Updated 24th March 2020, 14:06. For the latest medical advice, visit NHS.uk/Coronavirus.
Schools will close from Monday 23rd March, except for children of key workers and vulnerable children.
Devon County Council and the Department of Education have been working closely together to ensure schools have the information and support they need during this testing time. Click here to learn more about how Devon County Council and Devon schools are responding to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Department for Education COVID-19 guidance for educational settings
On the 19th of March, Gavin Williamson, the Secretary of State for Education announced that from the end of Friday, the 20th schools will be closed.
- If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
- If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
- Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
- Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.
- Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to care for children wherever possible.
Full details around the closure of schools and other educational settings can be read here , this page contains the following information:
- Closures of schools, childcare and other educational settings
- Vulnerable children
- Critical workers (key workers)
- Resources and support
What jobs are regarded as critical workers (key workers)?
In order to continue to offer critical services as part of the country’s ongoing response to the virus, children of workers who form a central part of effort - such as NHS workers, police and delivery drivers - will be able to continue to attend school, college or childcare provider.
Critical workers include NHS staff, police, farmers and food retail workers, who need to be able to go out to work - the full list of those included is here .
Limiting social interaction
We're all in this together and whilst this will be a big change and a big challenge for many of our local families and the Secretary of State, has not taken this decision lightly but it has become clear that we must limit social interaction even more than we have been - to save lives by ensuring our NHS continues to have the capacity to treat the most unwell.
Children eligible for free school meals will be offered meals or vouchers as an alternative if they can no longer attend school due to coronavirus measures.
What to do if someone develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) on site
If anyone becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature in an education setting they should be sent home and advised to follow the staying at home guidance.
If a child is awaiting collection, they should be moved, if possible, to a room where they can be isolated behind a closed door. Ideally, a window should be opened for ventilation. If it is not possible to isolate them, move them to an area which is at least 2 metres away from other people.
If they need to go to the bathroom while waiting to be collected, they should use a separate bathroom if possible. The bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected using standard cleaning products before being used by anyone else.
If they need clinical advice, they (or their teacher, parent or guardian) should go online to NHS 111 (or call 111 if they don’t have internet access). In an emergency, call 999 if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk. Do not visit the GP, pharmacy, urgent care centre or a hospital.
If a member of staff has helped someone who was taken unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, they do not need to go home unless they develop symptoms themselves. They should wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after any contact with someone who is unwell.
In most cases, closure of the educational setting will not be needed but this will be a local decision based on various factors such as establishment size and risk of further spread.
If there is an urgent public health action to take, the educational setting will be contacted by the local Public Health England Health Protection Team who will undertake a risk assessment and advise on any actions or precautions that should be taken. PHE will rarely advise a school to close but this may be necessary if there are so many staff being isolated that the school has operational issues. Your local authority will support you to make this assessment. PHE will work with the headteacher, principal or management team, and the Local Authority Public Health team, to advise on the management of children, pupils, students or staff.
Limiting spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in educational settings
Education settings can help reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) by reminding everyone of the public health advice.
Staff, children, pupils, students and families should be reminded to wash their hands for 20 seconds more frequently than normal.
Frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, using your standard cleaning products. Posters, leaflets and other materials are available.
Cleaning and Waste
See guidance from the government on cleaning and waste disposal.
Tools for use in childcare and educational settings
There is a dedicated helpline number for educational settings – please call 0800 046 8687 for any specific question not covered on this page.
Public Health England has created resource materials that contain public health advice about how you can help stop the spread of viruses, like those that cause coronavirus (COVID-19), by practising good respiratory and hand hygiene. To access, download and share this information, you will need to register for an account which only takes a couple of minutes.
Use e-Bug resources to teach pupils about hygiene.
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