Coronavirus Information for Parents and Carers

We understand that the current COVID-19 situation is presenting many challenges to people. Therefore, it is important that we do our best to keep ourselves and others healthy and safe.

The Government has produced some helpful guidance for parents during this testing time and the NHS have useful information on their Every Mind Matters webpage, we hope that some of the information below is useful to you.

It can be difficult to explain to children about COVID-19 – as a parent or carer, the best thing you can do is to talk to them honestly but calmly about what is happening. Young Minds have provided some advice about what you can do if your child is worried or anxious. Young people can access information on local and national/online support to help them keep well during Coronavirus.

Remember that one of the best preventions we have is handwashing and maintaining social distancing. This is a child friendly video from the NHS about handwashing that you may wish to share with your younger children.

Family Hubs have gone online!

Take a look at the Virtual Family Hubs which are running a range of free, fun activities for families with children. They're also offering weekly weekly parenting session where you can chat with other parents about the issues faced in lockdown and share ideas on how to overcome them – this is also appropriate for parents with teenagers.

Physical Health and Mental Wellbeing

In order to support children, it is important that you look after yourself, the Government has produced this helpful guide looking after your own mental health and wellbeing. Staying physically active is a key part of looking after yourself and your children, for ideas on how to stay active, the NHS Change 4 Life page has lots of information about staying healthy and active and wellbeing tips for parents. Please look at our Online Learning and Activities page for more ways to stay active. 

When talking to children about COVID-19, remember to keep it simple and clear ensuring you only use information that is relevant to their age and ability. We have included some useful links below:

Mental Health and Staying Active - Children

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Keeping to a regular routine and having some structure to your day can with worry, anxiety or fear your children may have. Routines don’t need to be ridged or replicate a school day, but having a plan for your day, even if you don’t manage to achieve it all, can help children to cope and manage any anxiety they feel.

Winston's Wish is the UK's childhood bereavement charity; they provide support to children and their families after the death of a parent or sibling.

Doncaster's Education Psychology Service has produced a guide for parents and carers which aim to support children around any anxiety/worries they may have about coronavirus. 

Staying Active

If getting outside isn’t an option, you could schedule in some indoor exercise time. You could challenge your children to make up their own exercise routine. Make it fun with your own choice of music, or maybe even just have a dance around the living room! You can get inspiration for exercise ideas from the websites below:

  • GoNoodle has movement and mindfulness videos to keep younger children active.
  • Change 4 life has ideas for getting moving, staying active and having fun with your children while staying indoors. It also has ideas for simple healthy recipes you can make with your children.
  • Follow Active Fusion on social media for daily challenges to keep children, adults and families active at home. Active Fusion have also created a list of activities and programmes to help families keep leading an active lifestyle.
  • Disney dance-a-longs - Earlier this year This Girl Can also partnered with Disney to create fun dance routines that you can follow, including The Jungle Book's 'I Wanna Be Like You', Moana's 'You're Welcome', The Little Mermaid and more.
  • Nike - Active Kids Do Better - It can be great fun for families to get active together. Sometimes, even grown-ups need a bit of support. Check out Nike's Active Home family-friendly activities
  • BBC Super Movers - Fun curriculum-linked resources to get your kids moving while they learn
  • Premier League Primary - Activities to help pupils develop skills in everything from balance and coordination to athletics and throwing
  • Cosmic Kids Yoga - Yoga, mindfulness and relaxation designed especially for kids aged three or over. Used in schools and homes all over the world
  • Jump Start Jonny - Fun workout videos to get kids moving 
  • Tiny Happy People - Activities for babies 

Mental Health and Staying Active - Young People

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Doncaster's Education Psychology Service has produced a guide for parents and carers which aim to support young people around any anxiety/worries they may have about coronavirus. 

Staying Active

  • Change 4 life has ideas for getting moving, staying active and having fun with your children while staying indoors. It also has ideas for simple healthy recipes you can make with your children.
  • Joe Wicks has launched workout videos every day at 9am for 30 minutes to support young people and adults to keep moving and stay healthy and positive.
  • Tottenham Hotspurs @SpursOfficial have launched their new #SpursAtHome video home workouts. Every Monday for the next 5 weeks, Spurs coaches will be bringing video workouts that can be done in a living room or garden. They are available on YouTube.
  • Follow Active Fusion on social media for daily challenges to keep children, adults and families active at home. Active Fusion have also created a list of activities and programmes to help families keep leading an active lifestyle. 

