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Do you operate a childcare centre, out-of-school care or are you a childminder? Since 8 February day care centres for children aged 0 to 4 may be open. As of 19 April out-of-school care may also open again. Until then they may only offer emergency childcare.
Childcare centres and out-of school care (bso)
Since 8 February primary schools and childcare centres (0-4 yr old) are open again (in Dutch). Out-of-school care must remain closed for regular care until 19 April and may only offer emergency childcare.
If (part of) your location is open you must observe the rules to prevent infection with and distribution of the coronavirus.
You may only offer emergency childcare (in Dutch) to children:
- whose parents (1 or both) work in essential professions
- who are vulnerable, for instance because of special needs or a difficult home situation
- whose parents have a contract with you
Emergency care is meant for the amount of hours you have agreed upon for normal opening hours of your location. You are allowed to make arrangements for extra hours with parents in essential professions.
When out-of-school care reopens on 19 April, they must follow the rules as are in place for primary schools. This means that when 1 person in a class is infected, the entire class must enter into quarantine. Children do not have keep 1.5 metres distance, but teachers do need to keep 1.5 metres distance. Also, all basic rules and the rules specific to childcare must be observed.
Corona testing with priority
Your (pedagogical) staff and childminders can get a corona test with priority (in Dutch) as of 8 February. If 1 of your staff members has any symptoms, they should report this to you. As the employer you decide if they will get priority. You have to follow the assessment framework (in Dutch) to make this decision. The priority is only meant for circumstances in which there is no other option to guarantee care for the children: there is no replacement for the sick employee and the children would have to be sent home in their absence.
Childcare and curfew
Since 23 January a curfew is in place. Do you offer emergency childcare after curfew? Your (educational) staff and host parents may go outside if strictly necessary. They will need an employer’s statement (Werkgeversverklaring avondklok) and also a self-declaration (Eigen verklaring avondklok). If you do not have an employer, for instance because you are self-employed (zzp'er), you fill out the employer's declaration yourself.
Childminding locations may be open. The government asks parents to only make use of childminders if they work in a key profession or if the children are in a vulnerable situation. Children whose parents work in essential professions may also go their childminder at night and in weekends.
Rules for your childcare location
Sector organisations together with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment have drawn up a protocol for the reopening of childcare facilities (in Dutch). This protocol sets out how childcare should be organised during the corona crisis and which rules around safety and hygiene apply.
Please note: a protocol is not legislation, but an elaboration of the RIVM's advice for the workplace.
The protocol is meant for the childcare sector as a whole. You must also have a protocol in place which is based on this specifically for your location. Discuss this with the parents' committee or the parents. You must inform parents and children on the rules in your location. Do you offer out-of-school care? Discuss your rules with the schools concerned.
The Childcare Parents Representation Organisation (Belangenvereniging van Ouders in de Kinderopvang & Peuterspeelzalen, BOinK) has set up a decision tree (pdf, available in English). With this tool you can check if your child (0-8 years old) is allowed to go to school or childcare. This tool is also applicable for emergency care.
Illness of childminders or employees
If employees of your childcare centre are sick or if you as a childminder are sick, the following rules apply:
- Employees with symptoms of a cold or respiratory problems, a fever of 38 degrees and up or sudden loss of taste and smell should stay home. Are you a childminder? You are not allowed to take children in if you have one or more of these symptoms.
- You can get tested for COVID-19 for free at one of the Municipal Health Service’s locations. If you test positive you or your employee take at least 7 days for recovery. If you have no symptoms for 24 hours afterwards, you may get back to work. The same applies if one of your or your employees’ housemates has tested positive for the virus.
- If a housemate of one of your staff (or your housemate) has symptoms of a cold or respiratory problems or a fever of 38 degrees and up, your employee needs to stay home. Are you a childminder? You are not allowed to take children in, unless the housemate is one of your own children (0-12 years of age) with a runny nose/common cold or the housemate (13 and up) does not stay in the same room as the children.
- Does your housemate test positive for COVID-19? Then you or your employee must remain at home until 10 days after the housemate has been free of symptoms for at least 24 hours. Childminders may not take in children during this period.
- Childcare staff also needs to stay home for the first 10 days after their return. Childminders may not take in children during these 10 days.
1.5 metres distancing and face masks
- Children do not need to keep distance from one another.
- Employees must keep 1.5 metres distance from one another.
- Employees and parents must keep 1.5 metres distance from one another.
- You are not required to keep 1.5 metres distance from children.
- Employees do not need to wear a face mask during their work, the protocol advises against the use of face masks during educational/pedagogical activities.
- Parents and other visitors must wear a non-medical face mask when they visit your location.
You may not exceed professional childcarer-child ratio.