What to do if a childminder's own child has been told to self-isolate in England

The DfE’s Actions for Early Years’ guidance (updated 5th November 2020) states in section 3.3 paragraph 9, ‘Managing confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the setting’:

‘Household members of those who are sent home do not need to self-isolate themselves unless the child or staff member who is self-isolating subsequently develops symptoms.’

However, Childcare.co.uk have become aware from a number of members that some Local Public Health officials are giving different advice and telling childminders they must close their setting if their own child is sent home from school because they have been in contact with a class member who has tested positive for the virus.

Childcare.co.uk have again spoken to the Department for Education (24.11.2020) and DfE have again confirmed that childminders can remain open in this scenario.

In addition, DfE have given us some useful advice to share with you:

• If the childminder’s child is sent home to isolate because of a close contact at school, the setting’s Coronavirus Risk Assessment must be updated to include information about the measures the childminder has put in place to protect childminded children.

• The child who is isolating must not have any symptoms of coronavirus. If they start to show symptoms (continuous cough, loss of taste or smell, high temperature), the childminder must immediately close and the child should continue to isolate and be tested; at this point the childminder and the rest of their family must also isolate.

• The child who is isolating must stay away from the childminded children.

• The child who is isolating should use a separate bathroom where possible. DfE state that if they are using a shared bathroom, contact points must cleaned thoroughly after every use. You will find more information in the guidance ‘Cleaning in non-healthcare settings'

• The childminder must monitor the situation and make changes, as necessary, to keep everyone as safe as reasonably practicable to comply with health and safety legislation.

• Families using the setting should be advised about your decision to remain open while your child is isolating away from the childminded children and they should be informed about the ‘system of controls’ you have put into place. The Government’s ‘system of controls’ are detailed in the ‘Actions for Early Years Guidance’. You might want to keep evidence of this conversation with parents.

• Local risks are assessed and evaluated by local health protection teams and if you are contacted by Test and Trace and told to close, you must close.

If you are a member of the Childcare.co.uk insurance scheme, it continues to cover you, as long as you follow the latest Government DfE, Public Health England and NHS advice. We understand from the DfE that this advice will remain current after the current national lockdown ends on 2nd December. However, please bear in mind that advice is changing regularly, so you should always check the Childcare.co.uk ‘Covid-19 Frequently asked Questions’ before making a decision.

Useful links to further guidance

Actions for Early Years guidance

Cleaning in non-healthcare settings

Free Childcare.co.uk poster: Things to do if a child or staff member has symptoms of coronavirus

Free Childcare.co.uk poster: Coronavirus information for parents

Free Coronavirus Toolkit for all early years providers

NHS Test and Trace advice

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