Coronavirus guidance on reopening early learning and childcare services

Support provided by Scottish Government

What does this involve?

The Scottish Government has published guidance for the safe re-opening of early learning and childcare (ELC) providers in the local authority, private and third sectors in Scotland during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Each area of Scotland has been assigned to a COVID protection level. Find out what you can and cannot do based on the local area that you live, work or travel in.

However, the Scottish Government understands that focus must be on supporting children when they are in settings, to form a secure and emotionally resilient attachment base which will stand them in good stead as they grow and develop. Nurturing and attached relationships are essential to creating the conditions for children to flourish in early learning and childcare.

All children have a right to play, to learn and to access experiences that meet their physical, social, emotional and cultural needs, and they have a right to associate with their peers. In line with Scotland's commitment to Getting It Right For Every Child, children also have the right to the best possible health, with their best interests a top priority in all decisions and actions that affect them.

Adults, of course, also have fundamental rights in relation to their health and wellbeing. These important rights and considerations have all been factored into the development of a framework for reopening and delivering ELC services.

Although the prevalence of coronavirus in Scotland continues to evolve, it is now known that young children are less likely to be affected by or transmit the virus. Advice from the Advisory Sub-Group on Education and Children’s Issues states:

  • children in the age groups accessing early learning and childcare (0-5 year olds) have a low susceptibility to COVID-19 infection
  • they also have a low likelihood of onward transmission

Therefore, subject to surveillance and mitigations being in place, it is possible for ELC to continue with some restrictions in place. 

ELC providers should use this guidance to plan the re-opening of ELC settings or review the delivery of services in settings that are already open to ensure they are operating in a manner consistent with wider efforts to control the transmission of the virus and protect the health of children, their families and ELC staff.

Topics covered include:

  • Risk assessment and support for specific groups
  • Communication
  • Infection prevention and control
  • Limiting children's contacts
  • Outdoor spaces
  • Physical distancing between adults
  • Settling-in
  • Movement in settings
  • Evacuation procedures/sharing premises
  • Blended placements/provision of meals and snacks
  • Applying the guidance/capacity/opening hours
  • Financial impact/allocation of places
  • Workforce support
  • Other useful guidance and resources

Am I eligible?

Anyone can use this service.

What does this cost?

This is a free service.

Who is this for?

All providers of registered day care or children’s services in Scotland, including nurseries, playgroups, family centres and crèches who provide care to children under primary school age.

Important information

This advice will be reviewed regularly and revised based on new evidence if necessary. Please check back to ensure you are using the most current version of the recommendations.

This guidance is not exhaustive, and providers must continue to operate within the relevant legal and regulatory frameworks to ensure the health and wellbeing of children and parents while they are using their service.

Next steps

Visit the Scottish Government website for more information and to read the full guidance.

Support provided by Scottish Government

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