FAQs related to COVID-19 (Wales)

Given the quickly changing and evolving nature of this page Welsh translation is not currently available and will follow, apologies for any issues caused.

Unsurprisingly there have been many questions asked in the last few weeks about the impact COVID-19 will have on your childcare business. Remember the Welsh Government Frequently Asked Questions and the CIW Frequently Asked Questions are of use to the sector and are regularly updated.  These should be used in conjunction with the information below. PACEY members can also contact the legal helpline for advice.

We've collated the most frequently asked questions and grouped them by theme. These FAQ's relate to settings in Wales only. 

Position in Wales

What do I need to know about the Alert Plan?

The Welsh Government has published an Alert Plan that outlines the four levels of response to Covid-19.

Level 1 is the lowest, with relatively few restrictions and most services open and fully operational. Level 4 is the highest, and closest to either a full lockdown or firebreak.  The plan sets out the conditions which would see us move from one level to another, including case rates, and what actions would be taken at each level including closures of services.  We have been informed that childcare remains able to operate at all levels within the plan.  Schools are also scheduled to remain open at all levels, though will have the option to have some remote or blended learning for older children if rates get very high. 

 

What is the position in Wales?

The position in Wales is different from England.  The Welsh Government announced that  childcare and play settings were able to increase their operations from the 22th June 2020.  This meant that providers could move forward more quickly in their planning and preparations around reopening more widely taking into account the Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings and other information. Providers do have a choice on when they open so can take time to plan and prepare.  The Welsh Government have published a number of resources to support providers to keep their settings safe

All childcare and playwork providers, including Flying Start childcare, can remain open and offer their normal services, including provision through the school holidays. This includes childcare and playwork providers operating from school sites, community centres, places of worship, leisure centres and sports venues.  Childcare settings in Wales are able to provide care for all children under the current restrictions.  Settings though may provide services on a reduced basis taking account of the protective measures put in place to help reduce the rate of COVID-19 transmission. 

Why is the position different in Wales to England?

Education and childcare are legislative powers that have been devolved in Wales. This means Wales make their own decisions on childcare including how they are responding to the Covid 19 pandemic. This may be because the communities here need different responses or because the pandemic has progressed differently. 

What is the position in relation to CIW inspections?

Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) have announced their COVID-19 approach to recovery as they move from response to recovery phase from 31 July 2020.

CIW are monitoring, inspecting and reviewing services by;

  • considering feedback, information, notifications and concerns
  • actively seeking feedback from people receiving services
  • seeking information from providers
  • carrying out physical inspection of regulated services

They are using this intelligence to prioritise their activities.  Inspections always consider the ‘well-being’ theme of CIW frameworks and result in a published report. For childcare and play services CIW have suspended publishing ratings and are considering resuming these from September 2021. 

Risk assessments and risk management plans in relation to COVID-19 will be used to ensure the safety of people using the service, staff and inspectors.        

What is the position in relation to Estyn inspections?

Routine Estyn inspections are currently suspended. Estyn have published Frequently Asked Questions in relation to COVID-19 and inspection.

A joint statement between CIW and Estyn in relation to non-maintained childcare settings confirmed that together CIW and Estyn have decided that the current suspension of joint inspections of non-maintained settings will continue until at least 31 August 2021. They will review the situation over the summer and consider the options for restarting the joint inspection programme in the future. They will aim to give the sector at least 6 weeks’ notice before resuming routine joint inspections.                                            

What has the Welsh Government announced in relation to the relaxation of some of the National Minimum Standards?

On the 14th January 2021 the Welsh Government reintroduced the temporary relaxation of some of the requirements in its National Minimum Standards for Regulated Childcare until 30 June 2021. The arrangements and guidelines for this are set out in an updated Circular Letter.

The Welsh Government has also published Frequently Asked Questions in relation to this including the process to follow.

From 1 July 2021, childcare providers will be expected to have due regard to the National Minimum Standards for Regulated Childcare for children up to the age of 12 years, in the usual way.

Cwlwm have also published Top Tips to Remember for your Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) Registered Childcare Setting whether it is open or closed during Covid-19 Outbreak.

Closing and reopening

What should I do if I have to temporarily close my setting?

CIW have stated that you should notify CIW of confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19 of people using the service, staff and family members. By suspected, they mean people showing symptoms of the virus (new continuous cough and high temperature). 

Please use CIW Online to notify them and report as you would any infectious disease. If your childminding service is now closed, please inform CIW by emailing CIW@gov.wales

If you are closing due to the outbreak you should notify PACEY, if you hold insurance and/or membership with us, by emailing support@pacey.org.uk

Cwlwm have published Top Tips to Remember for your Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) Registered Childcare Setting whether it is open or closed during Covid-19 Outbreak.

Cwlwm have also published a factsheet to support settings in Wales around Temporary or Emergency Closure of a Childcare or Play setting

Does a childcare provider have to reopen?

It is up to you as an individual to decide what’s best for your business in line with their own position and approach taking into account the Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings and other information. Carry out risk assessments, talk to parents/carers, your family members and any staff you may have to discuss reopening and the measures that you will have to put in place in order to do so safely and within government guidance. It’s a decision only you can take depending on your circumstances.

There is no legal requirement to re-open and, while for group settings, there is the potential for local authorities to demand that you re-open if they do not have sufficient supply of childcare places in the local area, this is highly unlikely to be a power that they need to use. This power does not apply to registered childminders because they work in private homes.

PACEY members have access to the legal advice line around any legal or contractual issues.

If  a childminder or family member needs to self-isolate then they must close. The government is clear that people should be staying at home and ensuring social distancing and, where appropriate, self- and household isolation to help defeat this virus.

Who do I need to notify if I re-open?

If you had notified CIW that you were closing temporarily and are now looking to re-open you should notify CIW through the CIW Online system.  It would also be good practice to notify your local Family Information Service or childcare team in your Local Authority to ensure your service is promoted to parents or carers looking for childcare.  

If you had notified PACEY you were temporarily closing and are now re-opening you should notify PACEY, if you hold insurance and/or membership with us, by emailing support@pacey.org.uk.

Cwlwm have also published Top Tips to Remember for your Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) Registered Childcare Setting whether it is open or closed during Covid-19 Outbreak.

Are providers expected to deliver Foundation Phase curriculum in the same way as prior to lockdown?

The Welsh Government understand they are asking schools and settings to work in ways which are very different to their normal practice, and to engage with different groups of learners in different ways. There has been modification to the basic curriculum and associated assessment requirements to a reasonable endeavours basis up until the end of May 2021. Unless a further notice is then shared full curriculum and assessment requirements will resume on 1 June 2021.

Childcare numbers, wrap around care and travel

Are there limits to the number of children or families a provider can work with?

In line with the Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings you will need to carefully risk assess and consider your approach and this may impact on the number and ages of children you decide to provide a service for.  This will be individual decision for settings to make in line with their own position and approach.  

The guidance states that limiting social contacts is an important part of reducing the likelihood of seeing large outbreaks of the virus. The lower the number of contacts a person has, the easier it is for them to manage their overall risk of infection through interactions with others. However, the overall number of contacts an individual, or a family has, are something they will need to manage. Settings cannot manage interactions beyond those that take place on their premises.

For settings, keeping children and staff in consistent groups that remain the same throughout the week, and separate from other groups will help in limiting contacts within the setting and avoids creating chains of transmission. It is accepted that young children cannot socially distance from staff or from each other and so consistent groups provide an additional protective measure. Maintaining these groups also makes it quicker and easier, in the event of a positive case, to identify those children and staff who may need to self-isolate and to keep that number as low as possible.

The group size should be determined by the number of children a setting is registered to care for, the NMS ratios and the risk assessments undertaken by each setting (which will take into account children’s ages, size of setting, staff safety and so on). 

Groups should remain as consistent as possible and staff within that group should socially and physically distance from one another. 

Staff should remain with the same group at all times.

If there are cases where staff need to interchange between groups, a range of factors will need to be considered. This includes any alternative arrangement that could be put in place and their associated impacts, alongside the risk and harms of allowing an individual to interchange between different groups, and any additional mitigations that may need to be put in place as a consequence of such arrangements. This could include increasing the number of individuals that might need to self-isolate in the event of a positive case.

It is important that settings have the flexibility to manage and respond to risks in an appropriate way.

Please see the Covid-19 Childcare Toolkit for further guidance and support including COVID-19 Additional policies and procedure guidance for Wales.

Can wrap around childcare be provided for children who are attending school or another setting?

In line with the Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings you will need to carefully risk assess and consider your approach and this may impact on the number and ages of children you decide to provide a service for.  This will be individual decision for settings to make in line with their own position and approach.  

The guidance states that for some families the use of out of school or wrap around childcare will be key to supporting children to return to school and parents to work. Wherever possible this should be kept to a minimum, but in some cases it will be unavoidable, and that is particularly so for early education depending on the delivery model in your area.

If the child is accessing both education and childcare, and this is taking place across two settings or sites, it will be important to ensure schools and childcare settings all understand the transition arrangements and are clear on when the child will be in each setting and what collection and transport arrangements are in place.

Attendance at more than one setting is permissible where there are no other alternatives will require close partnership working between schools, childcare settings and parents. Ideally children should remain in the same contact group across settings, and if there is a suspected case of covid in either setting that impacts that child and their contact group, both settings must be informed and work together to identify contacts. To support this all settings should keep a record of any children that attend multiple childcare settings.

