The government has now released a list of key workers whose children will still be able to attend school during the coronavirus outbreak, following tonight’s school closures.
From tonight, schools across the UK are to close their doors until further notice in order to tackle the spread of the coronavirus. With there currently being no information as to when these schools will reopen, and all May GCSEs and A Level exams cancelled, many working parents will have been concerned over what this will mean for childcare.
Now, the government has announced that children of certain workers will be able to attend a number of schools that will be kept open in order to provide care for a limited number. The list of workers, as currently outlined on the government website, is as follows.
Workers in health and social care
This includes doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, social care staff (including volunteers) and those who work as part of the UK’s health and social care supply chain.
Workers in education and childcare
This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and other specialist education professionals who need to remain active to provide care in the schools that will remain open.
Workers in key public services
This includes individuals who are essential to the ongoing operations of the justice system, alongside religious staff, charity workers, funeral workers, journalists and broadcasters.
Workers in local and national government
This includes administrative occupations that are deemed essential to effective delivery of the response to the coronavirus, or delivering essential public services.
Workers in food and other necessary goods
This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery, alongside the provision of other key goods such as hygienic and veterinary medicines.
Workers in public safety and national security
This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, armed forces personnel, fire and rescue services, National Crime Agency staff, individuals maintaining border security and prison and probation staff.
Workers in transport
This includes individuals who will keep air, water, road and rail passenger transport modes operating during the coronavirus response.
Utilities, communication and financial services
This includes those needed for essential financial services provision, those in the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors, information technology workers and those in the postal services.
For workers who do not fall into these categories, government advice continues to be that reliance should not be placed for childcare on grandparents or others with underlying health conditions, as these individuals are at a higher risk from the disease. Whilst risk to children and young people remains low, the aim of the school closures is to limit the spread of the virus to those who will be more affected by it.
To this end, many staff may need to take a period of time off for dependants to facilitate childcare. Organisations are also strongly encouraged to consider if individuals in this position can work from home or on a more flexible basis.