The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, today issued the following statement to early learning and childcare providers.
“I welcome the decisions today by Government to remove public health restrictions based on the recommendations from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET). The recommendations do still place a huge importance on continued Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) measures, isolation if symptomatic, vaccination and booster programmes.
“I would like to thank early learning and childcare providers and their staff for the commitment they have shown to children and families since the onset of COVID-19 and their ongoing efforts to implement the public health guidance, keeping the children in their care safe.
“In line with NPHET recommendations, physical distancing measures such as play-pods, and mask wearing, will no longer be required with effect from Monday 28th February in early learning and childcare settings.
“My Department is working with the HPSC in relation to updating sector-specific infection, prevention and control guidance.
“I recognise that, over the coming period, staff, parents and children within early learning and childcare settings will perceive the risk of COVID-19 infection in different ways, depending on their individual medical history and experience of the pandemic to date.
“The exemption to the turnover rule for early learning and childcare providers to access the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) will remain in place until end April – at a flat rate of €100 per week – which may support providers with any transition period needed as these measures are unwound
“I will continue to engage regularly with the Early Learning and Childcare Stakeholder Forum and with public health experts and provide updates as necessary.
“Finally, may I again thank all early learning and childcare providers, early years educators and school-age childcare practitioners for your diligence, your professionalism, and continued care you have provided throughout this pandemic.”
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