Minister O’Gorman’s statement on Covid-19 restrictions in Kildare, Offaly and Laois - 7 August 2020
I am writing to give you a brief update on the latest Covid 19 development which you may have heard this evening on media, and to discuss the impact of these measures on early learning and childcare services.
The Government, acting on expert advice, this eveningannounced a temporary return of Covid 19 restrictions for the three counties of Kildare, Offaly and Laois. The restrictions will be in place for two weeks, from midnight today, 7 August.
- For providers in those three affected counties, early learning and childcare services are allowed to stay open during this period with appropriate protective measures in place. This includes centre based services and childminders.
- All childcare services are reminded to adhere to the expert advice on reopening the sector, which can be found on https://first5.gov.ie/practitioners/reopening. These standards have helped to keep the children in your care safe and I am very grateful to you for all your efforts in this regard.
- While services in the effected counties may remain open ( or those planning to reopen later in the month can continue to make necessary arrangements), I realise that some parents may choose not to send their children to their early learning and childcare service for this period. In such cases, where children are funded by DCYA schemes, the unintended absence provisions in the DCYA Funding Agreements will apply, and the Department will continue to fund the child’s place for the period set out in the Funding Agreement (the period differs for different schemes, from four to eight weeks).
- If any individual services are directed to close by the public health authorities due to Covid 19, the force majeure clause of the Department Funding Agreements will apply, and services should inform the Department, so that funding can continue.
- My officials will meet with representatives of providers and staff on Monday 10 August to consider any further supports that may be required. We will keep you informed of any updates.
I realise that this is another worrying development for all of us, and especially for those service providers in the three affected counties. The recent increase in numbers of those diagnosed with Covid-19 acts as a reminder to us all that Covid-19 remains in the community, and that we need to maintain continued vigilance.
Thank you again for all the time and effort you have given to protecting children, families and staff whilst offering an important service to your community. As I said above, my officials will keep in regular contact with you and your representatives.
Minister Roderic O’Gorman
Minister for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration