Over the weekend, Orkney Islands Council’s education staff have responded to 250 applications for childcare for key workers' children and young people under the age of 16.
This follows the Scottish Government's decision to close schools and council-run nurseries from 17:00 on Friday 20 March.
The Government has asked councils to put provision in place for the children of key workers – allowing parents and carers to play their part in the national response to Covid-19.
A response had been sent to all key worker parents who submitted an application by 15:00 on Saturday 21 March. Applications received after that time will be processed on Monday.
“We have said to the parents we’ve contacted that places will be available for their children in their usual setting from Monday 23 March – but only as a last resort if no other childcare options are available to them,” said James Wylie, OIC’s Executive Director of Education, Leisure and Housing.
“We want to keep the number of children in each school and nursery to the absolute minimum - because of the need for social distancing to keep children and our staff as safe and well as possible.
“This is why we are asking parents to make alternative arrangements if at all possible before taking up the offer of childcare in our schools and nurseries.”
Schools and nurseries providing care for the children of key workers will operate their usual opening hours.
School transport should be operating as normal for the children and young people included in this provision. Parents can also drop their child off and collect them in person.
If the request is for nursery provision, there will be no transport and parents will need to take their child to the setting and pick them us as usual.
If you submitted an application before 15:00 on Saturday and have not received a response - please get in touch with us here.
Processing of applications submitted after 15:00 on Saturday will begin on Monday.