Settings should consider how they can work with parents to agree ways to manage any necessary journeys, including pick-ups and drop-offs at schools, to reduce the need for a provider to travel with groups of children. Where travel is necessary providers should do all that they can to ensure that children travel as part of the same consistent group they will be in within the setting. Every effort should be made not to mix children from multiple settings in any vehicles used as this would undermine maintaining distinct groups within the setting. Children over the age of 11 should wear face coverings while being transported by the setting. 

Where children need to attend more than one setting, parents, schools and settings will need to discuss these risks and consider how to manage them to reduce the spread of the virus. This will mean parents, schools and settings working in close partnership to consider fully how they can make provision work alongside their wider protective measures. Settings are reminded that discussions with parents on health matters are to remain confidential and information only shared if the parent or carer has agreed.

It is important settings have the flexibility to manage and respond to risks in an appropriate way. If a child tests positive, has symptoms of Covid 19 or has been identified as a contact of an individual who has received a positive test, they must inform all settings that they attend. They will then need to self-isolate at home with the people they live with and not attend any childcare settings. 

Is a provider able to travel by car to drop off or pick up children from school or other settings?

In line with the Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings you will need to carefully risk assess and consider your approach and this may impact on the number and ages of children you decide to provide a service for.  This will be individual decision for settings to make in line with their own position and approach. 

Settings should consider how they can work with parents to agree ways to manage any necessary journeys, including pick-ups and drop-offs at schools, to reduce the need for a provider to travel with groups of children. Where travel is necessary providers should do all that they can to ensure that children travel as part of the same consistent group they will be in within the setting. Every effort should be made not to mix children from multiple settings in any vehicles used as this would undermine maintaining distinct groups within the setting. Children over the age of 11 should wear face coverings while being transported by the setting. 

Where children need to attend more than one setting, parents, schools and settings will need to discuss these risks and consider how to manage them to reduce the spread of the virus. This will mean parents, schools and settings working in close partnership to consider fully how they can make provision work alongside their wider protective measures.

In line with the guidance  you will need to carefully risk assess and consider your approach and this may impact on the number and ages of children you decide to provide a service for and on pick up and drop off from other schools and settings.  This will be individual decision for settings to make in line with their own position and approach.

Where settings transport children, the Protective Measures state the following mitigating actions that should be considered in order to reduce mixing and support contact tracing:

  • Use the same vehicle every day
  • Transport the same group of children every day
  • Transport to and from one setting
  • Group learners by school/setting if transporting children from more than one school/setting
  • Allocate seats so that children can keep the same seats each day
  • Children aged over 11 should wear face coverings while being transported.

You should consider:

  • Is the journey by car essential? Is walking possible?
  • How can I limit contact between children on journeys and support social distancing as far as possible?
  • Can I limit journeys to children within the same group or ‘bubble’?
  • How can I manage hygiene – for example cleaning/handwashing/sanitising before and after journeys and children using the same seat on each trip as far as possible.
  • How will I discuss and share this information with parents on my approach?
  • How will I discuss my approach with the school or setting I am dropping off or collecting from?                              

Is a provider able to take children outside of the setting (for example on walks)?

The Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings recommends that children spend as much time outdoors as possible as this can limit transmission and more easily allow for distance between the groups. Young children (those of primary school age or younger) can interact outside without social distancing. However, adults will need to continue to distance from one another.

Outdoor equipment should not be used unless the setting is able to ensure it is appropriately cleaned between groups of children using it, and that multiple groups don't use it simultaneously.

In line with the Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings you will need to carefully risk assess and consider your approach and this may impact on decisions you make.  Taking children to other outdoor spaces such as parks may require a risk assessment with consideration given to keeping children socially distanced from strangers especially if it is crowded, and the cleanliness of play equipment and surfaces such as benches and picnic tables.This will be individual decision for settings to make in line with their own position and approach and should be reflected in policies and procedures and shared with parents for agreement.  

Please see the Covid-19 Childcare Toolkit for further guidance and support including COVID-19 Additional policies and procedure guidance for Wales.                                                                               

Social distancing in childcare and early years settings

How can I implement social distancing in a childcare setting?

The Protective measures for childcare settings published by the Welsh Government includes information relating to social distancing in childcare settings. 

Social distancing within childcare settings with young children will be harder to maintain than in other settings. Settings should therefore implement the following measures to minimise the number of contacts that children and adults have, whilst ensuring children are kept safe and well cared for.

Settings should:

  • Take all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus, as legally required in all premises and workplaces open to the public;
  • Risk assess appropriately to evidence their approach to minimising contacts;
  • Ensure that children and staff where possible only mix in consistent groups while adhering to NMS ratios;
  • Keep groups of children separate from other groups where possible;
  • Stagger interaction between different groups of children and consider the movement of children around the childcare setting, including one way route systems where possible to minimise contact;
  • If large spaces (halls) are utilised to accommodate children, these must be demarcated and managed accordingly to keep groups or individuals apart as per requirements for minimising contacts;
  • Prevent the sharing of food, drink, utensils, and where possible equipment and toys;
  • Make as much use as possible of the available outdoor space for activities.
  • Cleaning should take place between sessions of different groups (i.e. between the morning and afternoon sessions where the morning and afternoon groups differ)
  • As far as possible, the same members of staff should be assigned to each group and these should stay the same during the day and on subsequent days;
  • Ensure that staff adhere to social distancing requirements when interacting with other staff at the setting
  • Keep your staffing arrangements as consistent as possible. Those on work placements or students in regular attendance can be included as ‘staff’. Where you do need to use staff from other settings or agency staff, ensure this is agreed on a weekly basis, not daily, to limit contacts;
  • Consider how your emergency evacuation procedures might need to change to accommodate child or staff groupings;
  • Ensure that only essential visitors attend the setting and adhere to the social distancing requirements whilst there, and encourage children and staff to walk or cycle where possible, and avoid public transport at peak times. 
  • Essential visitors could include inspectors, learning support assistants, maintenance workers, healthcare workers and so on. Local authority staff may also need to visit the setting from time to time, in relation to funded schemes or wider support services. Parents who are considering using a setting for the care of their child would not be considered essential visitors (but visits to the setting can be arranged outside of operating hours). From time to time parents may also need to attend the setting to meet staff by invitation in relation to their children’s care;
  • Consider staggering children arriving and leaving the childcare setting to avoid parents or carers gathering during drop off and pick up points;
  • Consider putting markers in outside spaces for parents or carers to keep to the 2 metre social distancing rule for drop off and collection if possible;
  • Inform parents about the measures you are taking and seek their help to implement them

You will need to carefully risk assess and consider your approach, this will be an individual decision for settings to make in line with their own position. 

Childcare staff are required to provide close contact care for small children, including toileting, nappy changing and feeding. In these situations, the Infection Prevention and Control for Childcare Settings Guidance should be followed using aprons and gloves as necessary.  

The Welsh Government have published information relating to taking all reasonable measures to maintain physical distancing in the workplace which should be complied with for any settings that have staff members.  This includes a reference to childcare where it states 'where a service or business is responsible for looking after or working with children or vulnerable adults, it would not be reasonable to institute rigid physical distancing.  In addition, safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults must not be compromised.'   Consider carefully your approach as part of your risk assessment, policies and procedures.

Please see the Covid-19 Childcare Toolkit for further guidance and support including COVID-19 Additional policies and procedure guidance for Wales.

As a childminder, can my own family go in the areas where I am caring for children?

Members of a childminder’s immediate household are able to share the same household space.

In operating your childminding service you should aim to keep the overall levels of contact to a minimum.  If it can be avoided your family members should not be coming into contact with the children you are caring for.  Where spaces are used by other family members when the children are not present you will need to be vigilant in regard to cleaning and infection control measures and follow the Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings.  This is to help protect childminders, family members and children in their care as far as possible in relation to infection prevention and control.

Can parents/carers visit my setting?

In line with the Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings you will need to carefully risk assess and consider your approach.  This will be individual decision for settings to make in line with their own position and approach. 

During operating hours, only essential visitors are permitted to access childcare settings. While this includes parents/carers dropping off/picking up their children, it does not include parents/carers visiting the site when considering using the setting to care for their child. However, where precautions are taken and risk assessments allow, settings are able to facilitate parents/carers visiting a setting in the evenings or at weekends (outside normal operating hours) when considering using a setting for the care of their child. 

These visits are at the discretion of each setting. In addition to existing control measures within a setting, the following additional measures would be required for any visit to take place:

  • Only one parent/carer per visit (no siblings)
  • Only one member of staff conducts the visit
  • Visits are kept as short as possible
  • Toys and resources are not to be handled during the visit
  • Face coverings are worn by all adults at all times
  • Social distance is maintained during the visit
  • Hand hygiene is practised before and after the visit
  • The regulations around recording the visit for Track and Trace are followed

This type of visit needs to be reflected in your Coronavirus risk assessment. A record of the visit should be kept along with contact details of the visitors for contact tracing purposes. Settings will need to explain this in advance to those visiting.

Visits must not take place if any of the staff or parents involved:

  • Have COVID symptoms; or someone they live with has symptoms and therefore should be self-isolating
  • Have tested positive for covid and are self-isolating
  • Have been identified as a close contact or household contact of a positive case and are self-isolating.
  • Or where there is a likelihood that the control measures cannot be adhered to.

Childminders can also facilitate parent/carer visits to their settings in line with the requirements set out above. In addition, childminders will need to consider the presence of their own family during parent/carer visits, ensuring that they do not come into close contact with visitors. Visits should not take place if the visitors, the childminder or a member of the childminder’s family is self-isolating.

