All early learning and childcare services can continue to operate from the beginning of January under Level 5, the Minister for Children, Disability, Equality, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, T.D. has confirmed.
A statement said this includes full operation of the Early Childhood Care and Education programme, which is set to resume on 4 January 2021 for most services.
Under the new restrictions, schools and early learning and childcare will continue to operate in Level 5 and are deemed essential, with schools reopening at a slightly later date of 11 January.
Speaking this evening, Minister O’Gorman said:
‘The public health advice has indicated that the continued operation of early learning and childcare services is safe. Continued operation of these services is also in the interest of children and is critical for working parents, especially those in the workforce on whom we rely to deliver essential services.
"My Department will continue to ensure that all early learning and childcare providers and professionals are supported to deliver their services safely," he said.
Due to the short extension to the Christmas break for schools, and the heightened level of restrictions a statement added that some fluctuation in attendance at early learning and childcare services is expected. The Minister confirmed that his Department would continue to make payments for its schemes where attendance in January is lower than anticipated.
Continued strict adherence to public health measures by families and early learning and childcare providers is urged by the Minister.