The government have asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and for schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend. The fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.
Many families with parents working in critical sectors will be able to ensure their child is kept at home practically given that some children will be able to be left on their own for some of the time during the day. There is no law about when you can leave your child on their own but it is an offence to leave them alone if it places them at risk. For many secondary age children it will be appropriate for them to be left alone as long as parents/carers, you use your judgement on how mature your child is before you decide to leave them at home. The NSPCC recommends that babies, toddlers and very young children should never be left alone, that children under the age of 12 are rarely mature enough to cope in an emergency and should not be left at home alone for a long period of time and that children under the age of 16 should not be left alone overnight.
The key messages are:
- We remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend
- Every child who can be safely cared for at home should be, to limit the chance of the virus spreading
- Secondary age children can be left alone but special care should be taken to ensure they are mature enough to cope this with and those under 12 should not be left along for a long period of time.
I know many key worker families have reflected over the weekend and decided their child can be safely cared for at home. We will continue to provide a safe space for children who absolutely need to attend, but ask that you consider again whether alternative arrangements are possible for your family, in order to reduce the number of children needing to travel and reduce the possibility of spreading the virus.
Mrs J Roberts