Apologies for emailing you on the Friday afternoon of a Bank Holiday weekend, but we wanted to let you know about the outcome of today’s Cabinet meeting as soon as we could. The Minister briefed her Cabinet colleagues on the reopening of the childcare sector today, and we can now share the full Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) guidance on reopening childcare settings with you.
Attached to this email is a press release which sets out the Department’s proposals, which were noted by Government, many of which you will be aware of from the Minister’s letter to you earlier this week.
The HPSC guidance 'Infection Prevention and Control guidance for settings providing childcare during the COVID-19 Pandemic' was agreed by NPHET’s Expert Advisory Group this week. It has been posted to the Department’s website and we would urge all providers to read it: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/8ffc9-covid-19-infection-prevention-and-control-guidance-for-settings-providing-childcare-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/.
Another important document providers should be familiar with is the Health and Safety Authority’s ‘Return to Work Safely Protocol’, which is designed to support employers and workers to put measures in place that will prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/22829a-return-to-work-safely-protocol/.
Any providers who intend to reopen for their staff in the coming days and weeks, to make preparations for reopening for children, should read this guidance. The Department, with the Advisory Group on Reopening, is preparing sector specific work safety guidance for childcare providers, which we will issue next week.
We hope you understand that we did not want to wait until after the weekend to send you this important information.
We will be issuing more guidance documents in the coming weeks. We will send you emails to let you know about them, and as far as possible we will post them on the Department’s website, to ensure that we don’t have to send you large attachments.
We will do our best not to send information in the evenings or at weekends, but sometimes, like today, we will have to send information out to you as soon as we have permission to, despite the time of day.
Early Years Division.