Schools, colleges and early years settings to close; After schools shut their gates on Friday (20 March 2020), they will remain closed until further notice, except for children of key workers and vulnerable children, as part of the country’s ongoing response to coronavirus (COVID-19).
Information for parents and carers about the closure of schools and other educational settings following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has been published (19 March 2020).
For schools that remain open for key workers and vulnerable children, there are three main pieces of guidance to bring to your attention:
1. COVID-19: Guidance for educational settings (updated 20 March 2020). The main messages are:
- staff, young people and children should stay at home if they are unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature to avoid spreading infection to others.
- if staff, young people or children become unwell on site with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature they should be sent home
- clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces more often than usual using your standard cleaning products
- supervise young children to ensure they wash their hands for 20 seconds more often than usual with soap and water or hand sanitiser and catch coughs and sneezes in tissues
- posters and lesson plans on general hand hygiene can be found on the eBug website
2. COVID-19: Free school meals guidance (updated 20 March 2020). This guidance explains what schools should do to make sure eligible pupils have continued access to free schools meals where:
- the pupil has to stay at home because they and/or wider family members are displaying coronavirus (COVID-19) related symptoms
- the school is only open for certain groups or is closed temporarily
3. COVID-19: Stay at home guidance (updated 23 March 2020). Please read the guidance for the full list of main messages, but, the key ones are:
- If you live alone and have symptoms (new continuous cough or high fever) then you must self-isolate for 7 days from when your symptoms started
- If you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms, then ALL household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. Please read the ‘ending self-isolation and household isolation’ section of the end of the guidance, as this provides more detail
- if you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days, then use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service. If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999
4. COVID-19: Guidance on social distancing and vulnerable people (Published 20 March 2020). Please read this guidance carefully – it is about social distancing for everyone in the UK so that older people and those who are in vulnerable groups (of any age) are protected, by reducing social interaction to reduce the spread of the virus. The guidance lists the underlying health conditions, and the social distancing measures to take.
You may wish to distribute the ‘stay at home’, ‘social distancing guidance’ and 'information for parents' to staff and parents.
For all the latest information on COVID-19 please visit COVID-19 UK government response. The situation continues to develop at pace, so please check the website regularly.
The Department for Education (DfE) helpline offering guidance for anyone with education related questions on coronavirus – from early years up to universities, plus parents. Tel: 0800 046 8687 (open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm), DfE.firstname.lastname@example.org
MENCAP have produced an up-to-date ‘Easy Read’ version Coronavirus guide.
Should you have any specific questions or issues that arise, please contact your Area Schools Officer at Surrey County Council, who should be able to assist you.