Visits are at the discretion of the setting and can only be undertaken where risk assessments allow and where the above requirements can be met.

On occasion it may be necessary to invite a parent to attend the setting to discuss matters relating to their child’s care. Again, such visits should be undertaken at the discretion of the setting, and after determining whether or not it is possible for the meeting to take place remotely.

What is classed as an essential visitor?

In line with the Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings you will need to carefully risk assess and consider your approach.

During operating hours, only essential visitors are permitted to access childcare settings. Please see the previous question in relation to parents/carers of children using or looking to use your service.

Other essential visitors could include inspectors, learning support assistants, maintenance workers, healthcare workers and so on. Local authority staff may also need to visit the setting from time to time, in relation to funded schemes or wider support services.  Settings should also consider their advice on face coverings for essential visitors and ensure essential visitors adhere to the social distancing requirements whilst there.

Can I accept visits from local authority staff for grant award and monitoring purposes?

Local authority staff would be considered essential visitors and can be given access to the premises if there is no alternative way of obtaining the necessary assurances in relation to grant awards and monitoring, but all appropriate steps should be taken to ensure that any visits are carried out as safely as possible.

How do I manage drop offs and pick-ups at my own setting?

Welsh Government guidance is encouraging there to be reduced contact between parents and carers when dropping off and picking up their children, for example by limiting drop off and pick up to one parent or carer per family and staggering timings. Do not allow parents or carers into the setting unless this is essential, and arrange for children to be collected at the door if this is possible.

As some young children will not have been attending a setting for a number of weeks and may be feeling anxious, work with parents and carers to consider how best to manage dropping off their children while maintaining physical distancing.

Avoid the need for parents and carers to wait, but where they have to, consider whether physical distancing markings could be used.

Consider how you can use technology to communicate with parents and carers digitally, for example when providing handover information at the end of the day.

The Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings recommends measures that could be taken in line with drop off and pick up.  You will need to carefully risk assess and consider your approach, this will be individual decision for settings to make in line with their own position.

Please see the Covid-19 Childcare Toolkit for further guidance and support including COVID-19 Additional policies and procedure guidance for Wales.

Should outdoor space in a setting be used?

The Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings recommends 

Children should spend as much time outdoors as possible as this can limit transmission and more easily allow for distance between the groups. Young children (those of primary school age or younger) can interact outside without social distancing. However, adults will need to continue to distance from one another.

Outdoor equipment should not be used unless the setting is able to ensure it is appropriately cleaned between groups of children using it, and that multiple groups don't use it simultaneously.

Please see the Covid-19 Childcare Toolkit for further guidance and support including COVID-19 Additional policies and procedure guidance for Wales.

Health and Hygiene

What is legionnaires' disease and what do I need to do?

Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia which occurs when tiny droplets of water containing the legionella bacteria are inhaled into the lungs. This bacteria can be found in any purpose built water systems and builds up where a water supply has been shut down or had less use than normal. This will be particularly relevant to settings where no one has been on the premises or used the water system during the COVID-19 situaiton and associated lockdown.  Cwlwm have produced a factsheet on Legionnaires' Disease for childcare providers in Wales with supporting information and what needs ot be considered as part of any risk assessment.

Do I need to review the activities I offer in my setting to prevent children sharing resources?

The Welsh Government Protective measures for childcare settings guidance states that materials such as play-dough and sand that are very difficult to clean and can present particular challenges. In line with existing Public Health Wales Infection Prevention and Control for Childcare Settings Guidance during an outbreak of any infectious disease, it may be safest to avoid using these materials during the pandemic while increased preventative measures are in place. Where settings choose to use these difficult to clean items, based on a risk assessment, they should ensure that handwashing takes place before and after play with these materials and that they are not shared between different groups unless a minimum of 72 hours has passed. These should be risk assessed and be changed in accordance with manufacturers guidance or sooner if thought to be contaminated. Water play can take place if steps are taken to avoid multiple children sharing water, water is changed regularly particularly between groups and always between contact groups. Particular care should be taken when children move between activities in a room to ensure that hand washing takes place between each station and that materials that can be cleaned are cleaned between groups. Sand, play-dough, water and other higher risk activities should not take place when there are one or more positive cases in the setting.

Similar challenges can arise with other messy play activities including cookery and settings should consider carefully how and when to undertake these.

Equipment, toys and surfaces, including those across all areas of the setting such as toilets, sinks, taps and changing areas, tables and handles should be cleaned and disinfected frequently in line with Infection Prevention and Control for Childcare Settings Guidance. Providers should consider removing soft toys and toys that are hard to clean (such as those with intricate parts). Outdoor equipment and entrance gates should also be cleaned and disinfected frequently.

Cleaning routines including times, dates, and name of person responsible for the cleaning should be recorded to meet the requirements. Please see appendix 9 of Infection Prevention and Control for Childcare Settings Guidance for further information on keeping equipment clean.

Please see the Covid-19 Childcare Toolkit for further guidance and support including COVID-19 Additional policies and procedure guidance for Wales.

Where should a childcare setting obtain personal protective equipment (PPE) from and how should this be used?

The Protective measures for childcare settings guidance recommends measures in relation to the use of PPE.  This includes the following times when PPE should be used:

  • Gloves and aprons should be used when providing intimate care to a child, including hands-on care such as washing, toileting, or first aid and certain clinical procedures such as assisted feeding.
  • Fluid-resistant surgical mask and eye protection should also be worn if a risk assessment determines that there is a risk of splashing to the eyes such as from coughing, spitting, or vomiting.
  • Gloves and aprons should be used when cleaning equipment or surfaces that might be contaminated with body fluids such as saliva or respiratory secretions.
  • Handwashing should always be practised before putting on and after removing PPE.

PPE should be sourced through a settings usual channels and supliers. If there are difficulties in accessing supplies we would suggest providers speak to their Local Authority childcare team in the first instance to see if there is support available.

All staff should understand how to put on/remove PPE in order to reduce the risk of onward transmission of infection. Further guidance is available in appendix 6 of the Infection Prevention and Control for Childcare Settings Guidance.

Should face coverings be used in a childcare setting?

The Protective measures for childcare settings guidance states that childcare settings are not considered to be public spaces and therefore the wearing of face coverings is not mandatory in a childcare setting. However, as part of their risk assessment to support their COVID-secure operations childcare settings should consider a range of interventions, which could include the use of face coverings, particularly where there is adult to adult contact and social distance cannot be maintained. Where the setting feels their use would be needed, careful consideration should be given to how to do this appropriately and ensure the needs of children are met, particularly those with additional needs. 

Face coverings are not a replacement for far more effective measures such as social distancing and hand hygiene. Where a decision is made to use a face covering we would encourage that individuals use high quality three layered face coverings and use them correctly, covering the mouth and nose, ensuring hand hygiene before putting on and following removal. Face coverings should be made up of three layers as set out by the World Health Organisation but do not need to be medical-grade face masks. Settings should also ensure adequate waste bins on premises for those who choose to use single-use face coverings. Face coverings or visors are not PPE and would not prevent an individual being identified as a close contact by the TTP team..

Settings may wish to consider advising parents to wear face coverings when dropping off and picking up children where maintaining a social distance between staff and parents is difficult. Settings should also consider their advice on face coverings for essential visitors.

Where a setting is located on a school site they should ensure they understand and abide by the school policies on the use of face coverings and may wish to consult the school operational guidance. 

Where settings are based on mixed-use sites, they should consult and adhere to the guidance provided for the site and the policies of the landlord on the wearing of face coverings in communal areas. 

Children under the age of 11 do not have to wear face coverings.

Where a setting cares for a mixed age range (i.e. primary and secondary school children) careful consideration should be given to the needs of all the children involved.

Social distancing is not always possible in child care settings, especially with the youngest children and that is why infection prevention and control measures must be increased. Any person who may not be able to adapt to face coverings as directed (e.g. young children, or those with special educational needs or disabilities) should not wear them as it may inadvertently increase the risk of transmission. If parents want children to wear face coverings the practicalities of how this can be managed within the setting should be discussed.

If staff in childcare settings wish to wear face coverings, they may do so, as long as they follow the advice for safe and hygienic use. However, the impact on communication with children and children’s general well-being is critical to any considerations around whether staff wear face coverings. 

Childcare settings should not require children to wear face coverings as incorrect handling may inadvertently increase the risk of transmission. However if children or the parents or carers of that child choose or wish for the child to wear a face covering to the setting there should be a clear process in place for removal on arrival at the setting. Children must be told not to touch the front of their face covering during use or when removing them. They must wash their hands immediately on arrival dispose of temporary face coverings in a covered bin or place reusable face coverings in a plastic bag they can take home with them, and then wash their hands again. 

The impact of wearing a face covering when caring for a deaf child should be carefully considered, as communication for many deaf people relies in part on being able to see someone’s face clearly. The National Deaf Children’s Society has provided the following communication tips via social media and their website which childcare staff may find useful in this regard.

Please see the Covid-19 Childcare Toolkit for further guidance and support around health and hygiene including COVID-19 Additional policies and procedure guidance for Wales.

How should food and drink be provided?

Childcare settings in Wales must comply with the relevant regulations and National Minimum Standards which include the provision of food and drink.

In light of the current situation you will also need to make decisions on the provision of meals and snacks taking into account the Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings and other guidance including the Infection Prevention and Control Guidance for Childcare Settings .

Depending on your individual position providers can provide meals and snacks in childcare settings or allow for parents/carers to provide meals or snacks for children.  This may however differ from your usual position on this following risk assessments being undertaken. 

