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Early years settings, schools and colleges have now welcomed back all year groups and are working hard to look after the health and emotional wellbeing of children and young people as they settle back into the school routine.

We have brought together helpful information, advice and support for families as we all get used to being back at school with new coronavirus safety measures.

On this page you’ll find:

You can also visit your school’s own website or social media pages for more detailed information about how they are keeping the school and pupils as safe as possible.

How schools are operating

Safety measures

Schools have worked hard to ensure they have coronavirus safety measures in place that are in line with national and local guidelines. Exact safety measures will vary for each setting but all schools will have in place strict cleaning routines and will be encouraging regular handwashing.

Most schools are also using ‘bubbles’ to group children, sometimes in class or year groups. Bubbles reduce contact between pupils throughout the school and limit, as much as possible, the number of pupils that need to stay at home in the event of a confirmed case of coronavirus.

In the event of an outbreak within the local community, schools will follow local guidelines and our local outbreak plan.

Speak to your school or visit their website if you have any questions at all about your school’s specific safety measures. It is crucial that staff, pupils, parents and carers all work together to create a safe and enjoyable environment within the school.

Support for pupils

If you’re worried that your child isn’t coping with being back in school, please contact the school. Your school will be able to talk about the steps it’s taking to resettle all pupils and how they can help your child individually. Specific support is also available for any pupils who may have lost a loved one during the pandemic or experienced difficulties over the past few months.

Supporting vulnerable children

Vulnerable children and pupils with special educational needs or underlying health conditions shouldn’t feel excluded from being in school. Your school can work with you to create an individual ‘Welcome Back Plan’ for your child that meets their specific needs and addresses any worries or concerns you may have.

Tips for settling in at school

Being in school is extremely important for the wellbeing of children and young people, as well as crucial to their education. We’ve already seen that children have returned eagerly this September and have settled very quickly. These tips are designed to help you and your children feel confident about settling back into school:

  • Talk to your child about what they enjoy about school. For example, seeing their friends, the playground, or their favourite subjects
  • Chat about what school is like now and what safety measures are in place. Some schools will have videos or pictures of the classrooms online that you could look at together
  • Listen to any concerns your children may have and let them know its ok to feel anxious. Address any misinformation they have and encourage them to ask questions
  • Let them know that teachers and staff are there to support them and answer their questions. Teachers are focusing on helping them feel settled, safe and happy above all else
  • Talk to your children when you feel calm as they’ll pick up on adults’ anxieties. It’s ok not to have all the answers yourself but remember local support and information is available if you want it.

Tips for helping to keep schools as safe as possible

  • Get to know the safety measures in place at your early years setting, school or college and talk about them with your child(ren)
  • Follow the school’s coronavirus safety procedures during drop of and pick up times
  • Remember the rule of six and try not to gather in groups at the school gates
  • Keep 2m apart from other adults and children in and around school if you can
  • Some schools have staggered start and finishing times, so arrive on time if you are dropping off or picking up your child(ren) to help social distancing
  • If you/your child is travelling to school by public transport make sure everyone over 11 is wearing a face covering
  • Find out in advance what you need to do if your child or someone in your household has coronavirus symptoms (information below)
  • Encourage your family to follow national coronavirus safely measures at home and in the community e.g. regular handwashing, wearing face coverings when you need to, and social distancing
  • Speak to the school if you have any questions about their safety measures and what you and your family needs to do.

Travelling to school

The government recommends that children walk and cycle to school. Where this is not possible, use public transport or drive. Travelling actively to school (walking, cycling or scooting) helps to improve and maintain children’s physical health as well as their mental wellbeing.

Possible coronavirus symptoms - step-by-step guide for families and schools

We have prepared a simple step-by-step guide to show what schools and families should do in the event of someone within a school, college or early years setting developing possible symptoms of coronavirus.

Guide to coronavirus-related absence from school

The guide below will show you when your children should be in school or when they should stay at home and what steps you need to take next:

What to do if…Action neededReturn to school when…
A child has coronavirus symptoms: i.e. high temperature, continuous cough, or loss of taste and smellDo not come to school

Inform the school

Self isolate the whole household

Get a test

Inform the school immediately about the test result

Visit the NHS website for more information

…the test comes back negative, or a period of 10 days has passed since the symptoms started, and the child feels well
A child tests positive for coronavirusDo not come to school

Inform the school

Agree and earliest date for possible return (10 days minimum)

Self-isolate the whole household and follow self-isolation guidelines

... 10 days have passed since symptoms began (even if they still have a cough or loss of taste/smell as these symptoms can last for several weeks), and the child feels well
A child tests negativeInform the school

