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Covid19 FAQ for Childminders

The following information has been directly provided by the Department for Education and was correct as of December 2021

Q. Can I childmind in my home when someone who lives with me is self-isolating as a close contact?

Yes, you can continue to childmind in your home if the person is self-isolating because they are a close-contact and not exempt from self-isolation and all the following apply:

  • the person self-isolating does not have any of the main symptoms of COVID19 or tested positive via LFT or PCR test

  • the person self-isolating does not have any contact with the children being cared for in the setting - for example, the person self-isolating must use a separate bathroom where possible. If the person self-isolating has to use a shared bathroom or other communal areas, these must be thoroughly cleaned after every use

  • you follow the additional actions to take when someone you live with is self isolating in Annex A of this guidance- see below

Q. Can I childmind in my home when someone who lives with me has COVID-19 symptoms or has tested positive?

No. When someone living in your home* has any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, or has had a positive LFT or PCR test, you cannot care for children in your home. You cannot childmind children in your home* until everyone living with you who has symptoms, or a positive test, has finished self-isolating.

The isolation period includes the day the first person’s symptoms started (or the day their test was taken if they did not have symptoms) and the next 10 full days (or 7 days if negative LFT on days 6 and 7). You should follow the guidance stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed COVID-19 infection.

*This also applies to childminders who work at a registered domestic premises** other than their home and the person self-isolating is living at the address the childminder is registered

**Domestic premises refers to any premises which are used wholly or mainly as a private dwelling. 

Q. Why can children come to my house when there is a COVID case in their house but not when there is a case in mine?

It is important that we all take steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19 infection in the community to save lives and protect the NHS. When someone in a childminder’s household has any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, or a positive test, the childminder cannot care for children in their home. This is because there is a higher risk of transmission to those attending the provision for childcare as they are in close proximity of the case and for extended periods of time.

The same principle applies to children (and adults) who must stay at home and not receive visitors into the home when they test positive or have symptoms. They can pass the infection to others, even if they have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, which is why they must stay at home.

The success of the UK’s vaccine programme has allowed the government to ease self-isolation rules for fully vaccinated people and those aged under 18 years and 6 months. This enables both eligible childminders and children - when they are exempt from self-isolation - to leave their homes and visit other homes when someone they live with is self-isolating.

Q. What are my options when I cannot childmind in my home?

You may wish to consider the following options, to continue childminding as long as you are not personally required too self-isolate.

You should discuss and agree any option you might choose with parents and carers well in advance of such an event and:

  • check you have adequate public liability insurance for the temporary change
  • follow the additional actions to take when someone you live with is self-isolating in Annex A of this guidance - see below.

Options.

A. Another registered domestic premises**

If you want to work from another registered domestic premises** , such as another childminder’s home, you should tell Ofsted or let your Childminder Agency (CMA) know before you start. To notify Ofsted, please contact: enquiries@ofsted.gov.uk  from an email address that is known to them. You should also notify Ofsted or your CMA if you intend to care for a child at the child’s own home.

You do not need to wait for an updated certificate to start working, but you must be able to demonstrate to parents or carers that you are registered with Ofsted and awaiting a new certificate. More information about childminder registration is available in Ofsted’s registration.

B. Unregistered domestic premises

If you want to work from another domestic premises2 which is not already registered, such as a relative’s home, you should tell Ofsted or let your CMA know before you start (see Option A for more information about notifying Ofsted).

This should only be considered if a longer-term option is required because any new people aged 16 or over who live and work on the premises where childminding will take place will have to be suitability checked, which includes the requirement to apply for a DBS certificate for each new person, and at cost to the childminder. You can tell Ofsted about new people using their online service. If you are registered with a CMA, contact them for more information.

C. Non-domestic premises

You can childmind from non-domestic premises for up to 50% of your time. If you are registered with Ofsted, you must complete an application form and be approved before starting. If you are registered with a CMA, contact them for more information.

D. Public places

You can continue to childmind if, for example, you were to collect children from school and take them to their parent or carer without taking them into your home. This could include an activity along the way, such as a visit to the park.

E. Outbuildings and gardens

If you are one of the very small number of childminders who have a suitable outbuilding/extension and garden within the boundary of your registered address, you may be able to childmind if you meet all the following requirements:

  • the outbuilding/extension:
    • has its own entrance/exit and you don’t have to enter your home to access it
    • doesn’t have direct access to the main house
    • is not being used by the person who is self-isolating
  • you can continue to deliver the statutory requirements of the early years foundation stage framework including
    • the environment being safe and suitable for the children and does not compromise safeguarding, their welfare or their individual needs
    • there is access to a toilet and washing facilities and (where appropriate) adequate sleeping facilities - all of which are separate to those being used by the person self-isolating
  • you discuss your arrangements with Ofsted before you start
  • you follow the additional actions to take when someone you live with is self-isolating in Annex A of this guidance - see below.

Annex A

Additional actions to take when someone you live with is self-isolating

This annex should not be read in isolation - it should be read alongside the above FAQ for Childminders.

1. You should make every effort to notify parents and carers of the children attending the setting, and any assistants, about the self-isolation, as soon as reasonably possible and maintain open communication with them throughout the period of self-isolation.

2. You must comply with health and safety law by reviewing your risk assessment. The risk assessment must demonstrate:

  • that the provision of childcare in your setting is safe,
  • how it aligns with the control measures and
  • how you will put into place any additional but proportionate measures

3. You should have arrangements in place to monitor whether the measures you have put in place are:

  • effective,
  • working as planned,
  • reviewed frequently and
  • updated appropriately (for example when any issues are identified, or when there are changes in public health advice)

4. You must report positive cases to Ofsted or your childminding agency. Further guidance is available in actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

5. Further guidance is available:

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