Carry out risk assessments, talk to parents/carers and any staff you may have to discuss this and the measures that you will have to put in place in order to do so safely and within Welsh Government guidance. The Safer Food Better Business for childminders pack should be used and regularly reviewed by those providing food and drink in childminding settings.

PACEY Cymru has produced additional COVID-19 Policy Guidance to support you in the review of your policies and procedures.  You can also access further support in the Covid-19 Childcare Toolkit.

How do I ensure adequate levels of ventilation in my setting?

Welsh Government Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings states that where settings rely on natural ventilation including opening windows and doors to provide a supply of fresh air, this practice should continue to improve ventilation. It is however recognised that there will be a need to optimise the amount of fresh air entering a room whilst balancing this with thermal comfort (maintaining a reasonable temperature) and the risks associated with open windows. The Fire Safety Risk Assessment should always be reviewed before any internal doors are held open.

Windows and doors do not have to remain fully open to obtain the levels of fresh air required to provide good ventilation, they can be partially opened. Staff may need to be advised how to achieve the most appropriate ventilation in any setting and should start by consulting the HSE guidance. Additional ventilation can be achieved by ventilating rooms more fully between uses.

Whilst improving ventilation is a key control settings should continue to ensure that the wider controls of social distancing, hand washing, respiratory hygiene and enhanced cleaning as outlined in this guidance are implemented and maintained.

The Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings contains further guidance in relaton to HSE reuqirements where staff are employed and also guidance for those using mechanical ventilation. 

Are children able to wear outdoor clothes, aprons and dressing up clothes provided by the setting?

Welsh Government has published Infection prevention and control in childcare settings guidance to be used in conjunction with the Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings 

This states that any clothing that you provide should be allocated to individual children, not shared, and washed before being used by a different child.

Testing process 

What is the testing position in Wales for those working in childcare and play settings?

The Welsh Government has announced that all those working in education and registered childcare and play settings will have access to Lateral Flow Devices (LFDs).  This enables them to undertake a test for coronavirus at home twice a week. The LFDs provide a result within 30 minutes and don’t require a laboratory to process. 

The LFD test is for those who do not have coronavirus symptoms. Those who have coronavirus symptoms should self-isolate and arrange to have a polymerise chain reaction (PCR) test.

Education and childcare settings have implemented the control measures outlined in sector guidance to reduce the risk of transmission. The testing offer will enable settings to reduce this risk further by safeguarding against the transmission of the coronavirus by those who show no symptoms. While twice weekly testing help us prevent the spread in the community, it is important that settings continue to implement the control measures outlined in the guidance specific to the settings to lessen the risk of transmission and likelihood of positive test results.  

The Welsh Government has published information within the Protective Measures for childcare settings in relation to testing and tracing, this will be updated following the announcement in relation to the offer of Lateral Flow Tests to the sector in coming days with further guidance also in development.

Is testing voluntary?

The guidance from Welsh Government states that testing is voluntary, but individuals are strongly encouraged to take up the offer to further reduce the risk of asymptomatic transmission.

If individuals have coronavirus symptoms, they should arrange to have a polymerise chain reaction (PCR) test you can book online or by calling 119 and not use the lateral flow device (LFD) test.

CIW have also confirmed the following to us:

'Testing is an important way of managing the spread of COVID-19 and is part of the protective measures guidance for childcare settings. Providers should follow Welsh Government guidance and facilitate testing, even where people are asymptomatic. The safety and well-being of children must come first and inspectors will consider adherence to the guidance in its assessment of the quality and safety of the provision. We are aware that participation in testing is voluntary and will be mindful that some people may decline to take part. We always take a holistic view of a service, with a focus on outcomes for children – and there is no question of a service being viewed negatively simply because some staff have not participated in testing. Rather, we would consider that issue alongside all the other aspects of infection prevention and control that help to promote the wellbeing of children using the setting. This would include the actions taken by leaders to mitigate any risks they identify.'

The Welsh Government has published information within the Protective Measures for childcare settings in relation to testing and tracing, this will be updated following the announcement in relation to the offer of Lateral Flow Tests to the sector.

What is a Lateral Flow Test?

The Welsh Government has published guidance that contains useful information. This will be updated as further information and guidance is published.

All those working in education and registered childcare and play settings will have access to Lateral Flow Devices (LFDs). This enables them to undertake a test for coronavirus at home twice a week. The LFDs provide a result within 30 minutes and don’t require a laboratory to process. 

The test is for those who do not have coronavirus symptoms. If staff have coronavirus symptoms, they should self-isolate and arrange to have a polymerise chain reaction (PCR) test.

Testing is voluntary, but individuals are strongly encouraged to take up the offer to further reduce the risk of asymptomatic transmission.  There is no charge for the tests. 

What is a Lateral Flow Test Device? 

Lateral Flow (Antigen) testing involves the processing of nasal and throat swab samples with a Lateral Flow Device (LFD). The device, best described as looking like a home pregnancy test, detects a protein (antigen) produced by the virus.  If present in the person’s sample, a coloured line appears on the device that can be read between 20-30 minutes after processing. 

What is the difference between regular polymerise chain reaction (PCR) tests and Lateral Flow Tests?

Both the RT-PCR test and lateral flow test require a swab to be taken from the nose and throat. The RT-PCR is used for those who are experiencing symptoms and the swab is analysed in a lab. 

Whereas, a lateral flow test is used for those not experiencing symptoms and the swab can be analysed using a lateral flow device at home, so the results can be returned within an hour. While LFDs are not as sensitive as lab-based RT-PCR tests, scientific advice has indicated that by testing more frequently with LFDs, their accuracy is on a par with RT-PCR tests and this is why we repeat the tests on a twice weekly basis.

How do I use a Lateral Flow Test?

The Welsh Government has published guidance that contains useful information. This will be updated as further information and guidance is published.

How often should I take the test?

It is recommended that the tests are taken twice weekly i.e. two tests 3-4 days apart per week. It is also recommended that tests are taken before you attend the setting.  It is advised that tests should be taken on a fixed schedule e.g. the same days and times each week.

Is participation mandatory?

No. those working in childcare and play settings who decline to participate in the testing offer are still be able to attend the workplace or provide childcare.  

If I’ve previously had coronavirus or have received the coronavirus vaccine, should I still undertake twice weekly testing? 

Yes, given the current prevalence of the virus and the pressing need to reduce transmission, all those offered twice weekly testing are encouraged to take it up whether they have previously had coronavirus or have received the vaccine. 

Please ensure the LFD test is not taken whilst you are within period of self-isolation following a positive coronavirus test result.

How do I undertake the test?

Training is not required, the tests can be self-administered and come with clear instructions, but in summary: 

  • wash and dry your hands thoroughly
  • remove the test (being careful not to touch the soft part)
  • open your mouth wide. Use the swab to rub the back of your throat firmly four times on each side
  • remove the swab without touching teeth, tongue or gums
  • gently place it in your nostrils (2.5 cm inside) and rub the swab along the lining of your nostril 4-5 times
  • remove (being careful the swab doesn’t touch anything)
  • place it in the tube for testing for 30 minutes and await the result (a coloured line will appear if positive)
  • wash hands thoroughly after disposing of the test

Each time an individual takes a test they need to record the result via the online results portal (which can be accessed via a smartphone) or by the phone number provided in the test kit. This needs to be done each time a test is take regardless of whether the result is negative or positive.  There is further guidance here 

What do I do if the result is positive?

Anyone who tests positive using a Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test must not attend a setting. They and everyone they live with must self-isolate immediately according to the self-isolation guidance whilst they undertake the following actions:

  • Report the test result online (or by calling 119)
  • Book a follow up PCR test through the online booking portal.
  • Notify their setting of the result.
  • Notify Care Inspectorate Wales of the result.
  • They will be contacted by the local contact tracing team to identify contacts who will need to self-isolate – they must follow any advice given by the local contact tracing team.
  • If a positive LFD test result is followed by a PCR test taken within 24 hours and the result is negative, the individual may return to the setting as normal. However, if the PCR test is taken more than 24 hours after a positive LFD and the PCR is negative, the individual and their contacts will need to continue to self isolate for 10 days.

A flow chart providing details of the regular testing process is available.

What do I do if the result is negative?

If the test result is negative, you will need to record this via the online results portal but no further action is required and you can continue your day as usual. All results must be recorded.

How do I dispose of the test?

Once your test is complete, put all of the used test kit contents in the waste bag provided.

If your result is positive seal the bag and keep this in a safe place for 72hrs. After this time place in the domestic waste bag (normally a “black bag”). As you a COVID positive individual in self-isolation from this point then you are required to ensure that waste that has been in direct contact with you is held for 72hrs before entering the domestic waste stream

If your result was negative or void you can immediately dispose of the waste bag provided in your domestic waste.  

Can I use the test on a member of my family? 

No, the tests allocated are for those working in education, childcare and play settings only. This means that tests cannot be used for family members. Family members who are not able to work from home are now able to access a separate allocation of test kits in line with the Welsh Government announcement.

All tests will have to be signed for and use will be monitored. 

I employ staff in a childcare setting, what do I need to know?

The Welsh Government has published guidance that contains useful information. This will be updated as further information and guidance is published.

Staff who decline to participate in the testing offer are still be able to attend the workplace.

If you employ staff you will need to ensure that staff understand the testing process and have read a privacy notice, if they choose to participate they are committing to self-administer the test and provide their results. Childcare settings should ensure that staff provide their results (positive, negative or void) to NHS Test and Trace. Results should also be shared with their workplace to support local contact tracing.