Discuss when the child can come back (same day/next day)

... the test comes back negative
A child is ill with symptoms not linked to coronavirus: e.g. sore throat, earache, stomach ache, runny nose, skin rashes, or norovirus wuth vomitting and diarrhoea Check online health condition advice - is my child too ill to go to school

Refer to the school's attendance policy

... when it is safe to do so in line with medical advice via is my child too ill to go to school and the school's attendance policy
Someone in a household has coronavirus symptomsDo not come to school

Inform the school

Self isolate the whole household Household member to get a test

Inform school immediately about test result

Visit the NHS website for more information

... the test comes back negative or after the correct period of isolation
Someone in a household tests positive for coronavirusDo not come to school

Inform the school

Agree and earliest date for possible return (14 days minimum)

Self-isolate the whole household and follow self-isolation guidelines

... the child has completed 14 days of isolation
NHS Test and Trace has identified a child as a close contact of somebody with symptoms or confirmed coronavirusDo not come to school

Inform the school

Agree the earliest date possible for return (14 days minimum)

Visit NHS Test and Trace page for more information.

... the child has completed 14 days of isolation
NHS Test and Trace has identified a household member (other than a child) as a close contact of somebody with symptoms or confirmed coronavirusThe household member must self-isolate for 14 days

Child can continue to attend school

Visit NHS Test and Trace page for more information

... child can continue to attend school
A sibling attending another school has been sent home to self-isolate due to their being a positive case in their schoolSibling must self isolate for 14 days and follow self-isolation guidelines

Child(ren) at your school can continue to attend

... child can continue to attend school
A child has travelled abroad from a country or territory that is not on the exempt list of countriesIf returning from a destination where quarantine is needed*:

Minimum of 14 days self-isolation for all those who travelled

Inform the school and agree an earliest date for possible return to school

Self-isolate the whole household

* Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) for up to date travel information

... the quarantine period of 14 days has been completed
A child has travelled abroad from a country or territory that is on the exempt list of countriesIf returning from a destination where quarantine is not needed:

Check the current exempt countries and territories list to confirm the country is on the exempt list

Inform the school on return to the UK and agree a return date

...school is happy that the country is on the exempt list and there are no symptoms of coronavirus
A household member has travelled from a country that requires quarantine (but a child didn’t travel)As long as the household member has not had symptoms in the last 14 days, the child can continue to attend school

The person who has travelled must not leave the house, including to do pick-ups and drop offs

Follow the guidelines for travelling to the UK

... child can continue to attend school
Family has received medical advice that a child must resume shieldingDo not come to school

Inform the school

Shield until restrictions are lifted and shielding is paused again

... restrictions have been lifted or medical Saveadvice has been received that the child may return to school
A child’s bubble is closed due to a coronavirus outbreak in school Do not come to school

That child will need to self-isolate for 14 days and follow self-isolation guidelines

Other siblings may continue to attend school

... once the bubble is reopened
I am unable to get a test for someone in the household who has symptoms If you are not able to get a test in the first 5 days of having symptoms:

Do not come to school

The child and anyone they live with must stay at home and self-isolate for 14 days Anyone in the support bubble must also stay at home

... the child has completed 14 days of isolation

The latest NHS information and advice about coronavirus can be found on the NHS website .

More information on actions for schools can be found on the government website .

Helpful information and support

Where to go for medical advice and treatment:

ServiceWhen to useHow to contact
School nursing and health visiting teamsFor confidential information and advice for families and young people with health and mental health related questionsvisit Solent Pulse

text 07491163276 (school nursing)

text 07491163275 (health visiting)

NHS onlineFor symptom checking or if a child is unwell with symptoms not related to coronavirus, such as sore throat, earache, stomach ache, runny nose, skin rashes, or a winter related illness such as norovirus with vomiting and diarrhoeaNHS website: is my child too ill to go to school

NHS app

Local pharmacyClinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses. Many pharmacies are open until late and at weekendsvisit their website walk-in service
GPFor non-urgent care if you are unable to get the support you need via the services above visit their website

NHS app

call them

Coronavirus testingIf someone has coronavirus symptoms or has been asked to get tested visit website

call 119

NHS 111For urgent medical help call 111

An advisor will direct to the most appropriate service and can book a slot at the Emergency Department (A&E) if needed. NHS 111 is for people aged 5 and over

call 111

111.nhs.uk www.porthosp.nhs.uk/nhs111

Emergency Department (A&E)For life-threatening emergencies only or by appointment after calling 111call 111

go direct if life-threatening

999 For life-threatening emergencies Call 999

Here are some helpful sources of information and places you can find support as your family prepares for school: