Since March 2022, there have no longer been specific rules relating to Covid-19 in schools, colleges, childcare and other education settings.
Schools have been advised to treat Covid-19 like other respiratory infections such as flu and should still be encouraging their pupils to follow basic hygiene precautions.
The full guidance is available on the Department for Education website - https://educationhub.blog.gov.uk/2023/09/27/what-are-the-latest-rules-around-covid-19-in-schools-colleges-nurseries-and-other-education-settings/
To help to refer to, here are some common questions and answers.
What are the symptoms of Covid-19?
- High Temperature
- Loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
- Shortness of breath
- Aching body
- Sore throat
- Blocked or runny nose
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling sick or being sick
- New continuous cough
The symptoms of Covid-19 are similar to illnesses such as influenza and norovirus, and it can be hard to distinguish the differences between these.
Can a child go to school if they have Covid-19 or Covid-19 symptoms?
No, a child shouldn’t attend school with Covid-19 or Covid-19 symptoms. Children and young people who are unwell and have a high temperature or who have tested positive for Covid-19 are advised to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for three days. The day of the test being day 0.
After three days if they feel well and don’t have a temperature they can return to school. If they are still unwell they should wait until they feel better and their temperature has returned to normal.
What happens if a teacher or staff member gets Covid-19?
Teachers are advised to follow the standard guidelines for adults and stay at home and avoid contact for at least five days. The day the test is taken will be counted as day 0. Schools don’t have to inform parents of Covid cases.
Does a child still need to be tested for Covid-19 if they show symptoms?
No, they don’t. Free tests are now only offered to people at risk of developing serious illness from Covid-19. This applies to adults and children. It is not recommended that children and young people are tested for Covid-19 unless directed to by a health professional.
If a parent or carer tests positive for Covid-19, can the child go to school?
Yes, the child can and should. It is only the person who has Covid-19 who is advised to stay at home, not their children or other family members.
What measures are schools still taking to prevent the spread of Covid-19?
The best protection is vaccination and all eligible pupils are encouraged to take up vaccination programmes for Covid-19 and flu. Masks are no longer recommended in schools, but the following hygiene measures are still in place:
- encouraging basic hygiene measures such as regular hand washing and cleaning
- encouraging children to cover their mouths when coughing and sneezing
- ensuring that spaces are well-ventilated and that fresh air is let in regularly
Again, to remind you, this and other guidance is available on the Department for Education website - https://educationhub.blog.gov.uk/2023/09/27/what-are-the-latest-rules-around-covid-19-in-schools-colleges-nurseries-and-other-education-settings/
Any major change to the guidance from the Department for Education will be issued by the school to its community.