Staff who decline to participate in this testing programme should follow the usual national guidelines on self-isolation and anyone should get tested if they show symptoms.

How do I collect or receive Lateral Flow Tests?

The Welsh Government has published guidance that contains useful information. This will be updated as further information and guidance is published.

For larger settings who are able to store tests on site, the tests will be able to be ordered through an operational portal and will be delivered to the setting 10-14 days later. Settings will need to store the tests and ensure they re-order when stocks are low.  

Where space is an issue, for example for childcare settings based at community facilities or childminders, work is underway locally to determine clear supply chains. This will mean collecting the tests you need from a local hub. It is not currently possible to send tests out through the general postal system, and deliveries are only available in large quantities. PACEY Cymru have been working closely with Welsh Government and partners in the sector to confirm the approach.  Welsh Government have now confirmed that test kits will be delivered to local authority hubs around the end of March.  Contact details for the Local Authority hubs can be found here. Once Local Authorities have the accurate delivery dates they will be informing eligible individuals of the local collection process and a contact, so they can begin organising collection of kits.  A six week supply will be supplied for each individual including childminders. 

PACEY Cymru have voiced disappointment to Welsh Government around the time it has taken to agree the approach and enable the collection of test kits to childminders.

Settings will need to create and update a test kit log and test register to record the distribution of test kits.  Following a number of queries from childminders regarding the inputting the URN numbers when reporting LFT results online, this has been raised nationally to Welsh Government who have stated that for the foreseeable future URN numbers will not be required for those that collect their kits from Local Authority Hubs. Individuals should select ‘none of the above’ for the question ‘who was the test for’.

What if I have tested positive in the last 90 days or have symptoms?

The Welsh Government’s Covid-19 Education and Childcare Testing Team has announced that anyone who’s tested positive for Covid-19 via a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test in the last 90 days should not be tested through the use of lateral flow tests as part of the education and childcare programme.

Those who tested positive via a PCR test should wait until 90 days after they first began showing symptoms or tested positive (if asymptomatic) to be tested as part of the programme.

The programme is for people who are asymptomatic – tests should not be used for those with symptoms.  

The Welsh Government team is in the process of updating the FAQs and standard operating procedures on the online document platform.

The Welsh Government has published guidance that contains useful information. This will be updated as further information and guidance is published.

What is the NHS Test and Trace app?

The new NHS Test and Trace app was launched in September in conjunction with the UK Government.

Checking in with the app will enable people to keep a diary of the locations they have visited, which will be held securely in the app. If there is a COVID-19 outbreak linked to their visit, users will get an early warning alert from the NHS.  If they have a positive test for COVID-19, people will be able to use the diary to tell contact tracing teams where they have been, helping to manage COVID-19 and protecting other people.

The Welsh Government has published guidance including how you can create a coronavirus NHS QR code to display in a poster in your setting. 

 Symptoms, self-isolation and positive test results

What should a childminder do if they, or a household members, show symptoms or test positive for Coronavirus?

The Protective measures guidance for childcare settings has further information on testing and what individuals need to do. 

In the case of a childminder who shows symptoms of COVID-19 or whose household member(s) show symptoms of COVID-19, the childminder and their household members would need to follow self-isolation and testing guidance. This would mean the setting would need to close until the childminder and their household members are able to end their isolation in accordance with the self-isolation and testing guidance.  CIW should be notified of any temporary closures through CIW online

It will be important that settings have a clear policy in place for the advent of a positive test for a child in their care or an adult working in the setting. They should require that the setting is informed, and enable them to follow up with all people who came into contact with that person during their time in the setting. They may need to share contact details of staff and children with the NHS Contact Tracers and must ensure they have the consent of all individuals accessing the setting to do this. 

What is the latest position on extended symptom testing?

The Welsh Government shared a position statement from Health Protection Team Consultant on the 12th April 2021. This stated:

'People who are experiencing one or more of the three cardinal COVID-19 symptoms (new persistent cough, fever and/or loss of taste or smell) must continue to follow the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect guidance on testing and isolation and are required to self-isolate with their household whilst they await a test result.

Health Boards in Wales are also making testing available for residents who are experiencing a wider range of symptoms such as fatigue, myalgia (muscle ache or pain), a sore throat, a headache, a runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea.

Residents are asked to consider taking a test if they are experiencing any of these wider symptoms and they are new, persistent and/or unusual symptoms for them.

Individuals who take a test because of these other wider symptoms are not required to isolate while they await their test result. This includes children and school pupils who can continue to attend schools and childcare settings while they await a test result. However, children and adults with diarrhoea and or vomiting should remain off work or school and not attend childcare settings until they are symptom free for 48 hours even if their Covid-19 test is negative.

If individuals then receive a positive Covid-19 result, they and their household must then isolate. Households must also isolate if anyone develops any of the 3 cardinal Covid-19 symptoms while waiting for a test result taken on wider symptoms to come back.'

The Protective measures guidance for childcare settings has further information on testing and what individuals need to do. 

It will be important that settings have a clear policy in place for the advent of a positive test for a child in their care or an adult working in the setting. They should require that the setting is informed, and enable them to follow up with all people who came into contact with that person during their time in the setting. They may need to share contact details of staff and children with the NHS Contact Tracers and must ensure they have the consent of all individuals accessing the setting to do this. 

What should a childminder do if they, a household member or child in their care have to self-isolate but are not displaying symptoms?

The Welsh Government has published Test, Trace, Protect information for parents and carers alongside other useful resources to support you in decision making conversations.

The Protective measures guidance for childcare settings has further information on testing and what individuals need to do

Childminder needing to self-isolate (no symptoms)

In the case of a childminder being contacted by Test, Trace, Protect or Public Health Wales and told to self-isolate, as they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested postive, the setting would need to close.  The setting would not be able to re-open until the childminder are able to end their isolation in accordance with the self-isolation and testing guidance.

If the childminder develops symptoms or tests positive during this self-isolation period then the childminder should follow the advice in the FAQ above around what to do if a childminder shows symptoms or tests postive.

Household member needing to self-isolate (no symptoms)

If a household member of a childminder (including their own child) is contacted by Test, Trace, Protect or Public Health Wales and told to self-isolate, as they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested postive, then the childminder should discuss their individual situation with Public Health Wales.  Circumstances for childminders will vary when it comes to the age of the person self-isolating (and their ability to isolate away from the children being cared for), the number of children being cared for and the set-up of the childminding service.  Welsh Government have advised us that there is no blanket response for childminders in this situation as the context of each service varies and will be decided on an individual basis.  We would recommend that childminders in this situation work with Public Health Wales on a risk assessment of their circumstances and outline any potential mitigating actions they could put into place to remain open.  For any decision making queries relating to this we suggest you contact the Health Protection Team (HPT) or All Wales Acute Response (AWARe) Team on 0300 003 0032 or email AWARe@wales.nhs.uk during office hours.

Providers do have to follow the advice of Public Health Wales if asked to close however.

If the household member develops symptoms or tests positive during this self-isolation period then the childminder should follow the advice in the FAQ above around what to do if a household member shows symptoms or tests postive.

Child in the care of a childminder being asked to self-isolate (no symptoms)

If a child in the care of a childminder (not including their own child as this is covered by the section above) is asked to self-isolate (for example due to them being in a group or 'bubble' in another school or setting where a child has tested positive) then the child should not return to the setting until they are able to end their isolation in accordance with the self-isolation and testing guidance. 

If the child is not displaying symptoms the setting would not need to close at this point unless advised to do so by Public Health Wales or Test, Trace, Protect.

If the child develops symptoms or tests positive during this self-isolation period then the childminder should follow the advice in the FAQ above around what to do if a child in their care shows symptoms or tests postive.

CIW should be notified of any temporary closures through CIW online

It will be important that settings have a clear policy in place for these eventualities and for the advent of a positive test for a child in their care or an adult working in the setting. They should require that the setting is informed, and enable them to follow up with all people who came into contact with that person during their time in the setting. They may need to share contact details of staff and children with the NHS Contact Tracers and must ensure they have the consent of all individuals accessing the setting to do this. Please see the section below around ‘Contracts, policies and PACEY membership’ for further guidance on fees and contract related points.

Who do I need to notify of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in my setting?

CIW have stated that you should notify CIW of confirmed cases of COVID-19 of people using the service, staff and family members.

From 12 March CIW stated that you should notify CIW of confirmed and suspected cased of COVID-19 of people using the service, staff and family members. However, on 19 August CIW confirmed that as testing has rolled out and become more available, CIW believe the time is right to stop requesting notification of suspected COVID-19 cases. Providers should continue to notify CIW of each confirmed COVID-19 cases only – those with a positive COVID-19 test result.

Please use CIW Online to notify them and report as you would any infectious disease. If your childminding service is now temporarily closed, please inform CIW by emailing CIW@gov.wales

If you are closing due to the outbreak you should notify PACEY, if you hold insurance and/or membership with us, by emailing support@pacey.org.uk

The Welsh Government's Test, Trace, Protect strategy will also look to contain the spread of the virus and contacts for those who have tested positive will be contacted under the strategy and advised on what steps to take.

What should a setting do if a child in their care tests positive for Coronavirus?

The Welsh Government has published Test, Trace, Protect information for parents and carers alongside other useful resources to support you in decision making conversations.

The Protective measures guidance for childcare settings includes information relevant to testing and tracing.

