Protect families by creating covid-safe childcare settings

Protect families by creating covid-safe childcare settings

3 June 2022
Petition to
The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP of the UK (Secretary of State for Health and Social Care)
Signatures: 52Next Goal: 100
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Why this petition matters

Started by Lena Dogra

Sending ill and covid-positive children to nursery or school is one of the worst ways in which the pandemic has revealed the lack of solidarity in our society, forced by government policies and economic short-term thinking.  Children need and have a right to their own intact health, and need healthy parents to look after them. 

Families and children with health problems are openly excluded from the community settings of nurseries and schools, as long as these continue to essentially have no covid safety standards at all. Long covid and other complications occur in children, taking away precious time and energy they would need to explore, learn, and enjoy, not even mentioning that the illness can be fatal in healthy children, and more so in vulnerable ones. No parent wants their child to go through such suffering. Depriving vulnerable families from the option of safe childcare is against the UN Convention for children's rights, which asks to guarantee childcare for working parents.

Parents find themselves in the devastating situation of being left behind - there is no right choice they could make if the covid rules will not improve again. Now that there are no rules for testing and isolation in childcare settings, vulnerable parents are confronted with the choice between
- either dropping out from their occupation to stay home with their child or children, risking the financial security of the family,
- or being close to sure of getting ill sooner or later, risking covid complications that - if not life itself - will cost weeks and months of productivity, or be permanently debilitating, leaving a vulnerable child unable to develop normally, or leaving a vulnerable parent unfit to work and soon unemployed, maybe even unfit to care for the family.
There is no third option, no option that includes being able to live safely as working parent and provide basic financial stability to one's own children. 

It is appalling on a humanitarian level to consider a few days of self-isolation for infected children and families as a bigger burden than the inevitable long-term damage done to those families who are vulnerable, or simply among the unlucky ones without pre-existing health problems that will suffer long term consequences of being infected.
Even economically it is terrible short-term thinking to ignore the number of people that will require care instead of contributing to society through their work and care.

No one would get the idea to encourage smoking cigarettes in childcare settings, spreading harmful smoke through the room. But at the moment, it is allowed (and for some parents the only option, depending on their employers) to spread harmful germs through the air of nurseries and classrooms, and there is no alternative for those who are concerned and at higher risk. The only way to give positive meaning to the horrors of the pandemic is to apply what we have learned during the lockdowns: to limit the spread of illness through continued testing, distancing of infected people, and teaching each other and our children to be mindful and considerate of hygiene and health matters.

We ask to re-establish self-isolation and testing for children in whose household there is a covid infected person or who have symptoms of respiratory illness, with regards to nurseries and other childcare settings. Schools need to provide online access to classes. Parents need to be granted flexible working arrangements or sick leave if keeping a child at home for self-isolation interferes with their working hours.

Alternatively, we suggest a realistic number (i.e. as many as satisfy the demand) of nurseries and schools with such rules, and a right for all parents to choose these covid-safer arrangements if they wish, along with a right to unpaid sick leave for the purpose of assisting self-isolation of a child. For vulnerable families, the inconveniences and financial costs resulting from isolation periods would be immensely less than the consequences of becoming infected.

We plead with you to stop leaving vulnerable families behind, and to not delay in acknowledging the problem and creating childcare settings and rules that are safe with respect to covid and other infectious diseases.

(PC: )

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Signatures: 52Next Goal: 100
Support now


  • The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP of the UKSecretary of State for Health and Social Care