Dear Project Providers,

PlayBoard is aware of the increasing levels of concern and distress within the Childcare/School Age Childcare Sector in regard to the Covid-19 Coronavirus situation.

We’ve been monitoring updates from the relevant authorities, including UK Government, NI Executive and Public Health Agency (PHA), to help us respond to this fast moving scenario. The situation is extremely fluid and PlayBoard staff will continue to do their best to keep you updated on any relevant decisions as they are made. We have posted health guidance and information on our various social media platforms, and we would direct you to the PHA website: www.publichealth.hscni.net for detailed information regarding personal and personnel health and safety.

At this time we are dealing with a high volume of calls and the team are doing their best to offer support and signposting to groups as to where they might obtain accurate advice on the issues which concern them most.

It is likely that in due course all schools and childcare facilities shall be closed.  As announced by our First Minister this will possibly be for a period of 16 weeks.

Our advice today is to plan ahead for this worst case scenario:

  1. Find out what your insurance policy states in regard to compulsory closure and keep us informed of concerns.
  2. Consider if any of your staff fall within the vulnerable categories  and take action in accordance with PHA guidelines.
  3. Ascertain if any of your staff would be willing to undertake redeployment duties (i.e. work as approved childcare workers in home settings to permit emergency front line staff to continue working, keeping us all safe)
  4. Notify parents not to send a child to the setting if they are displaying any symptoms or illness.
  5. Establish clear lines of communication with staff in order to best review the evolving situation.

There are challenging times ahead for all of us and we wish to assure you that we are engaged with relevant bodies on your behalf, to seek assurances regarding the impact of closure on both grant aided and privately funded School Age Childcare settings.

When we know more, we will do our best to update you via our social media platforms i.e. Facebook and Twitter pages.  In the meantime do please follow the health guidance provided by the Public Health Agency.  If you do phone PlayBoard, please understand that lines may be busy due to the number of calls we are handling at this time.

The following link https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19 provides some guidance for employees and businesses – including what support is available under the UK Government’s recently announced plans.

We hope that you all remain in good health.

Kind Regards

Jacqueline O’Loughlin

Chief Executive, PlayBoard NI