If a child receives a test and that test is positive, they should self-isolate and parents/carers should report their symptoms. Any school or setting they attend will then be contacted by the Contact Tracing Team and advice will be given on isolation measures to be taken by individuals in line with the strategy.

It will be important that settings have a clear policy in place for the advent of a positive test for a child in their care or an adult working in the setting. They should require that the setting is informed, and enable them to follow up with all people who came into contact with that person during their time in the setting.  They may need to share contact details of staff and children with the NHS Contact Tracers and must ensure they have the consent of all individuals accessing the setting to do this. 

See the FAQ around 'Who do I need to notify of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in my settin?' for further information in relation to notifications.

What should a setting do if a staff member tests positive for Coronavirus?

The Protective measures guidance for childcare settings includes information relevant to testing and tracing.

If a staff member receives a test and that test is positive, they should self-isolate and report their symptoms. The setting they work in will then be contacted by the Contact Tracing Team and advice will be given on isolation measures to be taken by individuals in line with the strategy.

It will be important that settings have a clear policy in place for the advent of a positive test for a child in their care or an adult working in the setting. They should require that the setting is informed, and enable them to follow up with all people who came into contact with that person during their time in the setting.  They may need to share contact details of staff and children with the NHS Contact Tracers and must ensure they have the consent of all individuals accessing the setting to do this. 

A parent of a child in my setting is isolating due to being a close contact, but has no symptoms of Covid-19. Can their child continue to attend?

The Welsh Government has published Test, Trace, Protect information for parents and carers alongside other useful resources to support you in decision making conversations.

Generally, if a parent of a child in your setting is isolating due to being a close contact of a person who has tested positive for Covid-19 (but is not showing symptoms themselves of Covid-19) the child would still be able to attend the setting.  Welsh Government guidance states that at this time other household members do not have to self-isolate.  If the parent isolating, or anyone else in the household, developed symptoms of Covid-19 during the isolation period the whole of that household would then need to self-isolate for the period confirmed in national guidance and so the child could not attend.

It’s important to recognise that this is general advice based on the guidance from NHS Track, Trace and Protect.  All childcare businesses and situations are unique and therefore if you still aren’t sure whether that child can come to your setting or whether you’re comfortable with that child continuing to come to your setting, we’d advise that you risk assess the situation and for any decision making queries relating to this we suggest you contact the Health Protection Team (HPT) or All Wales Acute Response (AWARe) Team on 0300 003 0032 or email AWARe@wales.nhs.uk during office hours.

What should happen if a child develops symptoms of Coronavirus while in a childcare setting?

Settings will need to have a clear, written procedure in place for the protection of staff and children if a child develops symptoms while at the setting. PACEY Cymru have published COVID-19 additional policy guidance for members that is helpful when writing or reviewing policies and procedures. 

The Protective Measures guidance for childcare settings states:

'Settings will need to have a clear, written procedure in place for the protection of staff and children if a child develops symptoms while at the setting. Their parent or carer should be called immediately and the child collected and taken home. Young sick children will need to be cared for until they are collected.

The child should be moved away from other children and cared for separately with appropriate adult supervision. If it is not possible to isolate the child, move them to an area which is at least 2 meters away from other children. Ideally, a window should be opened for ventilation. Disposable gloves, apron and a fluid resistant surgical mask should be worn if the child requires personal care or close contact. If a risk assessment determines that there is a risk of splashing to the eyes, for example from coughing, spitting, or vomiting, then eye protection should also be worn. 

If a child needs to go to the toilet while waiting to be collected, they should use a separate toilet if possible. The areas where a person suspected of having COVID-19 has been, including toilets, must be cleaned and disinfected. Gloves and aprons should be used when cleaning the areas where a person suspected of having COVID-19 has been. See section on Decontamination and Cleaning below.

If they need clinical advice, they (or a member of staff or their parent or carer) should go online to 111 Wales (or call 111 if they don’t have internet access). 

If a member of staff has helped a child or staff member who was taken unwell with symptoms of COVID-19 they do not need to go home unless they develop symptoms (new continuous cough, high temperature, loss of smell or taste) themselves. They should wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after any contact with someone who is unwell and where possible should change into clean clothing.

Should there be a delay in a parent collecting a symptomatic child, please contact the local environmental health officer via your local council’s website. Children or staff members who are symptomatic should be tested. 

If any child or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, settings must notify Care Inspectorate Wales of positive test results.'

Contracts, policies and PACEY membership 

Will my insurance cover me?

PACEY’s insurers are clear that your insurance provides liability, so long as you implement the appropriate steps and actions that are set out in Welsh Government guidance and Public Health Wales guidance. This guidance is evolving all the time so you should regularly review this and ensure your systems and procedures are up to date.

If you are not insured with PACEY, you need to check any requirements with your chosen insurance provider.

Please see the Covid-19 Childcare Toolkit for further guidance and support including COVID-19 Additional policies and procedure guidance for Wales.

What about the contracts I already have with parents/carers?

There is a range of financial support available to childcare providers to help them cope with the financial impact of Coronavirus. Given this the Welsh Government have asked that providers are reasonable and balanced in their dealings with parents.

Generally, if you are unable to provide a service, you will be unable to charge normal fees.  You should check the specific terms of your contract with parents/carers to see if there is any provision that allows you to charge in these circumstances. Our view is that it is very unlikely for contracts to be specific enough for you to continue to charge for a long period of closure. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have now released consumer law guidance for the early years sector, which includes an open letter to the sector as well as published guidance on Covid-19 restrictions and consumer law advice for nurseries and early years settings. PACEY members can access additional information and FAQ's along with information to share with parents at consumer law and COVID-19.

It is always possible to vary a contract with agreement. As such you could attempt to negotiate a retainer fee with parents/carers and this would allow them to retain their space in the setting once the current crisis comes to an end. Do bear in mind though that we do not know when it will end, so parents/carers may not want to agree to such an open ended commitment.

Please see question below on 'Have PACEY made any amendments to current contracts?' for further information.

PACEY members can contact the legal team for advice on individual contracts.

Why do PACEY contracts not contain a force majeure clause?

Unfortunately, these are unprecedented circumstances.  The view of our legal team is that even with a force majeure clause, it would be extremely unlikely any business could continue to charge customers for a significant period of time without providing their services. In writing our PACEY contracts, we also have to be mindful of the unfair contract terms provisions contained in the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

There is a range of financial support available to childcare providers to help them cope with the financial impact of Coronavirus. Given this the Welsh Government have asked that providers are reasonable and balanced in their dealings with parents.

You will know your business and your parents best you could follow the example of some childcare settings who are not charging but are asking parents who can afford to pay, to pay a voluntary monthly retainer fee to help you stay viable and able to open your childcare business after the pandemic. Whilst not all parents will be able to do so, some may be happy to support you in this way as they will need your childcare service in the future.

Will PACEY refund membership and public liability premiums paid whilst members cannot work as a result of being closed?

With some providers chossing or having to close in Wales, some of you have been in touch asking to freeze or cancel your PACEY insurance and/or membership. We know you will be facing financial struggles over the coming weeks and fully understand why you may want to do this. We will of course do what you request but we must ask that, if you:

  • value the support and advice we are providing you now;
  • want us to continue to push Government to provide support for self-employed childminders and for all the other settings that have had to close,
  • want us to provide the advice and guidance you will need to re-establish your childcare business after the pandemic,

then we need your continued support as a member. Without your membership subscription and insurance fee, PACEY will not have the funds it needs to continue to support you. As a charity, we receive very little grant funding from government or other funders. The majority of our income comes from the membership subscriptions; sales of insurance, training and other products and services that you and other members buy.

Later this week we will set up a new system to help us process your requests to freeze or cancel membership and/or insurance as soon as we can. But we ask you - wherever possible - to consider freezing your membership rather than cancelling it all together, especially if you plan to reopen your setting after the pandemic. If you do freeze rather than cancel, PACEY has decided to continue to provide you with access to all its digital advice and support, including our much valued legal advice service, so that you can stay connected with your sector colleagues and get all the support you need from us to manage your setting through this pandemic and reopen when we have all defeated the Coronavirus.

Cwlwm has also produced some points to consider in relation to insurance.  Please note these are for guidance only and you should contact your insurance provider for any advice on any decisions you are looking to make.

What if I am unable to provide my service because I have been advised to self-isolate?

This situation would be treated as sickness and should be dealt with in the same way as sickness is dealt with your contract with the parent/carer. Typically, this means that you won’t charge fees for the period of your sickness/self-isolation. Always check the terms of your own contract with any particular parent.

Please see question below on 'Have PACEY made any amendments to current contracts?' for further information.

The Childcare and play: alert level 4 frequently asked questions state if you are funded for the Childcare Offer for Wales funding may continue to be paid based on booked hours in some circumstances where Covid-19 is causing disruption to childcare services.  Your local authority may also be able to provide some funding to help with additional costs or loss in income which you are facing as a result of Covid-19. You should contact your local authority and discuss this with them.

We would suggest you contact your local authority if this becomes the situation for you to see what financial support is now available.  This will hopefully go some of the way to alleviating financial concerns for settings.

The UK Government and Welsh Government have also announced a package of support for workers and businesses.  Please see the sources of support page in our spotlight on Coronavirus for further information.

PACEY members can contact the legal team for advice on individual contracts.

Have PACEY made any amendments to current contracts?

PACEY’s Childminding Contracts are tailor-made to meet your needs and include useful guidance notes to help you negotiate and agree terms with parents or guardians. The completion of a written childminding contract is a regulation requirement in Wales.

