What is a key worker? List of jobs and what it means – The Sun

BORIS Johnson announced this week that UK schools will be shut down from today (March 20) "until further notice" for all children except to those of key workers and vulnerable kids.

The official list of key workers critical to the Covid-19 response is out now. We have the full list below and what it means for you and your family.

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What is a key worker?

Key workers whose children will be allowed back to school as they play a crucial role in Britain's fight against coronavirus have been named by the Government.

The working heroes include nurses, police officers and delivery drivers and their children will be exempt from the decision to close classrooms from Monday to stop the spread of the deadly bug.

Full government guidelines here.

In a live broadcast, Johnson  announced that schools across the whole of the UK will be closed after today (March 20) as Britain desperately tries to contain the coronavirus outbreak at the "right time".

Mr Williamson promised that free school meals will continue for everyone who needs it – likely in the form of supermarket vouchers.

Boris told the nation on Thursday evening that the spread was "slowing" as a result of the draconian measures he put in place this week.

The PM explained: "We believe the steps we have already taken, together with those I am announcing today, are already slowing the spread of the disease.

Mr Williamson told the BBC earlier: "It will include all those people working within the NHS.

"We talk about doctors and nurses but there are so many more people who make sure a hospital is able to run and function.

"All of those people will be included.

"There will also be the the need for those who work within schools, those who are providing the support in order for doctors and nurses, and those NHS staff to be able to get to those hospitals.

"More widely, we still need to have our critical infrastructure that continues to work and function.
"We need to to ensure we have delivery drivers delivering food and resources to our shops across the UK."

Critical Covid-19 response sectors in more detail

This is how the government defines the groups of key workers:

Health and social care

This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.

Education and childcare

This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.

Key public services

This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.

Local and national government

This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies.

Food and other necessary goods

This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).

Public safety and national security

This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.


This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.

Utilities, communication and financial services

This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.

What should you do if you're on the key workers list?

If you believe your job falls into one of the key worker categories outlined by the government you must first confirm this with your employer.

If your school is closed then you'll have to contact your local authority who will try to allocate your child a place at another local school in your area.

The government is encouraging all registered childcare providers, schools and colleges to remain open over the Easter holidays to care for the children of key workers.

More detail and answers to specific questions can be found on the government website here.

What happens for those children on the Free Schools Meals scheme?

Although most are grateful for the school closures, ensuring that their children has a less risk of catching coronavirus, there are many parents worried how they will be able to feed their kids.

Normally, children in low-income families are on the Free Schools Meals scheme.

Yet, have no fear as Education Secretary Gavin Williamson revealed that these families will be put on a national voucher system, whereby they will receive free coupons with monetary value to cover the loss of school meals – and can spend them how they like.

When will schools reopen?

Williamson said that schools will be closed until further notice – but would be at least five weeks, taking us until April 27 at the earliest.

The closure comes just two weeks before the Easter break when they would have had a fortnight off.

But this break could last until after the six-week summer holidays and restart in September.

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