Council urges parents to keep children at home if they can following government guidance

Parents are being encouraged to keep their children at home following the Government’s decision to close all schools after today (20 March).

Published: Friday, 20th March 2020

Swindon Borough Council has reinforced the Government’s guidance to parents, which asks parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Schools, and all childcare providers are being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children - children who are vulnerable, and children whose parents are critical to the COVID-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.

But the Government advises that by limiting the number of children in educational and childcare settings such as nurseries and childminders, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.

The Department for Education has issued a number of key principles for parents to follow during the COVID-19 response:

  • If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
  • If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a key worker, then educational provision will be available for them, should they not be able to be cared for at home.
  • Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
  • Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.

Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or who work in one of the critical sectors outlined by the Government, and cannot keep their children safe at home, then their children will be prioritised for education provision.

Councillor Russell Holland, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for Education, said: “I cannot stress enough how important it is that parents follow the guidance set out by the Government which aims to minimise the risk of the COVID-19 virus spreading and infecting vulnerable people in our communities.

“The guidance states that if children can stay at home then they should and our expectation is that parents do all they can to ensure that is the case. I would also encourage employers to be as flexible as they can to allow parents to care for their children so as many people as possible follow the social distancing advice which has been rolled out across the country.”

The Government has produced some information for parents and carers on the closure of schools and care settings which is available here:

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