Coronavirus update

Face masks - NACCC guidance as at 22nd October 2020

We have received an enquiry about face coverings so thought this might be a good opportunity to confirm some of the information shared and discussed via our 'Coffee Shop' members forum over the past few months.

  • Government guidelines should be followed, that are relevant to the area local to your contact centre.

  • Once you have considered local government guidelines, you should think about completing a risk assessment relevant to your centre.

  • The two above would help you to come to a conclusion about facemasks.

We would advise taking an overly cautious approach here and promoting the wearing of facemasks for as many people within contact centres as possible, particularly when moving around the building.

Children are usually exempt from rules relating to masks and it is not difficult to imagine that having a face covering might be quite distressing for them. Therefore, any risk assessment made by centres should take this into account and individual assessments might need to happen for individual children.

Some parents might be exempt or might say that they are exempt. They might or might not have some kind of proof of this or you might know of a condition that would make them exempt. For these people, it is strongly recommended that an individual assessment is written specifically in relation to their needs and any vulnerabilities they might have in order to ascertain whether it is considered safe for them any everyone else for them to be in the centre without a face covering.

There are potential ethical issues about asking someone to prove that they do or do not have a disability that might make them exempt from wearing face masks, which can make it difficult to reach a conclusion in line with the guidance in this article. In some cases, we might be best placed to take their word for it.

However, there are schemes running across the uk, whereby people can access lanyards to evidence this. More information about an example of this can be found here. However, there is a cost associated and there seems nothing to stop anyone joining regardless of vulnerability levels.

Once an approach has been adopted, it is advisable to make this as clear as possible for all families. You might want to consider a temporary set of rules, or rules specific to Covid. You might consider adding Covid specific content to contact agreements when you set these up or review these. Covid agreements should always be discussed at pre-visit and any opportunity before this. It’s also a good idea to have reminder posters at the centre.

As with everything related to Covid, the science is constantly changing and therefore so is the advice, therefore it is advisable to monitor local government guidance and to ensure that a centres approach can adapt to this in a streamlined way.  

 

Wales lockdown - NACCC guidance as at Thursday 22nd October 2020

The Welsh Government has announced a “Fire Breaker Lockdown” relating to the whole of Wales. This will be for a time limited period in order to reduce the infection rates within the Welsh Border.

Centres are therefore, advised to keep up to date with advice from the Welsh Government as well as any complimentary advice within specific local authority areas. This information should then be used to assess the risks to specific contact centres.

The most current advice for people in the Wales area is available here. As with any advice of this nature, it could be subject to change at any time and therefore it is advised that this is regularly reviewed.

Within the link above, there is a specific reference to the fact that child contact arrangements are currently able to continue and that children should be able to see both parents. Again, this might change at some point so please do continue to review this.

With this in mind, it is therefore acceptable for people to travel to and from contact centres in Wales for the purposes of child contact, which would include the travel in and out of Wales for this purpose from other areas of the UK. Although, centres are encouraged to consider the appropriateness of this on an individual basis.

Centres are encouraged to continue making individual assessments about measures and precautions needed at contact centres that are consistent with Welsh and local Government Guidance. Such assessments would not only include information about the centre, but also considerations around Facemasks, Social Distancing, PPE, Hygiene and people traveling to the centre.

This document is subject to change, please continue to check the NACCC Website for updates.


NACCC Updated Covid Statement (England Only) - Tuesday 13th October 2020

On the 12th October 2020 the government (England Only) produced guidance with the intention of providing clarity for areas with differing coronavirus restrictions in place.

You can check restrictions in any postcode area here.

Images explaining this were published by the government on the same day as this guidance. These are included here, however, please do keep up with guidance from gov.uk where more detailed guidance is also available, or from the NHS.

Medium Alert Level

What does this mean for Child Contact Centres?

  • Businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law
  • Face masks should be worn in enclosed spaces.
  • Social Distancing should be maintained in line with government guidance.
  • Rule of 6 should be adhered to outside of contact centres, for social activities. Centres outdoors in a group higher than 6 should have risk assessments relating to this and appropriate identity with them.
NB: It is not NACCC’s guidance, or that of any government, that children should be socially distant from parents that they are having contact with. The government is and always has been supportive of children spending time with parents they do not live with. More information about this can be found in the statement of Sir Andrew MacFarlane (on this website).

High Alert Level


What does this mean for Child Contact Centres?

  • Restrictions on Socialising – Child Contact Centres are not Social Activities, they are Health and Social Care Services and therefore, can continue to operate in a covid secure way.
  • Face masks should be worn in enclosed spaces.
  • Social Distancing should be maintained in line with government guidance. 
  • Rule of 6 should be adhered to outside of contact centres, for social activities. Centres outdoors in a group higher than 6 should have risk assessments relating to this and appropriate identity with them.
NB: It is not NACCC’s guidance, or that of any government, that children should be socially distant from parents that they are having contact with. The government is and always has been supportive of children spending time with parents they do not live with. More information about this can be found in the statement of Sir Andrew MacFarlane (on this website).

