Should my child go to school?
Part of being a parent means that we must ensure our children attend regularly at school. From 1 September 2020, we return to usual expectations and arrangements for telling us if your child is absent from school.
The government now knows much more about coronavirus (COVID-19) and so in future there will be far fewer children and young people advised to shield whenever community transmission rates are high. Therefore, the majority of pupils will be able to attend school. You should note however that:
- a small number of pupils will still be unable to attend in line with public health advice because they are self-isolating and have had symptoms or a positive test result themselves; or because they are a close contact of someone who has coronavirus (COVID-19);
- pupils who have travelled abroad and are subject to quarantine restrictions on return to the UK should not attend school until any quarantine requirements have been met;
- shielding advice for all adults and children will pause on 1 August, subject to a continued decline in the rates of community transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). This means that even the small number of pupils who will remain on the shielded patient list can also return to school, as can those who have family members who are shielding.
Reduce the risk of contact with someone who has coronavirus (COVID-19)
Parents must ensure that their child does not come into school if they have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, or have tested positive in the last 7 days.
We will ensure that anyone developing symptoms during the school day is sent home. If anyone in the school becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or high temperature, or has a loss of or change in their normal sense of taste or smell, they will be sent home. We will expect the child to:
- follow ‘stay at home guidance’
- self-isolate for at least 10 days
- take a coronavirus test and report outcome to our admin team (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- other members of household, including siblings to self-isolate for 10 days
If a child is awaiting collection from school, they will be moved to our Welfare Room (which then becomes our Isolation Room):
- They will be looked after by an adult, who will maintain a distance of 2m or will wear personal, protective equipment. The child will have access to their own bathroom, which will then be cleaned and disinfected before use by others.
Use NHS Test and Trace process, as follows:
- book a test if their child is displaying symptoms. Staff and pupils must not come into the school if they have symptoms, and must be sent home to self-isolate if they develop them in school. All children can be tested, including children under 5, but children aged 11 and under will need to be helped by their parents/carers if using a home testing kit
- provide details of anyone they have been in close contact with if they were to test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or if asked by NHS Test and Trace
- self-isolate if they have been in close contact with someone who develops coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or someone who tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19)
Anyone who displays symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can and should get a test. Tests can be booked online through the NHS testing and tracing for coronavirus website, or ordered by telephone via NHS 119 for those without access to the internet. Essential workers, which includes anyone involved in education or childcare, have priority access to testing.
Parents should tell us immediately of the results of a test:
- if someone tests negative, if they feel well and no longer have symptoms similar to coronavirus (COVID-19), they can stop self-isolating. They could still have another virus, such as a cold or flu – in which case it is still best to avoid contact with other people until they are better. Other members of their household can stop self-isolating.
- if someone tests positive, they should follow the ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’ and must continue to self-isolate for at least 7 days from the onset of their symptoms and then return to school only if they do not have symptoms other than cough or loss of sense of smell/taste. This is because a cough or anosmia can last for several weeks once the infection has gone. The 10-day period starts from the day when they first became ill. If they still have a high temperature, they should keep self-isolating until their temperature returns to normal. Other members of their household should continue self-isolating for the full 10 days.
We will take swift action when we become aware that someone who has attended has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). We will take immediate advice from the DfE and/or local health protection team. This team will also contact schools directly if they become aware that someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) attended the school – as identified by NHS Test and Trace. The DfE and/or health protection team will carry out a rapid risk assessment to confirm who has been in close contact with the person during the period that they were infectious, and ensure they are asked to self-isolate.
Containing any outbreak
If the school has a confirmed case or an overall rise in sickness absence where coronavirus (COVID-19) is suspected, there may be an outbreak in our school community.
In some cases, health protection teams may recommend that a larger number of other pupils self-isolate at home as a precautionary measure – perhaps the whole site, year group or class bubble.
- Parents are encouraged to have plans in place for childcare just in case class or year group 'bubbles' are closed with very short notice.
Where transmission risks are minimised, whole school closure based on cases within the school will not generally be necessary, and will not be considered except on the advice of health protection teams.
In consultation with the local Director of Public Health, where an outbreak in a school is confirmed, a mobile testing unit may be dispatched to test others who may have been in contact with the person who has tested positive. Testing will first focus on the person’s class, followed by their year group, then the whole school if necessary, in line with routine public health outbreak control practice.