The government has removed the remaining domestic restrictions in England. At school, we will continue to be cautious and will continue to maintain our enhamced cleaning regime inc. hand-sanitising and we will take every opportunity to ventilate. We will continue our use of a 1-way system and some practical measures introduced during the pandemic will remain as part of our normal practces moving forward (eg. not using lockers and wearing PE kit on PE days).
There are still steps you can take to reduce the risk of catching and spreading COVID-19:
- “Catch it, Bin it, Kill it” and wash your hands
- get your first, second or booster vaccination
- open windows and let fresh air in when meeting people indoors
- wear a face-covering in crowded and enclosed spaces, like shopping centres and public transport
- try to stay at home if you feel unwell
What to do if a student or member of staff has Covid-19
COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Education and Childcare Settings
*Refreshed May 2023*
Shareable link to this document: COVID-19 FAQs for education and childcare settings.pdf
Compiled by the local Public Health Team
These answers are based on the latest guidance from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the Department for Education (DFE).
Q1. A child/member of staff has symptoms of a respiratory infection should they be in the setting? Children or adults with mild symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, or mild cough, who are otherwise well, can continue to attend their education or childcare setting. Children or adults who are unwell and have a high temperature should stay at home and where possible avoid contact with other people. They can go back to their education or childcare setting when they no longer have a high temperature, and they are well enough.
Symptoms of COVID-19 can include:
• a high temperature or shivering (chills) – a high temperature means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
• a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours.
• a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
• shortness of breath
• feeling tired or exhausted
• an aching body
• a headache
• a sore throat
• a blocked or runny nose
• loss of appetite
• feeling sick or being sick
The symptoms are very similar to symptoms of other illnesses, such as colds and flu, and may vary with different COVID-19 variants.
Q2. A parent/carer has sent a child into the setting who is unwell and has said they have had a negative test - what should we do?
Regardless of the negative test result, if the child is unwell and has a high temperature they should not attend until their temperature has returned to normal. If the parent is insistent, but the child is unwell and has a high temperature, you can refuse attendance if it is considered necessary to protect others from possible infection.
If they have mild symptoms (cough, runny nose, sore throat) and do not have a high temperature they can attend.
Children and young people with respiratory symptoms should be encouraged to cover their mouth and nose with a disposable tissue when coughing and/or sneezing and to wash their hands after using or disposing of tissues.
Q3. A child has had a positive COVID-19 test result, what should we do? It is not recommended that children and young people be tested for COVID-19 unless directed to by a health professional. If a child or young person has a positive COVID-19 test result, they should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 3 days after the day they took the test, if they can. After 3 days, if they feel well and do not have a high temperature, the risk of passing the infection on to others is much lower. This is because children and young people tend to be infectious to other people for less time than adults. If the parent is insistent on their child attending school, you can refuse attendance to protect others from possible infection. In the event that a COVID-19 positive child must essentially attend the premises, then appropriate steps to manage risk should be put in place. In this circumstance, Community and Voluntary Controlled schools should contact CBC Corporate Health and Safety to discuss risk management options. Children and young people who usually go to school, college or childcare and who live with someone who has a positive COVID-19 test result should continue to attend as normal.
Q4. A member of staff / adult working in school has tested positive, what should we do?
Any adult who has a positive COVID-19 test result should try to stay at home for 5 days after the day they took the test and avoid contact with other people. In the event that a COVID-19 positive person must essentially attend the premises, then appropriate steps to manage risk should be put in place. In this circumstance, Community and Voluntary Controlled schools should contact CBC Corporate Health and Safety to discuss risk management options.
Q5. What should we do with our spare COVID-19 tests – should we continue to use them?
Settings should retain their stock of tests, do not distribute them, and await further advice from UKHSA. Any test kits that have passed their expiry date can be disposed of as municipal (general) waste.
Q6. Do we still need to record pupils who are absent from school due to COVID-19?
Schools no longer need to record pupils who do not attend for reasons related to COVID-19, using Code X. Pupils with symptoms of COVID-19 are no longer advised to get a test, and most of the scenarios that this category was brought in to record no longer apply.
Pupils who have symptoms of COVID-19 should follow the UKHSA guidance about when they should stay at home. Where a pupil is not attending because they have symptoms of COVID-19 or have had a positive test, schools should record this using Code I (illness) unless another more appropriate absence code applies. Schools can continue to use the sub-code (I02) to record illness due to suspected COVID-19, although they are not required to.
Q7. Do we still need to include COVID-19 in our risk assessments?
The requirement for employers to explicitly consider COVID-19 in their health and safety risk assessment has been removed. Employers may choose to continue to cover COVID-19 in their risk assessments and this would certainly be appropriate if a person known to have tested positive for COVID-19 was to be permitted access to the school or in-person school activities during the periods when they are advised to be away (see Qs3 and 4).
See: Reducing the spread of respiratory infections, including COVID-19, in the workplace.
Q8. What about staff who are at higher risk from COVID-19? There is specific guidance for people whose immune system means they are at higher risk, because they have a reduced ability to fight infections, such as COVID-19. Employers may wish to consider the needs of employees at greater risk from COVID-19, including those whose immune system means they are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19.
Q9. If I have any concerns and need help regarding COVID-19 management, who should I contact?
Please email email@example.com our local authority-based Health Protection Team, who will act as the first point of contact, respond where applicable and escalate concerns if required.
Q10. We think we have an outbreak of COVID-19 what do we do? All settings should have in place baseline infection prevention and control measures that will help to manage the spread of any infection, including COVID-19: • ensuring that all staff and students who are unwell do not attend the setting (see Q1 above). • ensuring all eligible groups are enabled and supported to take up the offer of national immunisation programmes including coronavirus (COVID-19) and flu • ensuring occupied spaces are well ventilated and let fresh air in – CO2 monitors can help to monitor general air quality and HEPA filters can help remove pathogens where fresh air ventilation is not sufficient. • reinforcing good hygiene practices such as regular cleaning of frequently touched surfaces. • considering communications to raise awareness among parents and carers of the outbreak or incident and to reinforce key messages, including the use of hand and respiratory hygiene measures within the setting such as E-Bug.
Q11. How do we get further, specialist advice? Education and childcare settings may consider seeking specialist advice from the East of England UKHSA Health Protection Team (see contact details below*) if they are concerned and have seen: • a higher than previously experienced and/or rapidly increasing number of staff or student absences due to acute respiratory infection or diarrhoea and vomiting
• evidence of severe disease due to an infection, for example if a pupil, student, child or staff member is admitted to hospital. • more than one infection circulating in the same group of students and staff for example chicken pox and scarlet fever.
The NHS is providing vaccinations through walk-in centres or by appointment. First, second and booster vaccinations are all available.
You can also book by calling 119.
School-based documents ... 'just in case'
- Remote Learning and Contingency Plan for education at Holywell during Coronavirus outbreaks, closure or lockdown is available here.
- The latest School Coronavirus Outbreak Management Plan is available here.
- Mr Simpson's Guide to Home-Testing can be found here.
- Our school Coronavirus risk assessment is available here. The risk assessment is regularly updated in the light of Government advice and in collaboration with our Health and Safety Consultant. We value and welcome feedback from parents on the risk assessment. Please email us if you have any questions or suggestions: firstname.lastname@example.org. NB. In non-Covid times, our Pandemic Plan would be used as a first course of action.
The latest Government information can be found in the following links:
- DfE Guidance:
- Please see the attached pdf for direct links.
The most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves is to wash their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and travelling on public transport.
Watch this short NHS film for guidance: