Coronavirus: Information for parents on school closures

Coronavirus: Information for parents on school closures

As of today, schools have been advised to close their doors to the majority of pupils. Read our FAQs of how this will affect if you are a parent. 

How long will schools and colleges be closed for? 

Closed to the majority of pupils until further notice. Schools, and all childcare providers, are therefore being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children. Children who are vulnerable, children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and those cannot be safely cared for at home. 

The government says, 'this is an offer to parents and carers and there is no requirement for parents and carers to send their children to school if they do not need or wish to do so.' 

Will this apply to independent schools and boarding schools? 

Yes. Independent schools and boarding schools are being asked to do the same as state schools and remain open for critical workers and vulnerable children. 

Does this apply to special schools? 

Special schools, colleges and local authorities are advised to make case by case basis assessments of the health and safeguarding considerations of pupils and students on an education, health and care (EHC) plan. 

Is my child counted as vulnerable? 

Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans. 

What will happen with free school meals for those not in school and colleges? 

Low-income families whose children are eligible for free school meals will be offered vouchers, food or meals to make sure they continue receiving this support, even if they are no longer attending school due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/plans-set-out-to-support-pupils-eligible-for-free-school-meals 

Will I be counted as a critical worker? 

Health and social care 

This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment. 

Education and childcare 

This includes childcare, support and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach. 

Key public services 

This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting. 

Local and national government 

This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response, or delivering essential public services, such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arm’s length bodies. 

Food and other necessary goods 

This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery, as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods. 

Public safety and national security 

This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas. 

Transport 

This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass. 

Utilities, communication and financial services 

This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors. 

If you think you fall within the critical categories above, you should confirm with your employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, your specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service. 

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