Covid updates: testing, financial support and vulnerable children
Confirmatory PCR tests following a positive lateral flow device (LFD) test result are to be temporarily suspended from Tuesday 11 January 2022. This will mean that anyone who receives a positive LFD test result will be required to self-isolate immediately and will not be required to take a confirmatory PCR test.
Guidance has been updated to reflect the UKHSA announcement about confirmatory PCR tests and clarifying that children and young people can return to school and college after day 7 if they have had two negative LFD tests
Guidance on testing under 5s for household contacts is that children under 5 are not being advised to take part in daily testing of close contacts. If a child under 5 is a contact of a confirmed case, they are not required to self-isolate and should not start daily testing. If they live in the same household as someone with COVID-19 they should limit their contact with anyone who is at higher risk of severe illness if infected with COVID-19, and arrange to take a PCR test as soon as possible. They can continue to attend an education or childcare setting while waiting for the PCR result. If the test is positive, they should follow the stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed COVID-19 infection.
Financial support available to early years providers currently includes the Recovery Loan Scheme for small and medium enterprises and potentially access to the discretionary grant scheme to local authorities. The Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme is returning from mid-January 2022 for COVID-related sickness absences for up to 2 weeks per employee occurring from 21 December 2021 onwards. This 2 week limit will be reset so an employer will be able to claim regardless of whether they have claimed under the previous scheme for that employee.
Guidance on children of critical workers and vulnerable children who should be given priority to attend school or education settings have been updated to include a broader definition of children classified as vulnerable. This list now also includes: • children known to children’s social care services in the past • children whose home circumstances might be particularly challenging because of domestic abuse, parental offending, adult mental health issues, and drug and alcohol addiction