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NEWS: Update regarding home testing and shielding guidance

The DfE has issued further information on the expansion of home testing to childminders and others in ‘related occupations’ and shared an announcement on shielding guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable in England which will be paused from 1 April 2021. 

Rapid asymptomatic testing

Anyone in England in a ‘related occupation’ to a school, early years childcare provider, or college as well as the household, childcare and support bubbles of early years children are eligible to access twice-weekly asymptomatic testing. Childminders and nannies are included under this definition. More information on this can be found here

There are three ways that people in the groups outlined above can access asymptomatic testing in England:

Those who test positive using a rapid asymptomatic test have to self-isolate. All positive results from rapid tests undertaken at home do need to be confirmed with a standard PCR test.

Technical issue on system

When ordering test kits online, not all related occupations (including childminders and wraparound childcare providers) are listed as eligible in the service. DfE is aware of this technical issue and hopes to resolve this by Thursday 25 March. Please continue to order kits in the meantime even if the wording online suggests that you are not in scope.

PVI nursery providers

Private, voluntary and independent (PVI) nurseries in England are preparing for regular asymptomatic testing, which will begin on the 22nd of March. The DfE has provided an FAQ document for PVI nurseries which you can find here. Please also note that PVI nurseries should expect to receive a further delivery of test kit supplies between 24th and 26th March. These supplies should last another 3-4 weeks. If a setting has received too many test kits they will be able to keep them as stock to use as and when required.

Shielding update

The Government has announced that shielding guidance is being paused and from Thursday 1 April, clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) people are no longer advised to shield. CEV people must continue to follow the national restrictions that are in place for everyone. 

From Thursday 1 April, all CEV children should attend early years provision, school, college, wraparound childcare and out-of-school settings, unless they are one of the very small number of children under paediatric or other specialist care and have been advised by their GP or clinician not to attend. 

 Staff in schools and colleges who are CEV are advised to continue to work from home where possible, but if they cannot work from home should now attend their workplace. Where parents/carers, staff, or students are anxious about attendance, you should speak to them about their concerns and discuss the protective measures that have been put in place to reduce the risk and any additional measures that could be put in place.

There is guidance in place to assist school leaders in actions they should take to minimise the risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) in their setting. This includes public health advice, endorsed by Public Health England (PHE).

PACEY’s FAQs are currently being updated to reflect the latest guidance.