COVID19 update - 16/03/20

Today, the Department for Education and Public Health England have issued updated guidance for education settings on COVID-19.

This guidance will assist staff in addressing COVID-19 in educational settings. This includes childcare, schools, further and higher educational institutions.

Current advice remains in place: no education or children’s social care setting should close in response to a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case unless advised to do so by Public Health England.

The Chief Medical Officer has advised that the impact of closing schools on both children’s education and on the workforce would be substantial, but the benefit to public health may not be. Decisions on future advice to education or children’s social care settings will be taken based on the latest and best scientific evidence, which at this stage suggests children are a lower risk group.

What you need to know

  • staff, young people and children should stay at home if they are unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature to avoid spreading infection to others. Otherwise they should attend education or work as normal
  • if staff, young people or children become unwell on site with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature they should be sent home
  • clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces more often than usual using your standard cleaning products
  • supervise young children to ensure they wash their hands for 20 seconds more often than usual with soap and water or hand sanitiser and catch coughs and sneezes in tissues

The updated guidance can be found here:

• GOV.UK - Guidance to educational settings about COVID-19

Handwashing advice

The most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves is to wash their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and travelling on public transport.  Watch this short NHS film for guidance:

• https://youtu.be/bQCP7waTRWU

Department for Education coronavirus helpline

The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:

Phone: 0800 046 8687

Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday), 10am to 4pm (Saturday to Sunday)

Please note, we are currently experiencing high volumes of calls. We appreciate your patience at this time and apologise for any wait that you may experience. To ensure that we answer your calls as quickly as possible we have now extended our opening hours to cover weekends.

If you work in a school, please have your unique reference number (URN or UK PRN) available when calling the hotline.

Reporting absence / partial and full closures

All schools / childcare settings have received a briefing from the local authority for reporting absence and any possible cases. This information when received will be reported to the DfE / Ministers as requested.  The briefing contained links to an online form, please provide as much detail as possible and keep us updated on any changes.

If your setting hasn't received the briefing or you require the online form links again, please call 0116 454 1120 or email schools.extranet@leicester.gov.uk

Deferring Ofsted Inspections

Deferring Ofsted inspections guidance outlines Ofsted's policy for determining that an inspection of a provider should not go ahead on the planned dates.

Links to the latest information

Updated 16 March 2020