We have already updated these to ensure they reflect some of the issues that have already emerged as a result of the pandemic. This includes the addition of an agreed retainer fee if forced closure was to occur.

Digital contracts are now available in Wales. These single-use contracts will be for childminders in Wales and are available to be purchased individually at digital childminder contract Wales. These contracts have been updated to cover enforced closures and pandemics. For help in completing digital contracts please see our provider FAQs.  

If you have already purchased a paper version of a PACEY registered childminding contract (Wales), we now have an addendum available, free of charge, to members to cover enforced closures. This will also be automatically added to your basket, free of charge, with the purchase of the Wales paper Childminding Contract. You will need to ensure that both parties sign and date it. This addendum should be stored securely with your contract.  

Please note any retainer charged during an enforced closure must be deemed to be fair and reasonable, and can only be used to cover unavoidable business costs.  Please see the CMA letter to the sector for further information and advice. 

What was the information shared by CMA regarding COVID-19 and retainer fees?

At the end of April, The Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) launched an investigation regarding the early years sector and charging retainer fees during the COVID-19 pandemic. After this was announced, PACEY worked closely with CMA alongside sector colleagues the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) and the Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA) to provide evidence and information about the complex financial issues in the early years sector.

The CMA then issued an open letter to the sector as well as guidance specifically on Covid-19 restrictions and consumer law advice for nurseries and early years settings. 

Please make sure you read the full guidance as it contains clear and important guidance.

How has PACEY, NDNA and SCMA worked with the CMA?

The Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY), The National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) and the Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA) have worked together with the CMA since the beginning of May to provide evidence and information regarding the complex financial issues in the early years sector. We also advised on the current guidance to make sure that providers have the correct information and knowledge going forward in regards to COVID-19 retainers fees and consumer law.

Are PACEY contracts and the addendum still fine to use?

Yes. Our PACEY contracts are regularly reviewed by our legal team. In light of this new advice and guidance from The CMA regarding voluntary ‘retainer’ fees, we have re-checked our contracts and have needed no change at this point.

Can I still charge for my holidays/bank holidays?

Yes. You can add charges into your contract such as holidays/bank holidays however, these must be clearly communicated with parents, approached in a fair way and with the clear agreement with parents. We have further advice regarding contracts and agreements here 

Are parents going to be demanding refunds for retainer fees? Can they?

The CMA is asking providers to consider their contracts and arrangements with parents and take any necessary steps to ensure they comply with the law. If, after reading the CMA advice, you are unsure as to whether or not your charges were fair and reasonable, PACEY members can call the free Legal Advice line. If you feel you may have incorrectly charged your customers, you should proactively contact parents to discuss this and agree the best method of refund.

Equally, if a parent has asked for a refund for their retainer fee during a forced closure but you feel the charges were fair and reasonable then you should contact the parent in writing to explain why you believe your charges were fair and reasonable, stating how you have adhered to CMA’s guidance. If the parent continues to disagree, as a PACEY member, you can call our free Legal Advice line for support and advice on your specific circumstances.

I am still feeling worried about my contract after the release of the CMA guidance, where can I find further support?

In regards to the latest CMA guidance and advice regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and charging voluntary/retainer fees, we have some FAQs available to members here.

As every situation is unique, we would encourage all PACEY members to ring the free legal helpline if they wish to discuss their situation in more detail. The number can be found here.

Do I need to develop new policies and procedures for COVID-19?

You will need to review your existing policies and procedures to ensure that they adequately cover the changes in circumstances and to ensure you can operate safely. PACEY Cymru has produced additional COVID-19 Policy Guidance to support you in the review of your policies and procedures.  You can also access further support in the  Covid-19 Childcare Toolkit.

 

What options are there in regards to paying for PACEY membership?

We have a number of ways in which you can spread the cost of paying for your membership. You can find out about the different options here - www.pacey.org.uk/COVID-payment-plan

If a setting is open but a child does not attend does that mean full fees apply?

This will depend on what you have agreed in your contract with parents. Remember that PACEY members have access to legal help and support for contract queries.

For Welsh Government or Local Authority funded childcare please see the section on financial queries, funding and support  below.

The family of a child I look after are not adhering to government guidance while not at my setting – what can I do?

Both the setting and the families who attend that setting must adhere to government guidance at all times. This is to keep both them and the setting safe and prevent further outbreaks.

Make sure that you have all the correct policies and procedures in place and that parents are fully aware of these requirements, why they are in place and what is expected of them.

If you are aware of a family who are not adhering to government guidelines we would suggest that the setting contacts the family with a clear letter explaining and reminding them of the requirements previously set out and that they need to adhere to them. We would also recommend that you seek specific advice from the PACEY legal help line. This is a free service for members.

One of my employees who works at my setting are not adhering to government guidance when not working – what can I do?

It is important that employees understand and adhere to guidance when working and not working. We would suggest adding some information to your staff handbook to remind staff of your expectations. Below is some suggested wording.

“As an organisation we take the health and wellbeing of staff and children seriously. As such, we would expect all members of staff working within the setting to abide by any government recommendations, laws and guidelines on social distancing whether at work or in their private lives.  Any breaches of government guidelines on social distancing will be dealt with in accordance with our disciplinary procedures and may be treated as gross misconduct.

If you need any further information in relation to social distancing, please speak to [INSERT HR/MANAGER NAME HERE]”

Financial queries, funding and support

What financial support is available to childcare providers?

The UK Government and Welsh Government have announced a package of support for workers and businesses.  Please see the sources of support page in our spotlight on Coronavirus for further information.

PACEY will continue to work with Welsh Government and lobby for support for you to stay in business and be able to deliver the childcare families will need after the pandemic. We are continuing to meet regularly with the UK and Welsh Government , and we submitted evidence to the Treasury Committee.

I am not sure if I am eligible for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), how can I find out?

Self-employed childminders can claim a grant through the coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) which has been extended until September 2021.

A fourth and fifth grant have now been introduced for the SEISS.

The fourth grant will provide a taxable grant calculated at 80% of three months’ average trading profits, capped at £7,500. Claims will be available from late April 2021 until 31 May 2021. To be eligible you must have traded in both tax years:

The fifth grant will be paid in a single instalment and is calculated differently to previous grants. This time the amount you will receive is calculated based on how much your turnover has been reduced in the year April 2020 to April 2021.

  • those with a turnover reduction of less than 30% are eligible for a grant of 30% of 3 months’ average trading profits, capped at £2,850
  • those with a turnover reduction of 30% or more are eligible for 80% of 3 months’ average trading profits, capped at £7,500

You will be able to claim for the fifth grant from late July if you are eligible, and guidance on how to apply for this will be published at the end of June. 

If you’re eligible based on your tax returns, HMRC will contact you in mid July 2021 to give you a date that you can make your claim from.

The Government have introduced an online tool to find out if you’re eligible to make a claim. Your tax agent or adviser can also use the online tool to check your eligibility on your behalf.

You’ll need your:

  • Self-Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number
  • National Insurance number

If you’re eligible
HMRC will tell you the date you’ll be able to make your claim from, and ask you to add your contact details.

If you can claim straightaway you’ll also need your:

  • Government Gateway user ID and password - if you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you check your eligibility or make your claim
  • UK bank details (only provide bank account details where a Bacs payment can be accepted) including:
    • bank account number
    • sort code
    • name on the account
    • your address linked to your bank account

You’ll have to confirm to HMRC that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus.

If you’re not eligible
HMRC will use the information you or your tax agent or adviser sent on your Self Assessment tax returns to work out your eligibility.

If you think you are eligible, you should first check who can claim or contact your tax agent or adviser for help.

If you still think you should be able to claim you can ask HMRC to review your eligibility.

HMRC has published guidance if you have made a claim in error and were not eligible for the grant, have been overpaid, or if you would like to make a voluntary repayment.

Do I have to stop working if I am claiming the SEISS?

No, unlike furlough, claiming under the SEISS doesn’t stop you working and earning in line with government guidance but it is all taxable income.

I employ staff, how can I use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?

If you have a contract of employment with your assistant or staff member, as the employer you will be contracted to pay them a salary for a set period of time including any notice period. It will be up to you to decide if you can afford to pay them whilst closed or to consult them on a proposal to be made redundant. You should consider taking advantage of the government’s Coronavirus job retention scheme (CJRS) / furlough scheme. Click on the link for further information.

Where employers receive public funding for staff costs, and that funding is continuing e.g. funded entitlement fees, the government expects employers to use that money to continue to pay staff in the usual fashion – and correspondingly not furlough them. This also applies to non-public sector employers who receive public funding for staff costs.

Once the scheme ends, you hopefully will have built your childcare business back up. If not, you may have to consider staff redundancy as one way to reduce business overheads.

If you are still delivering a service and have staff working for you, you may be able to apply for the new Business Interruption Loan to help you meet immediate expenses, for example wages bills. Read more.

What do I do if I don’t qualify for the self-employed help scheme? Can I claim

The UK Government and Welsh Government have announced a package of support for workers and businesses.  Please see the sources of support page in our spotlight on Coronavirus for further information.

PACEY will continue to work with Welsh Government and lobby for support for you to stay in business and be able to deliver the childcare families will need after the pandemic. We are continuing to meet regularly with the UK and Welsh Government , and we recently submitted evidence to the Treasury Committee.

If I am asked to undertake a deep clean by Welsh Government or other official body due to coronavirus, will the Welsh Government pay for this?

