Coronavirus (COVID-19): latest information and advice
We are continually monitoring and keeping up to date with the latest information and advice from the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England in relation to Coronavirus.
Latest government advice and information can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19 including information about what to do if you have symptoms, live with someone who has symptoms along with information about the NHS Test and Trace Service.
Parents/Carers should contact https://111.nhs.uk/COVID-19 or call 111 if at any point symptoms get worse.
The weblink to order a home test kit or book an appointment at a test site is https://self-referral.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/antigen/name
Department of Education Advice
The DFE have advised that settings should consider extra action if a number of positive cases substantially increases. This is because it could indicate transmission is happening in the setting. The thresholds, detailed below, are used by settings as an indication for when to seek public health advice.
For most education and childcare settings, this means, extra action should be taken when, whichever of these thresholds is reached first:
- 5 children, pupils, students or staff, who are likely to have mixed closely, test positive for COVID-19 within a 10-day period
- 10% of children, pupils, students or staff who are likely to have mixed closely test positive for COVID-19 within a 10-day period
Identifying a group that is likely to have mixed closely will be different for each setting. For schools, the DFE has shared that a group that has mixed closely could include:
- a form group or subject class
- a friendship group mixing at breaktimes
- a sports team
- a group in an after-school activity
Latest DFE Advice about actions to consider once a threshold is reached
At the point of reaching a threshold, education and childcare settings have been asked to review and reinforce the testing, hygiene and ventilation measures they already have in place.
Settings should also consider:
- whether any activities could take place outdoors, including exercise, assemblies, or classes
- ways to improve ventilation indoors, where this would not significantly impact thermal comfort
- one-off enhanced cleaning focussing on touch points and any shared equipment
A director of public health or an HPT may give settings advice reflecting the local situation. In areas where rates are high, this may include advice that local circumstances mean that the thresholds for extra action can be higher than set out above. They might advise settings to take other measures.
Additional action that could be advised by public health experts
If the DFE or director of public health (DsPH) or a health protection team (HPT) subsequently judges that additional action should be taken because they have assessed that transmission is likely to be occurring in the setting, they may advise settings take extra measures such as:
strengthened communications to encourage pupils and students to undertake twice weekly rapid asymptomatic home testing and reporting
temporarily reinstating face coverings for staff and visitors in indoor or communal spaces in primary, early years, out-of-school, and specialist settings - this should be for 2 weeks in the first instance, pending regular review
increased frequency of testing
They may also recommend actions or other proportionate measures to support continuing face-to-face education.
In extreme cases, and as a last resort where all other risk mitigations have not broken chains of in-school transmission, a DPH may advise introducing short-term attendance restrictions in a setting, such as sending home a class or year group (as they could for any workplace experiencing a serious infectious disease outbreak).