Highlands to get nine childcare hubs for key workers during coronavirus crisis; Dingwall and Ullapool amongst sites
Highland Council is to establish nine hubs to care for the children of key workers who must be able to attend their jobs during the coronavirus outbreak.
Key workers who applied for a place for their children will be contacted by the end of today about arrangements, according to the council.
The local authority has been working to set up centres which will be located at schools that have been otherwise closed for the time being.
In the Inverness area hubs will be hosted at Millburn Academy and Inverness Royal Academy.
Others will be sited at Dingwall Academy; Ullapool Academy; Golspie High School; Portree High School; Lochaber High School and Noss Primary (Wick) and Miller Academy (Thurso).
They will be staffed by volunteers drawn from council staff who have been checked to ensure that they are enrolled in the Protecting Vulnerable Groups scheme.
With limited places not everyone who has requested a place will get one and parents working in the emergency services or otherwise directly involved in dealing with Covid-19 will be given priority.
Efforts will be made to increase capacity over the coming days and weeks.
The council says that requesting a place in a hub should be an option of last resort after all other avenues of possible childcare have been exhausted.
The hubs are not replacement schools, so children will be expected to bring any work allocated to them by their own school with them.
Social distancing and health and hygiene practices will be in place.