No.  Welsh Government have confirmed in their guidance that childcare settings will be required to fund any deep cleans required

If you apply for the self-employed scheme, can you apply for Universal Credit, or other sources of government support as well?

Yes. A self-employed person could be entitled to a combination of Universal Credit + new style Employment and Support Allowance + Local Housing Allowance + Child Benefits to see them through the next few months depending on their circumstances.

Removing the minimum income floor means benefits will no longer assume that you earn a minimum amount and will take into account your actual earnings – meaning it will properly catch those who have seen their income fall to nothing.

In addition to these measures the government has worked to reduce the fixed outgoings of self-employed people. So you may also benefit from:

  • Rent deferral
  • Mortgage deferral
  • Tax Bill deferral
  • Business VAT deferral
  • IR35 deferral

Will Childcare Offer for Wales funding be available for eligible families?

The Welsh Government announced that the Childcare Offer for Wales providing 30 hours of early education and care to the working parents of 3 and 4 year olds reopened in September 2020.  

Applications from parents/carers whose child becomes eligible for the Offer in the autumn term will be considered from the start of September onwards.

Details on the timing and how to apply are available on local authority websites and through Family Information Services.

The revised Guidance for childcare providers on The Childcare Offer for Wales: coronavirus states that 'Childcare Offer funding may continue to be paid based on booked hours for a limited time in some circumstances where Covid-19 is causing disruption to your service. Your local authority may also be able to provide some funding to help with additional costs or loss in income which you are facing as a result of Covid-19. You should contact your local authority and discuss this with them.'

The UK Government and Welsh Government have also announced a package of support for workers and businesses.  Please see the sources of support page in our spotlight on Coronavirus for further information.

I have to close my setting because of self-isolation requirements is any funding available to support?

The Childcare and play: alert level 4 frequently asked questions state if you are funded for the Childcare Offer for Wales funding may continue to be paid based on booked hours in some circumstances where Covid-19 is causing disruption to childcare services.  Your local authority may also be able to provide some funding to help with additional costs or loss in income which you are facing as a result of Covid-19. You should contact your local authority and discuss this with them.

We would suggest you contact your local authority if this becomes the situation for you to see what financial support is now available.  This will hopefully go some of the way to alleviating financial concerns for settings.

The UK Government and Welsh Government have also announced a package of support for workers and businesses.  Please see the sources of support page in our spotlight on Coronavirus for further information.

Will Flying Start funding be available for eligible families?

The Welsh Government's Children and Communities Grant (CCG) funds Flying Start services in Wales.  The Welsh Government FAQ's state that Flying Start services will also be managed at the local authority level. If you receive funding or are looking to become a funded provider please speak to your Local Authority childcare team.                                                                

Will Foundation Phase funding be available for settings who deliver funded early years education?

Welsh Government have stated 'The Welsh Government Foundation Phase Nursery funding is distributed via the Revenue Support Grant (RSG).  All decisions relating to how RSG is administered are for individual local authorities.  We understand local authorities have taken different approaches with some supporting settings whether they are open or closed.'

If a setting receives Foundation Phase Nursery funding we would advise them to contact their Local Authority to seek clarification on the continuation of funding.                              

Nannies

What guidance should nannies in Wales be following?

The Welsh Government have produced guidance to support nannies and their employers in relation to a number of key areas.  This can be found here

Employers of nannies may be eligible for support from the Job Retention Scheme if they meet the criteria that  is set out in the guidance.

Qualifications and training

My first aid certificate is due to expire what should I do?

CIW has recognised in its frequently asked questions that they are aware that there are some courses available which include a blend of one day online and one day practical (face to face) but that spaces are limited due to social distancing. Where you need to renew your first aid certificate and you cannot access a practical course, then in the first instance, you can undertake an online course to update your knowledge but then access a suitable practical course at the earliest possible opportunity.   

Specifically for those looking to apply to become a registered childminder in Wales CIW have stated that in the absence of a practical course they will accept an online course for the purpose of registration so as not to bring applications for registration to a halt due to the lack of practical courses. The inspector will talk to the applicant to ascertain that they feel confident to deal with any paediatric first aid emergency after doing only an online course. If the applicant does not feel confident then they should wait until a practical course is available before progressing their application. The inspector will also talk about the need to complete a practical course as soon as one becomes available.

PACEY Cymru work closely with Proactive First Aid in Wales who offer blended courses comprising online and practical elements.

Do I need to keep my child protection/Safeguarding training up-to-date?

The NMS says 'a designated member of staff has attended a child protection training course and is responsible for liaison with child protection agencies in any child protection situation (20.4)'

Whilst there is no time limit on when you need to review this, good practice is that this should be updated every three years. Whilst we rightly have focus on Covid-19 at the moment, it is important to remember that safeguarding is still a real and relevant part the job.

Our members can take the CACHE endorsed, PACEY Safeguarding course free as part of their member benefits, log in to MyPACEY to access now. Non-members can buy the same online training course for just £19.99.

Do you have training available that covers food safety and hygiene?

Yes. Our Level 2 food safety and hygiene for early years settings course is accredited by the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) and will give you the guidance you need.

If you provide food in your childcare setting it's important that you have a relevant qualification. Our online course could be done now, or when you are fully operational again. It is available to buy online for £32.99, and PACEY members can access the same course for just £20.00.

Will any CPD that I do during enforced closure be valid?

Yes. In fact, this could be the ideal time for you to take undertake some form of CPD or online training. 

Our members can access a host of additional CPD resources, including our magazine, factsheets, practice guides, and online courses, in MyPACEY

PACEY launched EY smart for Wales in June which has new, free, short courses available. You can access our newest courses tackling topics including bereavement, emotional wellbeing, and handwashing to support your business and the children in your setting.

You can register for free here - https://eysmart.pacey.org.uk/

Other

My gas safety certificate is due for renewal what should I do?

Where settings are required by CIW to have a gas safety certificate (or other relevant certiciates for appliances and fitttings) these are still required to be kept up to date.   

Welsh Government state that work carried out in people’s homes, for example by tradespeople, can continue.  Both the tradesperson and household members should be well and have no symptoms of coronavirus. Please see the self-isolation guidance for more information.  Like other businesses, tradespeople must take all reasonable measures to ensure that social distancing and other appropriate safety measures are maintained at all times when working in other people’s households. Please see the guidance on reasonable measures for more information.

As a childcare setting risk assess the visit and document as necessary.  Please see the Covid-19 Childcare Toolkit for further guidance and support including COVID-19 Additional policies and procedure guidance for Wales.

Welsh Government recommend no work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where a person who is classed as extremely vulnerable is undertaking ‘shielding’ measures, unless it is to repair a fault which poses a direct risk to people’s safety – for example, emergency plumbing. If a childminder or household member is shielding and needs to have a gas safety check completed we would advise them to contact CIW to discuss.

I'm feeling very worried and concerned about the whole situation and having to stay at home is making me feel worse. What can I do?

Taking care of your mind as well as your body is really important while staying at home because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

You may feel bored, frustrated or lonely. You may also be low, worried or anxious, or concerned about your finances, your health or those close to you.

It's important to remember that it is OK to feel this way and that everyone reacts differently. Remember, this situation is temporary and, for most of us, these difficult feelings will pass. Staying at home may be difficult, but you are helping to protect yourself and others by doing it.

The tips and advice on the NHS Every Mind Matters page are things you can do now to help you keep on top of your mental wellbeing and cope with how you may feel while staying at home. Make sure you get further support if you feel you need it.

How can I support children's well-being at this challenging time?

PACEY has drawn together a resource on supporting children in your setting that contains helpful information and guidance.

The Children's Commissioner has launched a bilingual  Coronavirus information hub with information, advice, blogs and videos for children, young people and those that care for them.  It includes a resource for discussing the virus with very young children, play ideas and resources for discussing rights with young children.

What is the social care worker card and how do I get one?

This is a card available from Social Care Wales that identifies social care workers and confirms they are key workers in fighting the current pandemic. Early years and childcare workers who work in registered childcare or play settings are eligible for the card if they are still working.

Most of the major supermarket chains have already formally agreed to provide cardholders with priroity access at their stores in Wales and they can also be used if travelling to work to confirm key worker status.

Social Care Wales have published Frequently Asked Questions on the card that includes the benefits this card brings.

E-mails have been sent by Social Care Wales to the responsible individuals for childcare settings that they know are still open from information sent to us by local authorities and CIW with instructions on what to do.If your setting is open and you have not received an email and wish to access a card please contact Social Care Wales.

 

I am looking for play and activity ideas during the current COVID-19 crisis can you help?

PACEY Cymru's Regional Coordinator, Holly Love, has written a blog on Adapting play in a home-based setting that has some useful ideas to consider including links to digital books.

Cwlwm has shared activities in their latest Summer enewsletter that can be used to support 'kepping in touch' with families and also used in settings where childcare is being provided.

On of our Cwlwm partners Clybiau Plant Cymru Kids Clubs has also shared with us their latest resource Playworking after COVID-19 which has great suggestions for activities.

At which point toddler groups, Ti a Fi and other ‘stay and play’ groups be likely to be able to reopen?

From the 27th March organised children’s activities can restart outdoors for those aged under 18.  This includes a broad range of activities attended by children and young people including a range of clubs or classes attended on evenings and weekends including, but not limited to, sporting or cultural interests. It also includes parent and baby / toddler groups that may run during the daytime.

It does not include activities such as children’s birthday parties, or wider gatherings of families and friends, and no organised children’s activities can take place indoors at the current time. 

Please see the wider Welsh Government guidance here.