Latest Updates re Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance from Public Health England and the DfE
Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline: The Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline is available to answer questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline by calling: 0800 046 8687. From 4 January 2021 the helpline opening hours are:
Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm
Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm
Bank holiday opening hours: Monday 31 May from 10am to 4pm
**Updated guidance 5th July**
The Prime Minister’s announcement on Step 4 of the roadmap
On Monday 5th July the Prime Minister set out details of the final roadmap step (Step 4) as we transition out of lockdown. Subject to a final review of the data next week, legal restrictions will end on Monday 19 July.
When England moves to Step 4 of the roadmap, the government will continue to manage the risk of serious illness from the spread of the virus. This will mark a new phase in the government’s response to the pandemic, moving away from stringent restrictions on everyone’s day-to-day lives, towards advising people on how to protect themselves and others, alongside targeted interventions to reduce risk. More detailed information on how the government will do this is set out in COVID-19 Response: Summer 2021.
The importance of testing and reporting in schools and colleges:
Testing continues to play a crucial role, in and out of classrooms, in our fight against COVID-19.
Reporting test results can be done simply and quickly, from mobiles, online or by phone, and should be completed straightaway. Reporting not only supports contact tracing in the event of a positive case but also assists our understanding of community rates of infection.
To help in communicating the importance of testing and reporting, we have produced a blog on why reporting your test result is as important as taking a test, featuring further guidance and common questions. This also includes details on financial support available to parents whose children are asked to self-isolate after contact with a positive case.
COVID-19 variant – information for education settings
On Friday 14 May the Prime Minister announced that we have seen further clusters of the new COVID-19 variant (B.1.617.2), especially in some areas of England and set out the measures needed to tackle this new Variant of Concern. The Contingency Framework for Education and Childcare sets out the principles to apply and ease measures necessary to contain the virus in local areas and we are working closely with local authorities in the areas affected by the new variant. There is further guidance available for anyone living in one of the areas affected by the new variant. Given the increased risk of transmitting COVID-19 in areas where the new variant is spreading fastest, everyone is advised to take particular caution when meeting anyone outside your household or support bubble in these areas. This will keep yourself and others safe. In particular, wherever possible, you should try to:
**Updated guidance 11th May**
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Roadmap – guidance for education settings
On Monday 10th May the Prime Minister announced that the country will move to Step 3 of the roadmap on Monday 17 May.
Please see the guidance on the COVID-19 response – Spring 2021 (Roadmap) for additional information.
**Updated guidance Monday 17th March 2021**
The DfE have updated guidance on what parents need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during COVID-19. The guidance now includes information on returning to boarding school from overseas, including arrangements for pupils to quarantine on arrival in the UK. It also provides additional information to support parents considering elective home education for their child.
The DfE have also published a collection of guidance providing information for parents and carers of children attending early years settings, schools and colleges during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
This collection brings together information and guidance for parents on:
**Updated guidance Monday 15th March 2021**
The DfE have updated guidance for parents and carers of children attending out-of-school settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak to include a section on asymptomatic coronavirus (COVID-19) testing. This section provides information on how members of a household, childcare or support bubble of a primary or secondary-age pupil or college student can access twice-weekly testing.
**Updated guidance Monday 8th March 2021**
Pupils and students return to school and college from today Monday 8 March:
- pupils and students in all schools and further education settings return to face-to-face education
- wraparound childcare can reopen and other children’s activities can restart only where it is needed to enable parents to work, attend education, seek medical care or attend a support group. Vulnerable children can attend childcare and other children’s activities in all circumstances
- students on practical higher education courses at English universities who have not already returned and would be unable to complete their courses if they did not return to take part in practical teaching, access specialist facilities or complete assessments will be able to return
'Hands, Face, Space' Campaign
A new public information campaign has been launched ahead of winter to highlight how everyone can help to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). In September the Prime Minister launched the ‘Hands, Face, Space’ campaign urging the public to continue to wash their hands, cover their face and make space to control infection rates and avoid a second peak.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an easy virus to kill when it is on skin. It is essential that everyone washes their hands more often, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Launch of the #backtoschoolsafely campaign:
The DfE have launched the #backtoschoolsafely campaign to reassure parents and students that schools and colleges are ready for their return in September. This is part of the Government’s wider Stay Alert campaign. You will see newspaper and billboard advertising from 18th August, with radio and digital adverts from Monday 24 August, which will run until early September, alongside wider engagement with the teaching profession and local communities. The latest statistics from the Office for National Statistics show there is growing confidence among parents that their children will return to school in September, testament to the hard work of school staff. Parents are encouraged to visit gov.uk/backtoschool for information and practical guidance to help them plan for their children’s return to school.