Guidance for Reopening

The well-being, health and safety of children, their families and those working in the sector is a priority. The First 5  web-page provides guidance for parents and service providers on the reopening of early learning and care (ELC) and school-age childcare (SAC) services.

Guidance is based on the latest public health advice available from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) in the HSE, which has been approved by the Expert Advisory Group of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET). The public health advice is subject to ongoing review / updating by the HPSC. If the public health advice changes, the guidance documents on this web-page may change accordingly. Every ELC and SAC setting is different and service providers will need to use their professional judgement in determining how best to comply with the public health advice while ensuring high quality practice to support children’s well-being, learning and development.

Visit the First 5 website for more information.

Preparation Documents

Some quick reference material on a variety of thematic areas:

If you need support over a weekend due to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 in your service, please contact a weekend specific COVID support helpline, being hosted by the City/County Childcare Committees, on 1800 940341 between the hours of 10am-1.00pm and 1.30pm-4.00pm on Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays.

Regulatory Guidance

Tusla’s Early Years Inspectorate has developed guidance for registered providers of early years services to support and facilitate the safe reopening and operation during the COVID-19 period.

These documents have been prepared in line with public health guidance and regulatory requirements. The guidance document provides detailed information on the steps you need to take before and after you reopen. The self-assessment checklist should be completed in parallel with the guidance document as an aide to help services work through the requirements. As you are aware Covid -19 is included in the list of infectious diseases, in the event of a case in an early years’ service it must be notified to Tusla. A revised notification form for Covid-19 has been developed. Should additional advice be received from HPSC before Phase 3 or thereafter, Tusla will amend the documents accordingly.

The suite of documents includes

The Department of Education and Skills, Early Years Education Inspectorate has developed guidance for registered providers of early learning and care settings regarding the arrangements for inspection during the 2020/21 academic year.

  • Circular 0042/2020, Arrangements for Inspection of Early Learning and Care (ELC) Settings for the 2020/2021 academic year, (DES) [Download here].