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Child care and the Coronavirus - Solutions beyond our borders

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Fact sheet
Publication Date: 
18 Mar 2020

This information is intended to give people at least an idea of how this is being handled in a selection of European countries.  At this point, there is no source of consolidated information on COVID-19 and child care; we will update this as more information is available

By March 17, 35 European countries had closed all schools and two had partially closed schools, leaving only the UK and Belarus not closing schools. Note that in many European countries, children in school programs are usually younger than are kindergarten-age children in Canada. Addressing child care needs during the pandemic both for school-age children and children below school-age is generally less consistent than are school closures per se.

However, by March 17, many countries had closed their child care services and were developing solutions for continuing to support families and the economy.



Closed all schools and child care, developing special child care to be provided for the children of health care workers.  


All child care centres closed.


All child care centres closed.


All child care centres closed; free child care at schools or child care centres will be provided for a list of essential workers. Both parents must be essential workers or single parents to qualify for emergency child care.


All child care centres closed.  Local solutions for children of healthcare personnel, the transport sector or within other critical society functions must be provided. Some schools will remain open to care for children of essential workers.


All child care centres closed.


All child care centres closed. Wage compensation for parents not at work.


All child care centres closed.


Schools are closed but will continue to supervise children of parents who are working. Child care centres are closed in some locales such as Vienna.


Child care centres are not required to close. Schools are closed but some schools will remain open to look after children of essential workers.


All child care centres are closed.


Neither schools nor child care are consistently closed.


Schools and nurseries in Scotland and Wales will close as of March 20th, 2020

Schools and nurseries in the UK-England will be close das of March 20th, 2020 

Schools in Northern Ireland are due to shut Monday, March 23rd, 2020. 

International News

COVID-19: Australia: Medical certificate needed for childcare subsidy if children kept home
The Guardian, 19 March 2020

COVID-19: UK: Parents with these jobs can continue to send their children to school
SkyNews, 20 March 2020 

COVID-19: UK: Nurseries will close without more support during coronavirus
The Guardian, 20 March 2020

COVID-19: UK: All schools to close from Friday; GCSE and A-level exams cancelled – UK Covid-19, as it happened
The Guardian, 18 March 2020

COVID-19: For parents, a battle to find day care while so much closes amid coronavirus fears
The Washington Post, 13 March 2020

‘What’s the right thing to do?’ Coronavirus forces families to make painful child care decisions
The Time, 17 March 2020

Coronavirus: How does it impact child care providers and CCR&R?
Child Care Aware of America, 28 February 2020

Being a childcare worker has always meant living on the frontlines
Jezebel, 17 March 2020