direct to your mobile.
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The Early Years Alliance on YouTube
Check out our Family Sessions playlist on YouTube where we have lots of story and rhyme time and activity videos for the whole family to enjoy.
How to talk to children about Covid-19
It is inevitable even very young children will pick up on the levels of anxiety around them about the coronavirus, even if they do not fully understand the context of the situation.
Therefore, it is important you respond to any concerns that children express in a sensitive and age-appropriate manner. Thankfully there are plenty of resources now available to help parents navigate this area. Here are just a few of them: