Covid-19 safety in schools
As schools work to provide an education for all pupils during the pandemic, we'd like to thank you and your children for adapting so well to the new ‘normal’.
Unfortunately, we are seeing an increasing amount of positive cases of coronavirus in children and young people, so we need your help to try and keep the virus from spreading further.
Whenever there is a positive case, schools will need to ask other children, depending on the situation, to self-isolate and not come into school for 14 days. This is important as we want to keep people safe and minimise the risk of the virus spreading.
As soon as your child develops symptoms please make sure you inform the school and arrange a test as soon as possible, notifying the school of the result as soon as you receive it.
Please note the guidance around self-isolating.
There are two scenarios in which your child will need to self-isolate:
- If your child has been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID 19, your child will be sent home and will have to self-isolate for 14 days
- Or, if someone within their household tests positive, the whole household will need to self isolate for 14 days.
Self-isolation means your child must remain at home both during the school week and during weekends. They shouldn’t be taking part in any activities such as sport during this self-isolation period, or coming into contact with anyone outside of their home. Your child should also remain at home while taking other children within the household to school.
Your child must stay at home for 14 days. This is because it can take up to 14 days before an individual develops symptoms, or the virus can be detected. If a child has been identified as a contact, a negative test result within those 14 days does not mean they will remain virus free.
If your child or anyone within the household develops any of these three COVID-19 symptoms, please do not send them into school:
- A high temperature – this means they feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure their temperature)
- A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if they usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- A loss or change to their sense of smell or taste – this may mean that they cannot smell or taste anything, or that things smell or taste different to normal.
If your child develops symptoms, you should follow the national guidance and seek a test. They must stay at home for 10 days from when the symptoms began, unless their test result is negative. If your child is awaiting a test result, please do not send them into school. This can contribute to the spread of COVID-19.
While schools will always do their best to ensure children continue to be supported in their learning, this is clearly a disruption to your child’s education.
We have requested that all parents and carers across the county wear face coverings when dropping off and picking up their children from school.
Children’s safety is a priority and we have taken this decision to further support children’s return to education and help to reduce the spread of coronavirus while advising that existing exemptions remain in place.
We would urge all parents and carers who are able to, to implement these preventative measures, in addition to washing hands frequently and social distancing. It is vital that children are in school, that schools are supported to ensure they remain a safe environment for children and we all play a part in preventing the spread of infection.Person:Mike Sandys, Director of Public Health
How you can help:
One of the key hotspots is school drop-offs and pick-ups. We appreciate it can be difficult at times but it’s vitally important that we all do our bit in helping to keep the virus at bay. We encourage you to:
- think about your distance - maintain a two-metre gap from other people and have conversations at a distance.
- wear a face covering whilst waiting at the school gate / playground when dropping off or collecting your child. (This doesn't apply to pre-school children or anyone that is medically exempt.)
- when waiting / socialising please be mindful of standing in walkways and thoroughfares.
- try to drop-off / pick-up as quickly as you can.
- remind yourself of your school’s specific arrangements and guidance. These will be based on risk assessments, so it is really important you follow these.
Coronavirus clearly poses a risk to the health of you, your families and local communities, so we need to work together and stick to the guidance.
Risk of transmission
Risk to children
Children have a lower risk of COVID-19 compared to adults and, even when infected, they usually only develop a mild infection.
Evidence has shown that when a child is infected, this is mainly from an adult family member in the household, and not from the education setting. There is very little evidence of children being infected by school staff. Children are less likely to need to go to hospital with COVID-19, and when they do, they usually need less serious treatment than adults. In contrast, the harm to students’ mental health and their development of keeping educational settings closed is well established.
When a member of staff is infected, the transmission is more likely to be from their community, someone in their household, or from other school staff.
Transmission from children
There is good evidence that even when a child is infected, they are less likely to pass COVID-19 to:
- other children (as children have a lower risk of getting infected) and
Exam dates 2021
Young people now have more time to prepare for their exams next year, as most AS, A levels and GCSEs will be held three weeks later to help address the disruption caused by the pandemic.
The summer exam series will start on 7 June and end on 2 July for almost all AS and A levels and GCSEs.
Results days are Tuesday, 24 August for A and AS levels and Friday, 27 August for GCSEs.
Frequently asked questions
We've worked with the parent carers forum to answer some questions you might have about your child returning to school in Autumn 2020.
Parents and carers can read the following government guidance:
We are working hard to adapt how we deliver services to provide continued support and protection to our most vulnerable children. We are taking steps to find new ways of keeping in touch with children and families who are working with us and may need help at this difficult time.
If your child has a social worker you can contact them using their normal office number but be prepared for a call back as our staff prioritise calls.
If you’re a foster carer or connected carer our Fostering team will be in touch to ensure you feel supported. Our Front Door services are continuing to prioritise referrals to respond to protect children who are at immediate risk of harm.
Further school information
Your school will provide you with more information – including questions about school meals and transport.
A reminder that children who need to self-isolate for whatever reason should not be at school. Find this latest information on the NHS website about self-isolation and how long this should be.