The Department for Education has published new guidance for early years settings, including removing the need for children to be in “small consistent groups” – commonly known as ‘bubbles’. This will take place from 20th July.
Nurseries will focus on their own risk assessments and put measures in place to minimise the risks for children and staff, keeping them as safe as possible. This continues to include minimising how much children and staff mix. Also included in guidance are updates on risk assessments, shielding, and the much talked about postponement of the EYFS Baseline Assessments.
This new guidance was released on the same day that detailed plans were unveiled for all children and young people to return to full-time education from September.
Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson said:
“I know these past three months have been some of the most challenging that schools have faced. What they have achieved to make sure that young people are kept safe and can continue to learn during this period is remarkable, and I am incredibly grateful for that.
“Nothing can replace being in the classroom, so ever since schools, colleges and nurseries closed to most children, we have been working hard to ensure they can reopen as soon as possible. We have already seen more than 1.5 million children and young people return, but we must make sure all pupils can go back to school in September, giving them the opportunity to thrive and fulfil their potential.
“I want to reassure parents and families that we are doing everything we can to make sure schools, nurseries, colleges and other providers are as safe as possible for children and staff, and will continue to work closely with the country’s best scientific and medical experts to ensure that is the case.”
Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jenny Harries said:
“Thanks to the hard work of everyone, including our teachers and all school staff, there has been a decline in the rate of COVID-19 transmission in our communities.
“A child’s education is essential to their healthy development – we know that missing too much school can have a negative impact on children’s mental and physical wellbeing.
“Everybody wants children to be safe and thankfully as we have learned more about COVID-19, the evidence has shown that the risk of severe disease in children is low. However, although the number of COVID-19 cases has declined, it is still in general circulation – so it important we ensure schools implement sensible precaution to reduce potential transmission of COVID-19 and minimise any risk to teachers and their pupils.”