Very High Alert Level


What does this mean for Child Contact Centres?

  • Restrictions on Socialising – Child Contact Centres are not Social Activities, they are Health and Social Care Services and therefore, can continue to operate in a covid secure way.
  • People are to avoid travelling in or out of high-risk areas. This will need careful consideration for parents or children that might be crossing geographical areas for the purposes of child contact.
  • Face masks should be worn in enclosed spaces.
  • Social Distancing should be maintained in line with government guidance.
  • Rule of 6 should be adhered to outside of contact centres, for social activities. Centres outdoors in a group higher than 6 should have risk assessments relating to this and appropriate identity with them.

The government may introduce other restrictions in specific areas. To be sure about the restrictions in any specific area please refer to the postcode checker.

NB: It is not NACCC’s guidance, or that of any government, that children should be socially distant from parents that they are having contact with. The government is and always has been supportive of children spending time with parents they do not live with. More information about this can be found in the statement of Sir Andrew MacFarlane (on this website). 

NACCC – Updated Guidance (Thursday 10th September 2020)

Rule of six: UK Government, relating to England - NACCC comment

In the last few days the media have been heavily reporting the new “Rule of six”, which is a government strategy aimed at clarifying current guidance and ultimately lessening the risk of the transmission of Covid 19.

NACCC have reviewed information available to us and are currently of the view that this does not apply to child contact centres, because:

  • Strictly speaking the centre is not a social gathering, you are providing health and social care services.
  • It is a place of work, whether paid or voluntary.

  • Because you have made an assessment of the risks and have measures in place to lessen these (social distancing, reduced numbers, PPE, one-way systems, cleaning regimes, training and so on).

Therefore, NACCC are of the view that Child Contact Centres should continue the excellent work they do, in recognition of the fact that children need the structure, routine, predictability and most of all to be able to spend time with their loved ones. It is of course important that we do this work safely and that people are reassured by the measures that we have in place. People who are unwell, not reassured or otherwise affected really should not be using centres at this very uncertain time.

In order to ensure that your work is not interrupted or challenged, you might choose to check locally and at least letting people know of your plans. You might choose to do this my making yourself aware of and known to your local “Covid Warden” if or when this system launches. Additionally, you might also want to contact the local police (not 999) to make them aware of your work and the fact that families will be attending the centre.

This link provides information relating to the Rule of six for centres in England, from the government.

This link to a BBC Article provides a really helpful summary of the new guidance.

Where there are local restrictions the government is producing advice for each individual local area. This can be accessed here and the NACCC Guidance is that this guidance should be followed.

It is also important to know whether you have children or parents living in areas affected by “local lockdowns”, even if the centre is not in one. In this scenario the advice is likely to be that people should not be travelling out of the area.


Further reading and other helpful information

Information for children and young people

https://www.childline.org.uk/info-advice/your-feelings/anxiety-stress-panic/worries-about-the-world/coronavirus/ - Childline.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround#more-stories-2 – Newsround – Safe and reliable information for children about Coronavirus.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/talking-with-children.html - Centre for Disease Control and Prevention - Talking with children about Coronavirus Disease 2019: Messages for parents, school staff, and others working with children.

https://higherlogicdownload.s3.amazonaws.com/NASN/3870c72d-fff9-4ed7-833f-215de278d256/UploadedImages/PDFs/02292020_NASP_NASN_COVID-19_parent_handout.pdf - National Association of School Psychologists & National Association of School Nurses - Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus) A Parent Resource

https://youtu.be/WhVad8ToCiU - Child Mind Institute – How to talk to kids about Coronavirus, YouTube guidance.

https://childmind.org/article/talking-to-kids-about-the-coronavirus/ - Child Mind Institute - Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus, Webpage.

NHS

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ - Coronavirus Overview.

https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/ - Symptoms Checker.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/ - Stay at home Advice.

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/best-way-to-wash-your-hands/ - Hand Washing Guidance.

World Health Information

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

Government

 https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response - Coronavirus (COVID-19): UK government response.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision - Coronavirus (COVID-19): maintaining educational provision

https://gov.wales/coronavirus - Welsh Government – Coronavirus Information.

https://www.northernireland.gov.uk/ - The Northern Ireland Executive.

https://www.gov.gg/publichealthservices - Guernsey Government - Coronavirus Information.

https://www.gov.im/coronavirus - Isle of Man Government – Coronavirus Information.

Public Health Bodies

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/public-health-england - Public Health England

https://phw.nhs.wales/topics/latest-information-on-novel-coronavirus-covid-19/ - Public Health Wales.

https://www.publichealth.hscni.net/ - Public Health Northern Ireland.


ARCHIVE Information from NACCC for the public regarding the coronavirus outbreak

To download the paper please click on the Adobe Reader icon below. If you do not have the correct software installed then you can download free viewers. ( PDF Reader )

Sample risk assessment form provided by NACCC to centres June 2020


Information for the public for the period 25 March to 3 August 2020


Information for the public as at 23 March 2020


Information for the public as at 17 March 2020