Many English nurseries now only open to key workers over Covid fears

Many kindergartens close for fear of transmission risks for Covid for everyone but the key workers, warned an educational institution.

The government said this week that hires should remain open to all children for the first few years, despite a third national lockdown being ordered.

However, the Early Years Alliance (EYA) says a number of kindergartens have decided to only open their doors to children of key workers or vulnerable children for safety reasons.

In addition, the charity said it heard reports from some local authorities recommending partial closings.

Neil Leitch, Chairman of the EYA Board of Directors, said, “With the government still failing to provide clear evidence of transmission risk in the early years, we know a number of vendors have made the very difficult decision to partially close a number of Councilors have taken the step of recommending local agencies to do the same.

“For kindergartens, preschools and child minders, any temporary closure of all but critical workers and vulnerable children is likely to have enormous financial consequences, as this means not only the loss of private parental income, but in many areas also the financing of early entitlements.

“It is simply unacceptable for providers to be forced to choose between their welfare and financial stability. If the government wants vendors to stay open at a time when almost everyone else is being told to stay home, it needs to ensure that it is both safe and practical. “

It comes after Unison and GMB urged the government to reconsider their decision to keep kindergartens and preschools open to all children amid concerns about the new strain of Covid-19.

Kindergarten leaders say there is concern and confusion about how safe the settings are.

They are asking the government to confirm the evidence supporting the decision to keep the kindergartens open.

But Vaccination Minister Nadhim Zahawi has insisted that kindergartens pose a “very low risk”.

On Monday night, Boris Johnson said schools could “act as vectors for transmission and spread the virus between households” when he announced closings through February.

However, in early years, facilities such as kindergartens and child minders may remain open under the lock in England and existing childcare bubbles are allowed to remain in place.

When asked at the BBC breakfast whether kindergartens should be open, Mr. Zahawi said, “Yes. These youngest children – there is very little risk with this virus.

“The kindergarten sector has taken great care to ensure that the premises are also Covid-safe. It is the right thing. “

However, the GMB union says the government needs to urgently close kindergartens and preschools – apart from vulnerable children and children of key workers.

Stuart Fegan, GMB National Officer, said: “There is no scientific evidence that kindergartens will continue to open. It is a purely political decision made by ministers who do not take their responsibilities to staff, families and the wider community seriously enough.

“They have left kindergarten staff, child minders and nannies worrying about their safety and sowing fear and confusion among parents.

“It is time the government stepped in and corrected this dangerous mistake by closing all kindergarten and preschool facilities to all but key workers and vulnerable children in line with school closings.”

In response to concerns about the lack of scientific knowledge on Tuesday, a spokesman for the Department of Education (DfE) said: “Settings in early years remain a low-risk environment for children and employees, and there is no evidence to suggest the new variant the coronavirus disproportionately affects young people. “

They said evidence suggests preschoolers are less prone to infection and not a driving force in transmission.


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