Key workers: who are they and why will their children still be at school?

NHS and social care staff, food producers and delivery drivers are among a list of workers deemed "essential" to the coronavirus response. They're being called "key workers".

Schools will be closed to the majority of pupils from 20 March. The government doesn't want childcare responsibilities to impact key workers' jobs, so their children will continue to be cared for at school.

It added that children with at least one parent or carer identified as critical workers by the government could send their children to school, if required.

Here is the list of workers whose children will still be cared for at school:

Health and social care

This includes frontline health and social care staff, such as doctors, nurses, midwives and paramedics. It also includes support and specialist staff in the health and social care sector.

In addition, those working in supply chains, including producers and distributors of medicines and personal protective equipment are included.

Education and childcare

This includes nursery workers, teaching staff and social workers, as the department said these workers are required to deliver their plans.

Key public services

Those required to run the justice system, religious staff, and those responsible for managing the deceased. Journalists providing public service broadcasting are also on the list.

Local and national government

The list "only includes administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the Covid-19 response or delivering essential public services", including payment of benefits.

Food and other necessary goods

Those involved in the production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery of food are included.

Public safety and national security

Police, support staff, Ministry of Defence civilian staff and armed forces personnel are on the list, along with fire and rescue staff. Those responsible for border security, prison staff and probation workers also make the list.


The list includes those who will keep "air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response".

Utilities, communication and financial services

Staff required to keep oil, gas, electricity, water and sewerage operations running are on the list, along with those in the civil nuclear, chemical and telecommunications sectors. Those in postal services and working to provide essential financial services are also included.

Schools are also being asked to care for children classed as "vulnerable", such as those supported by social care, as well as youngsters with safeguarding and welfare needs.

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know