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East Riding And North Yorkshire Councils On COVID-19 And Schools

East Riding And North Yorkshire Councils On COVID-19 And Schools

Published by Karen Liu at 2:37pm 20th March 2020. (Updated at 4:16pm 20th March 2020)

Following the Government’s announcement, East Riding of Yorkshire Council is re-iterating that schools, colleges and childcare providers will be closed for the vast majority of children until further notice.

The authority said:

"Many parents working in critical sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. Every child who can be safely cared for at home, should be.

The Department for Education is asking schools, colleges, nurseries, childminders and other registered childcare settings to offer provision, where they can, for children of critical workers and vulnerable children. You may have already been contacted by your child’s school. If this is not the case please look at their website.

This is an offer to parents and carers who are critical workers or have vulnerable children. There is no requirement for parents and carers to send children to school if you do not need or wish to do so."

Further information is available on the Department for Education’s guidelines, which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers

The Government is asking parents to follow the following guiding principles...

  • If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
  • If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
  • Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
  • Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.
  • Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to care for children wherever possible.

Key Workers

The Government advice says that if your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed below, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision:

Health and social care
This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.

Education and childcare
This includes childcare, support and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.

Key public services
This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.

Local and national government
This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response, or delivering essential public services, such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies.

Food and other necessary goods
This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery, as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).

Public safety and national security
This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.

Transport
This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.

Utilities, communication and financial services
This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.

If workers think they fall within the critical categories above, they should confirm with their employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service.

If your school is closed, then the advice is to contact your local authority, who will seek to redirect you to a local school in your area that your child, or children, can attend.

Meanwhile, many schools in North Yorkshire will remain open on Monday to children of critical workers and those identified as vulnerable, to enable parents to continue in jobs which are vital in responding to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Today (Friday 20th March) the Government announced which jobs have been identified as critical roles in keeping society functioning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schools – and wherever possible nurseries and early years settings – will remain open to provide childcare. Where schools cannot open, the schools, working with North Yorkshire County Council will be organising hubs with sufficient staffing and resources to provide care for children and young people in the area.

While schools remain safe places for children, the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals. Where parents can still work and keep their children safely at home, they should do so.

Parents in keyworker roles are also asked to;

  • Only send children to school when you are actually working, not at other times.
  • Do not send children to school if your partner is able to look after them.
  • If you are a key worker and working from home, the default should be to keep children there, rather than send them to school (it is recognised some individuals may need to, depending on age and other issues relating to their children.)

Schools in the county will also remain open for parents of children who have been identified as vulnerable.

Private, voluntary and independent nurseries and child minders have been asked by the Government to remain open wherever possible to provide care for young children of critical workers.

The County Council will continue to pay early years providers the Government funding for the summer term.

Schools which are open will continue to provide meals for pupils attending. For those children who qualify for free school meals, but are being looked after at home, local arrangements will be made.

Home-to-school transport will continue to operate on their existing routes to and from school.

Judith Kirk, Assistant Director of Education and Skills said:

“We are currently working very hard in tandem with schools to ensure there are places in schools for those who need it, and also make sure those schools have sufficient staff, including cleaners and caterers, to remain open.

We are obviously working in very challenging circumstances and, along with schools, doing our very best to keep schools open with the workforce available to us.

If you work in a critical sector identified by the government, if your child needs specialist support, or is vulnerable, there will be a space for your child.

But we do want to stress that if parents can keep their children at home, then we would ask that they do so, in order for us to keep schools open only for those children who need to attend.”

Parents are also asked not to rely on childcare from those in stringent social distancing categories such as grandparents, or friends or family members with underlying health conditions.

They are also asked to do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which could continue to spread the virus and observe the same social distancing principles as adults.

 

 

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