CHILDMINDERS and nannies can go back to work today but only if they are caring for children from the same household.
Registered childminders and nannies have been closed following Government orders back in March, except for those providing care for vulnerable children or children of key workers.
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But there has been some confusion over exactly when and how they can offer paid-for childcare again amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Originally, the Government outlined plans for early years providers to be able to reopen their doors from June 1, but later release documents that said childminders were allowed to open again from May 13.
"Childminders have been told three different things about plans to reopen in a matter of days," Neil Leitch of the Early Years Alliance (EYA) told The BBC.
To clarify, the Department for Education (DfE) last night issued new guidance for childminders to say that they can open from today but under strict new measures.
We take you through the new guidelines about how childminders and nannies can go back to work.
Can childminders and nannies go back to work today?
Childminders and nannies have only been allowed to continue to look after children of key workers, such as doctors and nurses, during lockdown, in the same way schools have.
The DfE has confirmed to The Sun that from today, childminders and nannies are allowed to offer paid-for childcare for kids whose parents aren't key workers.
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But they can only look after children who live together in the same household.
This means that childcare providers who are already providing support for vulnerable children and children of critical workers won't be able to take on more work from different families, even if they have capacity to do so.
The Government hopes that slowly reopening childcare providers will help more employees get back to work as lockdown restrictions are eased.
Providing the spread of the virus doesn't spiral out of control for a second time, all paid-for early-years childcare providers will be able to reopen for business from June 1.
Do they have to social distance?
Childminders and nannies are advised to carry out the same measures as schools when it comes to preventing the spread of the virus.
Ideally, children should remain 2 metres apart from each other but that's not really possible when kids are young.
Instead, early-years settings should avoid contact with anyone with symptoms and maintain a high standard of frequent hand washing.
Settings should be regularly cleaned and physical contact and mixing should be minimised where possible.
The Government also says that it's not necessary for childcarers to wear PPE, even if they struggle to maintain social distancing rules.
They don't have to wear face masks either as they are only beneficial for short periods of time indoors.
Vulnerable children, or those who live with someone who is considered to be high-risk, are not expected to attended childcare.
What about nurseries and pre-schools?
Nurseries and pre-schools aren't expected to reopen for the children of non-key workers until June 1, providing the virus doesn't peak again.
They will have to adhere by the same social distancing rules as schools.
As well as all of the measures outlined above, they will also need to reduce contact between people as much as possible.
Children will need to be split into small, consistent groups, and stay away from other groups of children.
Like primary schools, some nurseries have stayed open during lockdown to enable key workers to go to work.
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