The Department for Education has updated its guidance for early years providers on operating during the pandemic ahead of Step 4 of lockdown easing, which will happen on 19th July.
In an updated version of Actions for early years and childcare providers during the COVID-19 pandemic, which sets out what will be possible once Step 4 of the roadmap has started, some restrictions have been removed, including those on children attending more than one setting, parental drop-offs and pick-ups, trips to indoor and outdoor spaces and messy play.
The guidance also states that there is no longer a requirement for children to be kept in small, consistent groups – but this may need to be introduced if local outbreaks happen.
Settings will no longer need to carry out contract tracing – as from 19th July, close contacts will be identified via NHS Test and Trace.
Face coverings will no longer be recommended for staff and visitors in communal areas, although this may be recommended in instances of local outbreaks.
The guidance also confirms that parent and toddler groups will be able to operate as normal, with no restrictions on attendee numbers, or the number of people who can sing, when Step 4 of lockdown easing takes place.
The government has confirmed that from Monday 16th August, children under 18 years old and adults who are double vaccinated will no longer be required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive. Instead, close contacts of a positive case will be informed by NHS Test and Trace and advised to take a PCR test.
The full government guidance can be found here.