Schools - coronavirus
If your child has a cold
We recognise that with children back in schools, bugs and illnesses may circulate, such as the common cold or smaller viral infections.
If your child has cold symptoms such as a runny nose or sore throat, but no fever, then treat it as such, but they should still attend school unless they are too poorly to do so.
If they are well enough to be at school, they should follow standard hygiene practice by washing their hands regularly and using tissues to catch coughs or sneezes, then disposing of them correctly.
Your child’s school should not refuse your child access, unless they are too unwell to be there.
When to get a test
The school should only tell you to get a COVID-19 test if your child has any of the following main symptoms:
- new, continuous cough
- high fever or temperature
- loss or change of taste or smell
COVID-19 tests are only for those people displaying one or more of the main symptoms.
How to get a test
If your child has any of these symptoms, then you should:
- get a test as soon as possible, to check if you have coronavirus
- follow the governement guidance to stay at home and do not have visitors until you get your test result (only leave your home to have a test); anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, must also stay at home until you get your result
- tell the school
For most people, COVID-19 will be a mild illness, but it’s important to follow this guidance to help stop the spread.
Don't call 111
Don't call 111 if you need a test. Find out how to get a test.
111 should be used for those who need urgent medical advice. It cannot be used to arrange coronavirus testing.
Test availability is refreshed throughout the day, if tests are not available near you, please try again later.
Pupils and adults in schools and colleges with pupils in year 7 and above, should wear face coverings when moving around the school or college outside of the classroom, for example in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot be easily managed.
What you need to know
Nurseries, childminders, schools and colleges remain open during the winter lockdown. It remains important for children and young people to continue to attend, to support their education and their wellbeing. Nurseries, childminders, schools and colleges have implemented a range of protective measures to make them as safe as possible, and advice remains that for the vast majority of children, the benefits of being back in education far outweigh the low risk from coronavirus.
If you home educate your child, you may continue to use any out-of-school activities that form part of your existing arrangements.
Visit GOV.UK to find out what you need to know about the government's guidance on returning to school.
Children who are clinically extremely vulnerable
Most children originally identified as clinically extremely vulnerable no longer need to follow original shielding advice and can continue to attend nursery, school or college in this period. You should speak to your child’s GP or specialist clinician, if you have not already done so, to understand if your child should still be classed as clinically extremely vulnerable.
If a doctor has confirmed that your child is still clinically extremely vulnerable, you are advised that they should not attend nursery, their childminder, school or college during the period of national restrictions. If this is the case for your child, you will receive a letter confirming this advice.
Children who live with individuals that are clinically extremely vulnerable or clinically vulnerable can continue to attend.
What schools will do
The health and wellbeing of pupils and staff is top priority for all schools, and they will do all they can to minimise that risk.
You should check with your school about its plans for your child returning to school. Read about protective measures that schools will be taking, on the government’s website.
Free school meals
School admission appeals
Find out how school admission appeals are affected, in light of government advice.
Latest government advice
Advice for parents and carers
You may have many questions about everything that is happening at the moment. We have put together a page of useful resources that can help you find information and advice on topics such as childcare, health and wellbeing, critical workers, school opening and transport, family information and more.