How the latest Covid-19 restrictions may affect your family

Accurate as of 10:00 19/11/20

The Government’s local tiered system of restrictions in England has been replaced by national measures that will apply across England until at least 2 December. The Government has taken this decision in response to rising numbers of Covid-19 cases “across the whole of the UK and in other countries”. More information on the separate measures currently in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are included in separate sections below.

Below are some key points from the restrictions active in England until at least 2 December:

  • Schools will remain open for the vast majority of pupils.
  • The Government advises that you speak to your child’s GP or specialist clinician, if you have not already done so, to understand whether your child should still be classed as clinically extremely vulnerable. Those children whose doctors have confirmed they are still clinically extremely vulnerable are advised not to attend school. Your child’s school should make appropriate arrangements for them to be able to continue your education at home.
  • The Government guidance states “Children who live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable, but who are not clinically extremely vulnerable themselves, should still attend school.”
  • There will be no return to “formal” shielding. Instead, people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus are being advised by the Government to be especially careful when following the rules and minimise their contacts with others as much as possible. The Government has written to everybody who is clinically extremely vulnerable to set out detailed advice while the new restrictions are in place.
  • Care at home can continue as before.
  • Support bubbles will remain in place – more information on support bubbles is available on the Government website >>
  • Registered childcare and other childcare activities will continue if it allows parents to work or for the purposes of respite care.
  • You should work from home if you can. For those who cannot work from home, for example those who work in essential services or the public sector, the Government states: “The risk of transmission can be substantially reduced if COVID-secure guidelines are followed closely. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk.”
  • The Government says that people who live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable can still attend work if they cannot work from home.
  • The furlough scheme will return in it’s original form until at least 2 December. It has now been extended until March.
  • The advise states that you should not meet family and friends indoors or in a private garden unless you live with them or if they are part of your support bubble. You can exercise or visit an outdoor public space with the people you live with and your support bubble.

We will do our best to keep this page up to date as and when the guidance changes. Further information is available on the Government website >>

The above guidance applies in England and there are differences in the guidance between the devolved nations.

Protection Level system in Scotland

There are now 5 local protection levels for areas in Scotland, with different measures in place for each. Protection level 0 restrictions are the most relaxed, whilst protection level 4 restrictions are the strictest. It has been announced that some areas will move into protection level 4 for the first time on 20 November for a period of three weeks. Find out what protection level your area is in and what measures are in place here >> 

Below are some key points from the guidance on schools, which can be read in full here >> 

  • In regions at protection level 3, all staff and pupils should wear a face covering in classrooms during lessons in the senior phase. Parents or guardians are being advised to discuss with their GP or clinician whether children with the highest clinical risk should still attend school
  • In regions at protection level 4, children on the shielding list will be advised not attend school in person. Care at home can continue as before.

Current restrictions in Wales

There were stricter restrictions active in Wales as part of a “firebreak” lockdown between 23 October and 9 November. These restrictions have now been relaxed. All children can attend school as before the “firebreak” and the extended household system, where your household can enter a bubble with another household, is back in place.

To read the full guidance on the current restrictions in Wales, visit the Government website >>

Increased restrictions in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland will enter a second circuit breaker lockdown on Friday 27 November. This lockdown is expected to last for at least two weeks and includes similar restrictions to the English national lockdown.

Schools are set to stay open to all pupils for the duration of the lockdown.

People who have previously been advised to shield have not been formally advised to shield again. Instead, they are being advised to be “particularly careful in following the advice on limiting household contacts, social distancing, hand washing and wearing a face covering”

Read the full guidance on the increased restrictions in Northern Ireland on the Government website>>

Support available to families

People who are clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus can register to receive support via a new Government online service here >>

You can use this service to:

  • Get access to priority supermarket deliveries (if you do not have access to priority delivery already)
  • Ask for someone to contact you about any local support that’s available
  • Update your details – for example, your address

You can also request volunteer support from NHS Volunteer Responders via an app or by telephone here >>

NHS Volunteer Responders can provide support with a number of things, including collecting prescriptions and transport to appointments.

 

WellChild’s Direct Response Service is also still open and able to provide support with the following:

  • An emergency delivery of PPE (including surgical face masks, aprons, and eye protection.)
  • Scrub style uniforms for care staff
  • Non-surgical (washable) face masks
  • Advice on food deliveries or prescription collection.

Click here to request support >>

Children who require aerosol generating procedures (AGP) at school (updated 13/11/20)

After campaigning by parents, professionals, WellChild and many other organisations, the Department For Education (DFE) have updated and expanded their guidance for children who require AGP in schools. Read the new guidance in full here >> 

The Department For Education has stated: “It is vital that all children [and] young people […] with complex or additional health needs, are supported to continue their education and care in their education or children’s social care setting, where it is safe to do so.” They say they have adapted the guidance to meet the specific needs of the settings, children and young people involved. They also stress the need for a collaborative approach between “education and children’s social care settings, families and local agencies” to find solutions.

Some key points from the updated guidance:

  • Clarification on the procedures classed as AGP. The following procedures are NOT considered AGP:
    • oral or nasal suction
    • the administration of nebulised saline, medication or drugs
    • chest compressions or defibrillation
    • chest physiotherapy
    • the administration of oxygen therapy
    • suctioning as part of a closed system circuit
    • nasogastric tube insertion and feeding
  • The list of procedures still classed as AGP include:
    • non-invasive ventilation (NIV)
    • bi-level positive airway pressure ventilation (BiPAP)
    • continuous positive airway pressure ventilation (CPAP)
    • respiratory tract suctioning beyond the oro-pharynx
  • Regarding suctioning, a footnote in the guidance states: “Currently, only open suctioning beyond the oro-pharynx is considered an AGP – oral or pharyngeal suctioning is not an AGP. The evidence on respiratory tract suctioning is being reviewed by the AGP panel.”
  • Whilst the guidance states that “ideally” children should still be taken to a separate room for AGP, schools that do not have a suitable separate room can now allow AGP to take place in the classroom, providing anyone not involved with the procedure is 2 meters away and there is a window open for ventilation.
  • Further information for schools on how to source the PPE their staff need to carry out AGP is available here >>
  • The DFE have said “We expect children, young people and learners with complex health needs will be able to return to their education or social care setting without settings needing to make significant changes to their ways of work beyond required adherence to the system of controls”. This further suggests that it is the DFE position that children should no longer be denied access to school because they require AGP.
  • Further information on the full list of AGP in all settings can be found here >>

If you would like to connect with others facing similar challenges during this time, you can find out more and join the WellChild Family Tree for mutual support and advice here >> 

 

By Callum Campbell, WellChild Family Information Officer

callumcampbell@wellchild.org.uk