Advice on the coronavirus for places of education

16th March 2020


As of late on Monday 16th March 2020, we have moved into the next phase of how we look to protect people in the UK from COVID-19 within the “delay” phase of the COVID-19 action plan, which can be found here.

A press conference was held by the Prime Minister, and the Chief Scientific and Medical Officers on 16th March 2020, who set out the new enhanced approach and reasons for it. Please see here to watch the press conference in full.

There were 4 new actions identified as part of the new approach, which may be required for some weeks:

  1. Whole household isolation if someone in the household develops COVID-19 symptoms (see below section on Household isolation)
  2. Stopping all unnecessary social contact with others and unnecessary travel - this advice is particularly important for people with certain health conditions, people over the age of 70 and pregnant women (see below section on Social distancing advice)
  3. Those with the most serious health conditions will be contacted directly on Monday 23rd March about further restrictions, likely to be put in place for around 12 weeks
  4. Advice against mass gatherings, as part of reducing social contact, but also ensuring critical workers can be used instead to support COVID-19 work.
Household isolation

Detailed information and advice for the public about what they, and their family contacts, should do can be found here on the NHS.uk website (and will be regularly updated). There is some very important detail in the Stay at Home guidance, including at what point people are able to come out of self-isolation, which can be found here

People do not need to phone NHS111 if their symptoms are mild but should do if their symptoms worsen/if they need medical care, or if symptoms do not get better after 7 days.  There is also a 111 online service that people are being asked to use in the first instance. Please call 999 in an emergency

Social distancing advice

Information for the public, and particularly for people aged over 70, people with certain health conditions and pregnant women can be found here

Washing hands regularly with soap and water is one of the best way we can prevent spread of the infection.

13th March 2020


As of today (13th March 2020), we are moving into a new phase of how we look to protect people in the UK from COVID-19, and are moving into the “delay” phase of the COVID-19 action plan, which can be found here.

A press conference was held by the Prime Minister, and the Chief Scientific and Medical Officers yesterday, who set out the new approach and reasons for it. Please see here to watch the press conference in full

People are now being asked to stay at home for 7 days if they have either:

  • a high temperature
  • a new continuous cough

Detailed information and advice for the public about what they should do can be found here on the NHS.uk website (and will be regularly updated). There is some new Stay at Home guidance, which can be found here

People do not need to phone NHS111 if their symptoms are mild but should do if their symptoms worsen/if they need medical care, or if symptoms do not get better after 7 days.  There is also a 111 online service that people are being asked to use in the first instance

Washing hands regularly with soap and water is one of the best way we can prevent spread of the infection.

There will no longer be a focus on where someone has travelled from/to, and the advice is based on symptoms only. Testing will now be based in hospitals only, and people in the community will not be tested. Asking whole households to stay at home is not advised at this stage, but may be advised later.

Further information for the public about the situation can be found here and a dashboard showing confirmed cases can be found here

Department of Education have a helpline up and running to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education:

Phone: 0800 046 8687
Email: DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)

It is extremely important, as the national situation evolves, that we think about how we can best support the mental health and wellbeing of people affected by the outbreak – individuals, families, workplaces, schools, as well as people who are working hard to protect the health of our communities. The Mental Health foundation has some good advice here. Also, following simple advice about washing our hands more regularly with soap and water really can make a difference.

Useful guidance, resources and communications materials

A helpful list of all national guidance has also been published here, and this contains guidance for a range of partners/sectors, including guidance for educational settings, adult social care settings (including guidance about returning health and care workers), the transport sector, guidance for employers and businesses as well as advice for professionals advising the public and NHS guidance. Please note that these guidance documents are in the process of being updated to reflect the new key advice described above

PHE have produced a “Finding the Evidence” collection of resources - here

Information about 5 things we can all do to protect ourselves and our community can be found here

A national handwashing poster can be found here

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has worked with Future Learn to develop a new free to access online learning programme on COVID-19

Imperial College London have just opened up a new online COVID course,

Department for Education Coronavirus helpline

Today, we have launched a new helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education. Staff, parents and young people can contact the helpline as follows:
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Email: DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)

No school should close in response to a suspected (or confirmed) COVID-19 case unless directed to do so by Public Health England.

Travel advice

Travel advice is changing regularly as the situation changes internationally. We recommend that you look up country-specific information and advice on the Foreign Office website here.

Information about Coronavirus

As you undoubtably will be aware, the government is closely monitoring the spread of the Coronavirus and is taking action at home and abroad.

The overall risk of Coronavirus to the UK remains moderate. However we understand that people may be concerned where there are children, students or staff returning from Half term holidays and/or school trips abroad.

Please see below an update from the Chief Medical Officer for England for travellers returning to the UK from specific areas affected by COVID-19:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-specified-countries-and-areas/covid-19-specified-countries-and-areas-with-implications-for-returning-travellers-or-visitors-arriving-in-the-uk

The link below provides the latest information from the government website.
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public

NHS advice
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

New information about 5 things we can all do to protect ourselves and our community can be found here:
https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/03/04/coronavirus-covid-19-5-things-you-can-do-to-protect-yourself-and-your-community/

Blog - what you need to know
https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/

Advice for parents/guardians

You should not be unduly worried about the possibility of your children catching the Coronavirus

There is no reason why your children should not continue to attend their early years, school or further education setting as normal.

What action you can take?

A UK wide campaign has been launched to provide clear advice on how to slow the spread of Coronavirus.

Please help to support the campaign which promotes basic hygiene practices, such as regularly washing hands and always sneezing into a tissue, to stem the spread of viruses. This information is highlighted in a useful poster:

http://briefing.safeguardinginschools.co.uk/lt.php?s=bdcfad68ba2a912d4f85715dda9281a2&i=97A131A5A1113

COVID-19: guidance for educational settings

Self Isolation Guidance