Please see below email which was issued from DCEDIY to all early learning and school age childcare providers on 30th December, regarding the operation of services from the beginning of January following the Government announcement of Level 5 restrictions.
We are writing to update you on the Government announcement of 30 December 2020 that the country is moving to Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions. As you may be aware, the Government has agreed that early learning and care and school age childcare services are not required to close under these restrictions, or to delay resumption of services following any closure over the Christmas period. Services can remain open with protective measures, and all services are reminded that the guidance on these protective measures can be found on the First 5 website https://first5.gov.ie/guidance. Services should reopen after the Christmas break in accordance with their calendars.
The Department is aware that some services are co-located with schools, and that such services may not be able to reopen until the schools reopen on 11 January. In these cases, services will be permitted to close from 6 to 8 Jan with no penalty or requirement to make up the 3 missed days later in the year. Pobal will outline the procedure to be followed by these services by a PIP notice in the coming days.
We are aware that some parents may choose to delay their children’s return to their early learning and care or school age childcare service. The Department’s funding schemes – ECCE, NCS and the legacy schemes – permit continued payment of subsidy for at least 4 weeks of a child’s absence, and this will enable services to continue to receive subsidy for children whose parents may delay their return. This period can be extended on a case by case basis.
The Minister will be meeting with the Covid-19 Re-opening Advisory Group on 31 December, and we will keep you updated on any developments.
Early Years Division