Tomorrow PACEY will be attending an education technical briefing with a panel of the Government’s scientific advisers and has raised a number of important questions that members and other early years and childcare providers have asked around plans to reopen from 1 June in England.
The briefing will cover the modelling being used to inform government’s response to the Coronavirus and what impact this will have on the epidemic; the risk to children; and risk to adults.
The panel will include the following advisors but this may be subject to change:
- Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer
- Dr Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer
- Sir Patrick Vallance, Chief Scientific Adviser
- Professor Charlotte Watts, Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department for International Development
- Professor Dame Angela McLean, Chief Scientific Adviser at Ministry of Defence
- Professor Andrew Curran, Chief Scientific Adviser at the Health and Safety Executive
- Professor Russell Viner, University College London
Liz Bayram, Chief Executive of PACEY, said:
“We know that so many of our members and other providers in England are struggling with the difficult decisions they need to make around whether to re-open in June or not. For childminders especially, who work from home, there are real challenges around balancing the need to save their livelihoods with the need to protect their family. All registered providers – nurseries, pre-schools and childminders - are working out how best to ensure risks are reduced for their staff as well as the children in their care. We are supporting them with a range of information, advice and guidance that will be available from next week to help all providers decide what is best for them and their childcare service. This technical briefing should help us to answer some of the significant worries and concerns that many early years and childcare providers have voiced to us.”
PACEY has in particular asked that the following is addressed at the briefing:
- Whether there are difference in symptoms and infection rates in children of different ages?
- How best to maintain the concept of keeping children in small groups or bubbles whilst in childcare or school when some children attend different settings in any given week?
- What additional hygiene steps may be needed in settings?
- Should outings and the use of public parks be avoided?
- Whether some forms of educational play such as sandpits should be avoided?
- What is the safest way to travel with young children, given the challenge of supporting them to socially distance and the need to avoid public transport?
- Whether face coverings should be worn in vehicles if travelling with a group of children?
- How best to manage the drop off and pick up of children at school or an early years setting when this involves bringing other children with you?
PACEY will be sharing the information we receive at the briefing with its members and other providers and using this to inform the support it is developing to help childcare and early years setting prepare to re-open.