Updates for COVID-19 Childminding Service Guidance (from 9 August)

Updates for COVID-19 Childminding Service Guidance (from 9 August)
The Scottish Government has announced that it expects Scotland to move beyond Level 0 next week, and some updates to the Childminder Services Guidance will take effect immediately, and other changes will be introduced from Monday 9 August. 

It is important to remember that, whilst this further relaxation is a positive step in the right direction, it does not mean that there are no COVID-19 restrictions at all - awareness and caution are still very much required. 

All childminders will have received a Provider Update email from the Care Inspectorate yesterday (4 August 2021), which outlines information from the Scottish Government and changes to the guidance for childminding settings.  

So, what are the changes? To help and support you, SCMA has detailed the main changes and updates to the guidance that childminders should be aware of and explain more on what this means for you and your setting.

Self-isolation will be eased for adults; those who are double vaccinated, with at least 14 days since their second dose and have a negative PCR test, will no longer have to self-isolate. 

For children, the need to self-isolate will also be removed; provided that children aged over five years have a negative PCR test. Children aged under five are excluded from this; however, a PCR test may be recommended, but their exemption from self-isolation should not be made conditional on this. 

If a child or adult in your setting is symptomatic, self-isolation in accordance with the COVID-19 guidance is still required. You would only be required to close your childminding setting if you have an outbreak in your setting.

Test and Protect
Test and Protect will take on a more compressive follow-up system. Childminding settings should continue to record as previously. 

If you have a positive COVID-19 case in your setting, a letter should be sent to parents using your service and any staff, to inform and encourage them to be vigilant and take regular tests. The Scottish Government will be providing a letter template in due course for this. 

Physical Distancing
Whilst, we are in Level 0, the usual two-metre physical distancing remains in place.  Moving beyond Level 0; physical distancing will reduce to one metre for schools and childcare settings, to provide added flexibility. However, if the current two-metre rule is working well, then you may maintain this.

Visits from Parents to Your Childminding Setting
Visits by parents/carers to your childminding setting are now permitted, provided they are planned in advance to ensure they can be managed, and risk assessed. 

Visits must be limited to up to three households at a time or per day if they are indoors, and up to six households at a time or per day if they are outdoors. For large childminding services (with 12 or more children) this limit can increase to 10 households when outdoors.

Where it is necessary for parents to visit your setting, face coverings should be worn, and parents should be encouraged to take part in testing. Visits are not permitted if a COVID-19 outbreak has occurred in the setting and/or the child’s home. 

Further detail and guidance on ventilation has been provided by the Scottish Government for school and larger group settings, but this will not apply to most childminders. 

The list of mitigations, provided with the Care Inspectorate Provider Update email, states that where settings have CO2 monitors, they should use them to assess their setting.  However, there is no requirement for childminders to have CO2 monitors in their setting. 

Using outdoor spaces, opening windows whilst you are indoors and keeping as much fresh air moving through your setting is ideal to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 indoors. This is something that we have all become familiar with, and this will be continuing to be encouraged for all settings. 

SCMA will keep childminders up-to-date with any further changes and/or updates that arise, in line with the Childminder Services Guidance. We will also be reviewing our COVID-19 FAQs in line with these planned changes when they take effect. 

Please remember to ensure you familiarise yourself with the updated Childminder Services Guidance and make any changes as necessary to your setting.