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DfE update the Coronavirus (COVID-19) contingency framework for education and childcare settings

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With the government today outlining further areas moving into Tier 4 restrictions, the Department for Education have also updated their guidance on the Covid 19 Contingency Framework for Early Years.

The introduction includes the following:

Having reviewed the available evidence, the UK Chief Medical Officers issued a statement which makes clear that children and young people continue to be at low risk from coronavirus (COVID-19) and the risk from the virus of severe disease and death to children and young people is very low. This position was confirmed more recently by Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).

They have also made it clear that early years settings should remain open and operate as per usual unless directed others:

Application of the contingency framework

The government has made it a national priority that education and childcare settings should continue to operate as normal as possible during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This remains the default position for all areas irrespective of local restriction tiers.

The guidance has also been updated for the first time to include guidance on staff who are pregnant, as follows:

Staff who are pregnant

Pregnant women are considered ‘clinically vulnerable’ or in some cases ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ to coronavirus (COVID-19) and therefore require special consideration as set out in the guidance for pregnant employees.

Employers should carry out a risk assessment to follow the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSW). More information is available on workplace risk assessment for vulnerable people.

Information contained in the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19) in pregnancy should be used as the basis for a risk assessment.

Pregnant women of any gestation should not be required to continue working if this is not supported by the risk assessment.

Women who are 28 weeks pregnant and beyond, or are pregnant and have an underlying health condition that puts them at a greater risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) at any gestation, should take a more precautionary approach. Employers should ensure pregnant women are able to adhere to any active national guidance on social distancing or advice for pregnant women considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable (this group may previously have been advised to shield).

The full guidance can be found here 

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