Information for Parents/Carers

Mental Health and Wellbeing

  • 5 Ways to Wellbeing
  • CAMHS provide advice for parents and carers and information on support services
  • Shout is the UK’s first 24/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and you need immediate help.
  • Mental Health Foundation have a range of content designed to give you more information about mental health and to help you look after your mental health. Their website includes podcasts, videos, inspiring stories and information about getting help if you’re struggling.
  • Every Mind Matters provides simple and practical advice to help you get a healthier mind and get more out of life.
  • Turning Point provide a wide range of health and wellbeing services. Whether you have drug or alcohol issues, a mental health concern or a learning disability, they will give you the individual support you need.
  • Doncaster Samaritans are there to give support if you are struggling, you can access support by calling 116123 free from any phone or you can access their website for information and advice on many different topics.
  • If you feel you need extra help and support Mind can provide guidance on protecting your wellbeing during this stressful time. 
  • Young Minds are there to give advice and support where needed on mental issues that can arise, they have different resources but they have a Parents Helpline which parent/carers can call or email for help.
  • Relationship Matters
  • Free online parenting programme for all Doncaster parents or carers: Courses include understanding your pregnancy, understanding your baby and understanding your child and teenager. Visit then enter your Doncaster postcode and use the access code STGEORGE to gain this free support and advice.
  • Your Life: Physical and Mental Health 

It’s natural to want to keep up to date with what is happening and what you need to do to stay safe, but you may find it helpful to limit the amount of time you and your children are exposed to social media, and make sure you only look at reliable news sources.

Staying Active

Keeping Connected and Staying Safe

While you and your children are at home, it’s important that you all find time to stay in touch with your friends. For younger children, you may be able to contact other parents and arrange a ‘virtual playdate’ over a video calling service like FaceTime or Skype, giving your children a chance to see the friends they would normally be seeing at school.

Online Safety

We understand that it is likely children and young people will be spending more time online than usual at the moment. It’s important therefore that you and your child are aware of how best to keep safe online.

For other useful information, you can access the websites below:

Keeping Children Safe

If you are worried about the safety of a child during the coronavirus period, please don't hesitate to contact Doncaster Children's Services Trust (DCST) on 01302 737777. If you believe there is an immediate risk of significant harm to a child, call the police on 999. 

For further information, please visit the DCST website.

Domestic Abuse

We understand that the current COVID-19 isolation can put increased pressure on people, which can in turn lead to an increased risk of domestic abuse.

Victims of domestic abuse in South Yorkshire are now able to report incidents to South Yorkshire Police (SYP) via a dedicated online portal.

The portal is available to victims of domestic abuse who may be finding it difficult to report incidents over the phone. SYP are aware that seeking help or telling someone what’s happening over the phone may be incredibly difficult to do especially during lockdown due to concerns about being overheard, or prevented from making a call for help. The portal can be accessed via your smartphone, tablet or laptop, and gives the police information about what’s happening to you, with staff working 24/7 to monitor those reports the police will respond in the same way as they would if you had made a report over the phone.

If you are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police - the police will continue to respond to emergency calls. If you are in danger and unable to talk on the phone, call 999, and then press 55. This will transfer your call to the relevant police force who will assist you without you having to speak.

The online reporting tool can be accessed at:

The portal will also be available via the dedicated COVID-19 page on the SYP website.

Further information from Doncaster Council about domestic abuse can be found here.

You can also take a look at SafeLives' guide for victims and survivors of domestic abuse.

School and Exams

School Openings Information

All schools in Doncaster are now open to children of key workers, vulnerable children and children in the specific year groups set out by the Government*. If your child requires a school place, please contact your child's school directly to discuss this. *Some schools are still working towards a wider re-opening for Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils - please contact your child's school directly to discuss their current availability.

More information about Doncaster schools can be found here.

For all the latest guidance and advice on the schools reopening please go to information about schools reopening.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for schools and other educational settings.

What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Free School Meals

The Government has announced that low-income families whose children are eligible for free school meals will be offered vouchers, food or meals to make sure they continue receiving this support.

Please contact your child’s school for further information.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): free school meals guidance for schools.


All exams have been cancelled - instead of exams, a calculated grade process will be used taking into account a range of evidence including, non-exam assessments and mock results. The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) will develop a process to ensure that no particular groups of students are disadvantaged. Any pupils who do not feel their calculated grade reflects their performance, will have the opportunity to sit an exam, as soon as is reasonably possible after schools and colleges open again. Students will also have the option to sit their exams in summer 2021.

University representatives have already confirmed that they expect universities to be flexible and do all they can to support students to ensure they can progress to higher education.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): cancellation of GCSEs, AS and A levels in 2020.

Exam Update - July 2020

Student guide to post-16 qualification results: summer 2020 - A guide for those receiving qualification results in England this summer.

Your results, what next? - Understanding your qualifications grades this summer.

Doncaster Music Service Online Tuition

During school closures as a result of COVID-19, Doncaster Music Service are going on-line!  Our music tutors are gearing up to deliver lessons via Zoom. During a time of great stress, we feel it is important to try and retain a sense of continuity, especially regarding music progression and simple enjoyment!

We hope that giving our pupils the opportunity to receive a regular lesson with a tutor will be something to look forward to each week, and who knows, with the potential for a lot of time on their hands, we may even see some fantastic progress!

Arrangements have been made to contact all pupils who have an individual lesson with one of our tutors, where we do not have contact details, arrangements have been made to ask schools to forward the details to parents. Doncaster Music Service will email all schools of those who choose to take up the offer of fully subsidised online lessons and provide you details of the lessons that we provide. 

Should any schools have any queries with regards to the offer please do not hesitate to contact Margaret Watson, Engagement and Operations Manager –

Help and Advice

There may be times when you need someone to talk to outside of the family home. The services below can help you or give you the details of someone else who can.

Information and Updates in Doncaster

For information and updates in Doncaster, please see the below websites:

Updated Early Years and Childcare Closures Guidance

The Department for Education have updated their guidance for Ofsted-registered childcare providers for children of all ages, including childminders, nurseries and wraparound childcare and clubs (before- and after- school and holiday care).

The updates include:

  • Information on the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.
  • Clarification on whether settings are still covered by their public liability insurance.
  • A new section clarifying the expectation on early years settings remaining open over Easter for vulnerable children and children of critical workers.
  • A new section on hub provision.
  • Clarification on whether someone with a paediatric first aid certificate still needs to be on site.
  • Clarification of DBS requirements.

Family Hubs

Family Hubs are closed for with the exception of Bentley, Wheatley, Stainforth, Rossington, Mexborough where some midwives are based. Please note - you should await a telephone call from a community midwife within 24 hours of you pre-booked appointment. This will be a telephone consultation and further care will be arranged as required.

Families can make contact with the Hubs by telephone or Facebook if they need any help, advice or information.

General Information and Help

Family Lives offers a confidential and free helpline service for families in England and Wales (previously known as Parentline). For emotional support, information, advice and guidance on any aspect of parenting and family life. 

The NSPCC helpline provides help and support for parents, professionals and families. The service can be contacted by phone 0808 800 5000 or online to gain advice or share their concerns about a child, anonymously if they wish. 

The Gingerbread Single Parent helpline provides support and expert advice on anything from dealing with a break-up to going back to work or sorting out child maintenance, benefit or tax credit issues; their calls are free and confidential.

When things get heated, most people struggle to keep their cool. Research shows that drawn-out disagreements between parents can make children feel stressed and unhappy, particularly when it’s obvious to them that something is going on. Click have created a short course, which aims to support parents in practicing good communication skills.

Young carers and young adult carers: providing care during coronavirus

Department for Education Coronavirus Helpline

The Department for Education has set up a school helpline to answer questions from staff, parents and young people about coronavirus issues related to education.


South Yorkshire Passenger Transport and Operators have taken steps to keep customers and staff safe during Covid-19. They have also provided a direct link to their website which contains up to date information about current services and any disruptions.

The Traveline team is available to answer questions between 8am and 6pm seven days week to answer customer queries – Telephone 01709 515151.

More real-time information can be found on Twitter.

Financial Support

You may be worried about falling into financial difficulties during this uncertain period in time. For example, if your salary or income is reduced, you may find you don’t have enough money cover your usual outgoings.

The Government has developed guidance for employees which answers many questions and provides links to other websites that explain what you should do if you are sick, made redundant or a furloughed worker.  You may be able to get £94.25 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you are too ill to work. To find out more information visit the Statutory Sick Pay website. Alternatively, you may be able to claim Universal Credit, or the new style Employment and Support Allowance providing you meet the usual eligibility criteria. The government has provided more information to help explain What is universal credit?

You may find some other useful information at Citizens AdviceYour Life Doncaster or St. Leger Homes. You can also contact Citizens Advice Doncaster for personalised support.

If you have found budgeting difficult you may want to use Budgeting booklet 2020

These are some organisations which may be able to help if you are worried about work or benefits while your child can't attend school or childcare.
  • has written guidance on how to deal with the outbreak, including information about employment. 
  • Citizens Advice has produced a useful guide to dealing with the outbreak, including information about paying bills and going to work. 
  • Turn 2 Us has updated its benefits guidance in response to the outbreak. 
  • Working Families has produced a guide to employment rights and financial support in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. 
  • Maternity Action offers free legal advice on employment rights for pregnant and new mothers. 
  • Child Poverty Action Group provides advice and support for families living in poverty. 
  • Mental Health Foundation offers advice about dealing with changes to ways of working in the current outbreak.
  • St Peters Church in Bentley offer a debt advice service St peters
  • What sick pay and benefits you may be entitled to Money advice service 

Healthy Start 

If you are pregnant or have a child under four years old you could get Healthy Start vouchers to help buy some basic foods. This important means-tested scheme provides vouchers to spend with local retailers. Pregnant women and children over one and under four years old can get one £3.10 voucher per week. Children under one year old can get two £3.10 vouchers (£6.20) per week.’ please see below the link to the Healthy Start website with the latest information around applying. Healthy Start

Fuel Pre-Payment Meters

New emergency measures have been agreed by the government to protect the domestic energy supply of those most in need during the disruption caused by COVID-19. Customers with pre-payment meters who may not be able to add credit can speak to their supplier about options to stay supplied. This could include debt repayments and bill payments being reassessed, reduced or paused where necessary, while disconnection of credit meters will be completely suspended.

Ofgen have produced advice and answers to questions you may have on managing your energy supply during the outbreak

Expectant and New Parents 

We understand that this is a very challenging time and there are many questions that need answering maternity action have put together some useful information in relation to maternity benefits. Maternity Action

Community Midwives

From Monday 23 March 2020, please do not attend any community midwife appointments (at family hubs, children’s centres or GP surgeries).

Instead, you should await a telephone call from a community midwife within 24 hours of you pre-booked appointment. This will be a telephone consultation and further care will be arranged as required.

If you have any urgent pregnancy concerns, please call our 24 hour triage service on 01302 642711/2.

For non-urgent pregnancy related queries please contact the community midwives hub on 01302 642794 between 9am and 5pm.

Accessing Infant Formula  

There are reports that nationally parents are struggling to access infant formula. We have been made aware that retailers do have stock and supplies, however stockpiling has led to some retailers having empty shelves.

Our colleagues in public health have provided the following advice for families who may be struggling to access their usual brand/preferred product. (Information courtesy of First Steps Nutrition Trust)

  • Parents should be advised that stage 1 / first infant formula should be used for infants in the first year of life:
  • If you are unable to get your usual brand of first infant formula, don’t worry – you can use any first infant formula as all preparations have a similar nutritional composition to comply with legislation.
  • Don’t use stage 2 follow on formula for any baby under 6 months – only use first infant formula.
  • If you are using follow on formula for a baby older than 6 months and cannot access this, then use first infant formula.
  • If you are using other milks such as anti-reflux milk, comfort milk, etc. and can’t access these, then use first infant formula.
  • Always make up infant formula as per manufacturers guidance do not be tempted to add more water to make it last longer as diluting the milk could endanger your baby’s health
  • Full guidance available at Formula Milk At Food Banks 

Your local pharmacy should be able to help if you’re struggling to get hold of a particular product. To avoid unnecessary travel, if you can contact the pharmacy by phone to discuss your individual circumstances.

Breastfeeding with Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The following information is the current guidance from Public Health England (PHE).

If you are breastfeeding while infected:

There is currently no clinical evidence to suggest that the virus can be transmitted through breastmilk. Infection can be spread to the baby in the same way as to anyone in close contact with you. The benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks of transmission of the virus through breastmilk or by being in close contact with your child, however, this will be an individual decision and can be discussed with your midwife, health visitor or GP by telephone. If you wish to breastfeed, take precautions to limit the potential spread of COVID-19 to the baby by:

  • washing your hands before touching the baby, breast pump or bottles
  • avoiding coughing or sneezing on the baby while feeding at the breast
  • cleaning any breast pump as recommended by the manufacturer after each use
  • considering asking someone who is well to feed your expressed breastmilk to the baby

If you are feeding with formula or expressed milk, sterilise the equipment carefully before each use. You should not share bottles or a breast pump with someone else.

Further information can be found below:

Infant feeding during the COVID-19 outbreak

Coronavirus infection and pregnancy

Call: 01302 737260



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Last updated: 29 July 2020 15:16:29