COVID-19 UPDATE – DECEMBER 15th 2020
Self-isolation period reduced from 14 days to 10 days
Self-isolation is essential to reducing the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) as it breaks the chains of transmission. After reviewing the evidence, the Department for Health and Social Care is now confident that we can reduce the number of days that contacts self-isolate from 14 days to 10 days. This was set out in the UK Chief Medical Officers' statement on the self-isolation period on 11 December.
From today, the self-isolation period for close contacts of a positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) has changed from 14 to 10 days. This change applies to all those who are currently self-isolating including those who commenced self-isolation before today. This means that if you are on the 11th, 12th or 13th day of your current self-isolation period today – you can stop isolating. Any new cases identified for self-isolation will be advised to self-isolate for 10 days.
We have updated our guidance to reflect this change.
The NHS test and trace app will be updated to reflect the change on Wednesday 17 December. Anyone who is, or has been, contacted by the NHS app to self-isolate before 17 December can reduce their isolation period by 3 days. From 17 December the NHS app will tell people to self-isolate for 10 days.
Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline – holiday hours
The Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline and the PHE Advice Service (option 1) will be available over the holidays to answer any questions you have about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education settings and children’s social care. These helplines will close on the bank holidays and have shortened opening hours on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
Phone: 0800 046 8687
24 December – 8am to 4pm
25 to 28 December – Closed
29 to 30 December – 8am to 6pm
31 December – 9am to 4pm
1 January – Closed
2 to 3 January – 10am to 6pm
Until 24 December, the helpline opening hours are:
Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm
Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm
Please listen carefully to all of the available options before selecting the most appropriate option for your nursery, school, college or university.
Please select option 1 or 2 if you require specific advice on the action to take to respond to a positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your setting. This option will take you through to a dedicated team of NHS Business Services Authority advisors who will work through a risk assessment with you to identify close contacts and will inform you what action is needed based on the latest public health advice.
Please select option 3 or 4 for any other questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education settings and children’s social care.
Department for Education guidance
Department for Education guidance
Further guidance to support education providers and parents during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak can be accessed by clicking the link below:
What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
COVID-19 UPDATE – DECEMBER 2nd 2020
Once England reverts to the revised tier system after 2 December, we will continue to adhere to the DfE’s main guidance document for the full reopening of schools. Our Operational Risk Assessment and Information Pack for Parents both updated on November 26th are borne out of this guidance.
A number of revisions have been made to the main schools’ guidance document and these will take effect from 2 December:
- Face coverings - The Government is not recommending universal use of face coverings in schools. In the medium alert level, schools that teach Year 7 and above have discretion “to require face coverings for pupils, staff and visitors in indoor areas outside the classroom where social distancing cannot easily be maintained”. This becomes mandatory for schools that teach Year 7 and above in high alert or very high alert areas.
- Transport - The guidance confirms that children and young people aged 11 and over must wear a face covering when travelling on dedicated transport to secondary school.
- Attendance; self-isolating and shielding - The guidance states: “The advice for pupils who remain in the clinically extremely vulnerable group is that they should return to school from 2 December at all local restriction tiers unless they are one of the very small number of pupils or students under paediatric or NHS care (such as recent transplant or very immunosuppressed children) and have been advised specifically by their GP or clinician not to attend an education setting.” It also says: “All staff can continue to attend school in all three local restriction tiers,” although schools may wish to discuss flexibilities with clinically extremely vulnerable staff in very high alert areas, such as staggered start times to reduce travel during rush hour.
- Educational visits - Schools are still advised not to take pupils on domestic overnight visits, though this will be reviewed in February 2021 with the possibility that such visits could resume at Easter.
- Sport and physical education - Schools have the flexibility to decide how physical education, sport and physical activity will be provided whilst following the measures in their system of controls. Sports whose national governing bodies have developed guidance under the principles of the Government’s guidance on team sport - and have been approved by the Government - are permitted.