Current Babysits policy regarding Coronavirus
Jan 6, 2021 - Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, many parents are struggling with childcare. It is not only parents who work as essential service providers who are in need of a babysitter for their children. Parents who work from home and single parents may also find themselves struggling to balance working from home whilst also caring for their children. At Babysits, we want to give our community the best support possible. We are closely monitoring the situation and listening to the advice from the NHS and GOV.uk.
At present, there are different regulations for different areas in the U.K. - read below for specific information on England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland respectively. Wherever you live, we advise that you exercise caution when returning to babysitting jobs/accepting babysitters into your home. For example, we advise that parents have no more than one regular babysitter. This way, you can limit the number of people in your home and thus limit the risk of potentially spreading the virus.
England is currently in a national lockdown.
You are required to stay at home; there are only a limited number of exemptions to this. For example, you can still meet with your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary (you must be legally permitted to form one). Primary and secondary schools will remain open only for children of critical workers and children who are considered vulnerable. All other children will learn remotely from home until the half term break in February. Early years settings, which includes nurseries and childminders, will remain open. Nannies will also be able to continue to provide services, including in the home.
You can find out more information concerning the current national lockdown here.
When the lockdown in England ends, there is a 3-tier system in place -
Since the 2nd Decemeber, England has had a 3-tier system in place. Tier 1 is considered a 'medium alert', Tier 2 is 'high alert', and Tier 3 is 'very high alert'. You can use this postcode checker to find out what tier your area is in along with the corresponding covid-19 regulations.
Each tier has different regulations to adhere to, however, there are many similarities across tiers concerning childcare. Exemptions from gathering limits in all tiers include childcare, education, and supervised activities provided for children. Across all tiers you can create a childcare bubble with another household to receive informal childcare for children under 14. Children are also able to move between homes if their parents are separated. For more information on the restrictions and exemptions, please see GOV.uk.
From the 5th January, mainland Scotland has entered a temporary lockdown. Some islands will remain at level 3.
From the 26th December, regulated early learning and childcare services can only open to vulnerable children and children of key workers. However, registered childminders may remain open for all children. The Parent Club is a recommended source from the Scottish government and is updated with commonly asked questions concerning childcare during the pandemic. You can also read more about the 'stay at home guidance' from the Scottish governmenthere.
In general, Scotland have introduced a 5-level system. You can find out what level your area is, and thus what regulations there are regarding each level, with this postcode checker on the Scottish government website. From level 0 to level 4, early learning and childcare can remain open, with protective measures in place. You can read more on the Scottish government website concerning guidance on early learning and childcare services and guidance on childminder services. From level 0 to level 3, informal childcare is permitted, but you should still follow the rules for socialising. However, at level 4 informal childcare is only permitted for essential workers. At this level it also states to follow the rules for socialising, and that only children should enter the home of another household. The Scottish government also recommends reading the Parent Club's FAQ page on COVID-19 and childcare.
All of Wales is in lockdown (alert level 4).
At level 4 schools, colleges and childcare providers may stay open. However, informal childcare should only be provided if essential. It should be noted that kids should not be cared for outside of their home if they are ill, or by anyone who is ill. Adults who are dropping children off at childcare services must stay outside. The Welsh government have provided a FAQ page for questions concerning childcare in alert level 4.
Wales has introduced a 4-level system. You can read more about the different levels and the corresponding regulations here.
Northern Ireland is currently in lockdown. On Friday 8th January, an order for people to stay at home will become legally enforceable. (BBC)
The current regulations in Northern Ireland are in place until the 6th February, but will be reviewed on the 21st January. Currently, you must stay at home and may only leave when necessary. You cannot mix indoors in private homes. However, there are exemptions, including childcare and bubbling with one other household. It should be noted that the two households can be of any size, however, indoor meetings between the two households are limited to a maxiumum of 10 people (incl. children) at one time. Children whose parents live in separate households can also still move between the households as normal. Childcare can continue to be provided by someone who is registered in accordance with the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995, or any childcare which is provided free of charge. Informal childcare arrangements are also permitted to continue at this time.
Pre-school education settings, primary schools and secondary schools are required to provide remote learning to pupils until the half term break in February. Special schools will remain open. Children of key workers and vulnerable children will have access to schools. Only one parent/guardian has to be a key worker.
You can read the Northern Irish government website to find out more about what the restrictions mean for you.
Help from Babysits:
Furthermore, we have implemented a new feature: virtual babysitting. Virtual babysitting gives parents an hour to themselves. This is helpful for parents who work from home and who may need to focus on work-related tasks (or even parents who just need an hour to themselves!). Virtual babysitters entertain children with storytelling, educational activities, crafts, and games. It is a great alternative to other screen-related activities such as Netflix or Youtube.
For parents struggling with homeschooling their children as well as working from home, we have implemented online homework assistance. Parents can rest assured knowing that their children are getting the help they need with their schoolwork. Babysitters can indicate on their profile whether they are available for homework assistance and parents can filter their preferences accordingly while searching for the right babysitter for their family.
You are also now able to filter for volunteer babysitters. These are babysitters, nannies, and childminders who are willing to offer volunteer babysitting services during this difficult period.
Do you want to know more about babysitting safely in times of social distancing or other things related to the corona virus? Find out more by checking out our articles below: