URGENT UPDATE: Priority childcare

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schools update



Some schools are choosing to open on an emergency basis. This is not free childcare.

Only where a parent is employed in an essential job AND their specific role is critical to the country's COVID-19 response AND there is no alternative childcare option available should children be sent to school.

If there is a second parent, or other suitable non-vulnerable person in the household, and they are not an essential worker they should look after children unless families make alternative arrangements.

If families do not act on this guidance, schools that are open may be overwhelmed and children will not be safe.

Be responsible. Please do not make a bad situation worse.

Please share this text on social media.

Arrangements in Cumbria

  • Your child's school will have contacted you by now to inform you of which local schools will be open. This may not be your child's usual school.
  • The situation is changing rapidly and things may change between now and tomorrow morning. Check your email and phone before you set off to school.
  • Do not expect to be able to drop your child off at school as normal. Time will be required to register children. Put aside at least 1 hour.
  • Do not arrive before 9.30am.
  • Prepare for the possibility that these arrangements may be temporary and Government may place further restrictions over the coming days.
  • Schools and those staffing them will be under pressure. Be patient and recognise that everyone involved is trying their best.

Definition of essential workforce

NOTE: Only if your specific role is critical to the country's COVID-19 response are you an essential worker.

Health and social care

This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.

Education and childcare

This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.

Key public services

This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.

Local and national government

This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies.

Food and other necessary goods

This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).

Public safety and national security

This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.


This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.

Utilities, communication and financial services

This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.