My child has been advised to self-isolate as a result of being in a school/early years childcare bubble. What does this mean?
If you have a child who is sent home due to being in a school/early years childcare bubble where someone in the bubble has tested positive your child will need to stay at home and self-isolate for 14 days. Your child’s school/early years setting is likely to give you advice on this point but this is because it can take several days following contact with an infected person before an individual develops symptoms or the virus can be detected. Your child should stay at home, including exercising within the home or garden (if you have one).
You should only book a test for your child if he/she also develops symptoms of coronavirus. There is no requirement or need to book a test if your child is self-isolating and does not have symptoms.
If my child is self-isolating as a result of being in a school/early years childcare bubble, do I and the rest of my household need to self-isolate?
If your child does not have symptoms, other people living in the household do not need to self-isolate but should continue to follow the general guidance.
If, however, your child does go on to develop symptoms, you should book a test for them as soon as possible. All of your household members will need to begin self-isolating at home as soon as the symptoms appear and should continue to self-isolate until the test results are received.
Government advice does recognise how difficult it may be to follow social distancing advice when living with children but you should follow the social distancing guidance to the best of your ability. Similarly, if any household members have significant conditions such as learning disabilities, autism or serious mental illness, please follow social distancing guidance to the best of your ability, while keeping yourself and those close to you safe and well, ideally in line with any existing care plans.
If you live with clinically vulnerable people or clinically extremely vulnerable people, the household member(s) self-isolating should stay away from them as much as possible, following this guidance. For the clinically extremely vulnerable please follow the shielding guidance.
I am due to work on campus, but my child has been advised to self-isolate. Do I need to attend work?
If you have a child who is required to self-isolate because of a school/class/early years childcare setting closure you should try and make alternative arrangements for the care of your child in order to cover any required presence on campus. Where possible and agreed, you may be able to work from home for the remaining period. Where you cannot work from home, please discuss the situation with your line manager to discuss and agree whether any alternative working arrangements can be put in place so that you can fulfil your contractual requirements, whilst also balancing the need to care for your child if no other care arrangements can be put in place.
If your child is self-isolating because they themselves are displaying symptoms of coronavirus, you and the rest of the household should immediately self-isolate and book a test for your child as soon as possible. If your role enables you to work from home and you are well enough to do so, you should undertake work remotely, agreed between you and your line manager. Where you cannot work from home you should obtain a self-isolation note.
What is a support bubble?
A support bubble is a close support network between a household with only one adult in the home (known as a single-adult household) and one other household of any size. Once you form a support bubble, you should not change who is in your bubble. Further information about support bubbles can be found in the guidance for making a support bubble with another household.
Once you’re in a support bubble, you can think of yourself as being in a single household with people from the other household. It means you can have close contact with that household as if they were members of your own household.
What is a childcare bubble?
The introduction of childcare bubbles was announced by the Government on 21 September 2020.
A childcare bubble is where someone in one household can provide informal (i.e. unpaid and unregistered) childcare to a child aged 13 or under in another household. This must occur on an exclusive basis – i.e. it should always be the same two households. The Government recommends that a childcare support bubble is formed with another household which lives locally wherever possible. This will help to prevent the virus spreading from an area where there might be a higher rate of infection to one where the rates may be lower.
You can continue to use early years and childcare settings, including childminders and providers offering before or after school clubs or other out-of-school settings for children. You can also continue to employ nannies – see guidance on working safely in other people’s homes.
Children of parents who are separated can continue to move between households.
I live in an area of local restrictions. Are support and/or childcare bubbles allowed?
In areas of local restrictions, where households may be banned from mixing, there is an exemption to the effect that the following people can provide childcare support in private homes and gardens:
- Registered childcare providers, including nannies
- People who are in your support bubble
- People who are in your childcare support bubble
However, friends or family who do not live with you and who are not part of a support or childcare bubble you have formed, must not visit your home to help with childcare, in areas of local restrictions.
As the situation with Covid-19 changes so rapidly, please ensure that you check the relevant restrictions where you are living in case there are any announcements that support and/or childcare bubbles are no longer exempt from inter household mixing.