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Critical workers asked to consider carefully whether children need to be in school in lockdown

Hampshire County Council is asking parents who are critical workers to consider carefully if they should be sending their children to school and whether it is possible to for them to stay at home so that only children of those critical workers who cannot be looked after at home, and vulnerable children are in school.

Councillor Roz Chadd, the County Council’s Executive Member for Education and Skills said: “All Hampshire schools are open for face-to-face teaching for vulnerable children and children of critical workers. They have carried out risk assessments and implemented measures to create a COVID-19 safe learning environment. However, we all need to remember that the purpose of the national lockdown and being required to stay at home is to minimise the transmission of Coronavirus.

“I am a parent myself and I do appreciate the challenge of being able to work, the need to look after children and to support them with their remote learning. On behalf of our schools, I am appealing to all critical worker parents to consider their childcare arrangements during lockdown. For example, if both parents are critical workers, could one work from home or stay at home to support their children to remain at home as well, and access remote learning from their school?

“Clearly, we do want to make sure that all vulnerable children are in school during this time but, in terms of other children whose parents are critical workers, we are keen that a balance is struck between enabling those parents to get to work and keeping the numbers of children in schools to a minimum. By doing so, not only will we be helping to reduce the spread of infection, but we will also avoid putting additional pressure on the NHS.”

Critical workers at this time, are defined by the Government as those whose work is critical to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and EU transition response. Children with at least one parent or carer who is a critical worker can go to school or college if required. More detail is available on gov.uk/coronavirus

Under the current national lockdown restrictions/coronavirus, childcare providers and early years education settings are open to all pre-school age children. To find out more about childcare and early years services in Hampshire, including details of providers and how to access Government funded childcare, visit the County Council’s Services for Young Children webpages

More guidance for parents and carers about schools and childcare can also be found on gov.uk/coronavirus

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