In their latest newsletter Dorset Council’s Family Information Service has issued the following guidance:
When will schools and childcare reopen?
The government plans to bring in new guidelines from 1 June, which could mean schools and childcare settings will open to more children. The government are expected to confirm whether this is possible later today (Thursday 28 May).
Dorset schools are preparing to open for more pupils from:
- year 1
- year 6
It is not yet known when other year groups will go back to school. More government guidance is awaited.
Childcare providers are being asked to prioritise caring for 3 and 4 year olds, followed by younger age groups.
Do children have to return to school or childcare?
If your child is in an eligible year group, you can choose whether to send them back to school or childcare. Parents will not get a fine if their children do not attend school at this time.
To care for children safely childcare providers may need to limit the number of children they can take. Some providers may remain closed if they can’t open safely. If your usual provider can’t look after your child, search for childcare providers who will be open from 1 June on the Family Information Directory. It’s updated daily with changes.
For more information you can read the government’s guidance on opening schools and educational settings. Speak to your school or childcare provider to find out what measures they’re taking to help keep your child safe.
This is a difficult time and circumstances will be different for all families. Making a choice based on what you feel is best for your family is encouraged.
Coronavirus testing for families
If your child or someone in your household has coronavirus symptoms:everyone in your household must self-isolate your child should not attend school or childcare under any circumstances
your child and anyone in your household displaying symptoms will be able to get tested for coronavirus. If anyone in your household tests positive for coronavirus, you must let your school or childcare setting know straight away.
If you’re a critical worker or your child is vulnerable
Schools and many childcare settings will remain open for vulnerable children and children of critical workers, even if they are not aged 3 or 4, in reception, year 1 or year 6. If you’re struggling to find childcare we can help. Search our list of childcare providers who are open, or contact us if you have questions or need some extra support.
Update on 30 hours funded childcare and Tax-Free Childcare
There will be some flexibility for parents who usually claim 30 hours and/or Tax-Free Childcare. If you aren’t meeting the minimum income as a result of the coronavirus outbreak you will be treated as eligible for the summer term. If you’re a critical worker or the parent of a vulnerable child, there may also be flexibility if you have missed the deadline to apply or reconfirm.
Support for families staying at home
If your child is not in one of the eligible year groups able to return to school, or you choose to keep them home for now, there’s still support available. Schools will still send learning packs home to all children including children who don’t go back to school but are in reception, year 1 or year 6.
For more information see the Schools and Families pages of the Dorset Council website