FAQs related to COVID-19 (Wales)

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

We are working hard to ensure our information is up to date. However, you should bear in mind that things may change as the government respond to the ongoing situation.

Unsurprisingly there have been many questions asked about the impact COVID-19 will have on your childcare business. Remember 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 is the position in Wales?

In Wales we are now moving from pandemic to endemic and living with COVID-19. However, COVID-19 has not gone away and will remain with us globally.

All settings should continue to be aware of the steps to take to reduce the risk of COVID-19.

On 21 April 2022 the Guidance for childcare and playwork: coronavirus was revised, and includes specific guidance for childminders and nannies.

The legal requirement to undertake a COVID-19 risk assessment no longer applies. Settings should manage COVID-19 in the same way as other respiratory infections and communicable diseases, taking appropriate control measures as required. 

The Welsh Government Guidance: Public Health Advice for businesses, employers and event organisers outlines the public health measures that continue to be important in reducing the transmission of COVID-19. Settings are encouraged to become familiar this Guidance and the corresponding checklist.

In particular, childcare and playwork settings should ensure they are aware of Public Health Wales (PHW’s) Infection Prevention and Control for Childcare Settings Guidance and Audit Tool For Childcare and Education Settings in Wales which provides guidance in relation to infection prevention and control practice, including cleaning of toys and equipment and how to deal with waste.

Mitigating measures that have been used throughout the pandemic continue to be key. 

Please also note that the advice for childminders who have a positive case of Covid-19 in their household. Childminders are able to offer their services where measures to reduce to the risk of transmission are put in place.

Any childminder who has a positive result should not attend the setting or provide a childminding service.

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. 

Testing process 

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

Routine asymptomatic testing in childcare and education settings, except special education settings and dedicated units, ceased 8 April 2022.

Please refer to the Welsh Government information on COVID-19 asymptomatic testing in childcare settings.

Please also see the section below on Symptoms, self-isolation and positive test results for further information.

What is the testing position for children in Wales?

It is no longer recommended that children under 5 with COVID-19 symptoms undertake a test unless directed to do so by a doctor or if parents believe a test is absolutely necessary and in the best interests of the child.

If they have symptoms, they do not need to self-isolate. They should stay home until they are well enough to return to school or childcare setting.

If a child takes a test and it is positive, they should self-isolate for at least 5 full days. The child and contacts need to follow the guidance above.

Children under 5 do not spread COVID in the same way as an adult or in the same way that people consider young children to spread cold and flu. Young children have small bodies, small lungs and small breath capacity which means even if they are infected with the virus they cannot spread it to others in the same way as an older young person or adult would. Children under 5 also often find the testing process invasive and distressing and this can make getting a sample very difficult and distressing for parents and carers.

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?

Childminders should be familiar with self-isolation advice and what they need to do if they have symptoms ortest positive for Covid-19. Any childminder who has a positive result should not provide a childminding service.

Childminders are able to remain open when a member of their household tests positive for Covid-19. In this situation childminders should ensure that every effort is taken to reduce the risk of transmission including:

  • Ensuring the positive case is isolated away from the childminder and the children being cared for in the home
  • Providing separate toilet facilities for the children being cared for. If this is not possible, increasing cleaning regimes (particularly after the positive case has used the facilities).
  • Alter working practices where feasible to reduce the risk of transmission – more time outdoors or away from the home. 
  • Increase ventilation, hand hygiene practices and cleaning regimes.

Childminders should notify families using their service when there is a positive Covid-19 case in their household. They should also advise families of the steps they are taking to reduce the risk of transmission.

If a childminder needs further advice, they should contact their local Environmental Health teams.

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 in the setting. Please see the section below around ‘Policies, insurance and charging' for further guidance on fees and contract related points.

Please check the Guidance for childcare and playwork:coronavirus for further information.

What is the position in relation to self-isolation?

Please refer to the self-isolation advice for latest updates and further information to ensure you have the most up to date information.

Please also check the Guidance for childcare and playwork:coronavirus which were updated on 21 April 2022 and include specific guidance for childminders.  

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 a positive case of COVID-19 in my setting?

CIW should be notified of any temporary closures through CIW online and also of any confirmed cases of COVID-19 of people using the service, staff and family members.

Providers should continue to notify CIW of each confirmed COVID-19 case 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

Given the evolving changes to the self-isolation guidance in Wales please see the full self-isolation advice for latest updates and further information to ensure you have the most up to date information.

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

Please check the latest information in the Guidance for childcare and playwork: coronavirus.

Be aware of self-isolation advice and what this requires where someone tests positive for COVID-19.

Ensure children and staff who are unwell with core COVID-19 symptoms do not attend the setting until they feel well enough.

Follow the Infection,Prevention and Control for Childcare Settings Guidance and your Exclusion due to Illness policy and procedure.

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. 

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

Closing and reopening

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

Please continue to report any confirmed positive cases in your childcare setting to CIW using the CIW online portal.

To report a confirmed positive case of anyone using your service, and members of staff (and in the case of childminders, other family members living at the premises) use the ‘notifications that affect wellbeing’ – ‘infectious disease’ – and type in the incident information

To report a temporary closure of the setting due to COVID-19 use the ‘leadership and management’ tab and state why you are closed including the proposed date of re-opening referring to the current guidance on isolation periods 

Notifications must be made as soon as reasonably practicable, but not later than 14 days after the event has occurred.

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

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.

Policies, insurance and charging

What policies and paperwork relating to COVID-19 do I need?

The legal requirement to undertake a COVID-19 risk assessment no longer applies. Settings should manage COVID-19 in the same way as other respiratory infections and communicable diseases, taking appropriate control measures as required.

PACEY Cymru has policy guidance for members available here

Do I need to discard my COVID-specific paperwork and resources?

Due to the nature of the pandemic and the potential for future outbreaks, we’d recommend keeping your coronavirus paperwork archived rather than discarding them. Although we hope these documents won’t be needed, there is a chance that you may wish to refer to these in the future.  

What does the Living with COVID update mean in terms of my insurance?

Although the legal requirement to isolate has been removed, the public health advice is that you should stay home and avoid contact with people if you test positive for COVID-19 or display symptoms and are too unwell to continue with normal activities.   

 As a childminder you have a legal duty to take reasonable care for the health and safety of each of your employees and all of the children that you are minding and you should ensure all risk assessments are undertaken in line with government guidance.   

 This means that if you operate against the public health guidance, for example by accepting a COVID positive into your setting then this action could be deemed reckless in terms of your insurance under the Reasonable Precautions condition and the policy holder may not be covered.   

 If you are not insured with PACEY please check with your own insurance provider. 

What does the Living with COVID update mean in terms of charging parents?

We advise that you work with families to come to suitable mutual agreements based on their individual circumstances. It is important that your contracts remain balanced and reasonable and you should always consider the potential implications on your business. For example, you may agree to reduce charges if you feel that a family will be unable to afford the full charge if they cannot work during a child’s isolation. In general, if your service is open and available, then charges can be made. 

You may decide not to charge in these circumstances or to charge a reduced retainer as this may support parents to self-isolate, even if there is not a legal requirement to do so.  You should consider if this would be beneficial to your business as part of wider efforts to avoid transmission within your setting.  Any such changes to your usual contract would need to be agreed with the parent in writing. All childcare businesses are individual, and you will know your business and your families best.  

PACEY members can contact our legal team for advice on individual contract issues. You can also access information from the Competitions Market’s Authority on consumer law.  

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.   

Financial queries, funding and support

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

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.