Health and safety in schools, symptoms of coronavirus and isolation

We know health and safety is a big worry for some parents and families particularly with the ongoing pandemic. We have worked closely with schools over the summer to ensure they are prepared and geared up to welcome students back in September safely. This page contains some frequently asked questions around health and safety in schools to hopefully address some of your concerns, or alternatively speak to your child's school for further, specific information.

What health and safety practices will there be in schools, will staff and pupils have/need to wear PPE?

All schools in Doncaster have submitted their own individual health and safety assessments to us as a council  and there will not be a ‘one size fits all’ approach to this. For specific details, speak to your child’s/children’s schools directly. It is the school’s responsibility to conduct and carry out the assessments and any actions arising from them.

Regular cleaning will also continue to play a vital role in limiting the transmission of coronavirus, such as reducing clutter and removing difficult to clean items can make cleaning easier, increasing the frequency of cleaning, using standard cleaning products such as detergents and bleach, paying attention to all surfaces but especially ones that are touched frequently, such as door handles, light switches, work surfaces, remote controls and electronic devices.

Public Health England are advising schools to:

  • Supervise young children to ensure they wash their hands more often than usual. They should do so thoroughly for 20 seconds with running water and soap and dry them thoroughly or use of hand sanitiser ensuring that all parts of the hands are covered;
  • Ensure that sufficient handwashing facilities are available. Where a sink is not nearby, provide hand sanitiser in classrooms and other learning environments;
  • Ensure that help is available for children and young people who have trouble cleaning their hands independently;
  • Consider how to encourage young children to learn and practise these habits through games, songs and repetition

Additionally, please see the national government guidance What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges in the autumn term

I am still concerned about sending my child/children back to school with the current pandemic, what will happen if I choose not to?

We completely understand that some parents and families may still have concerns or worries about sending their child/children back to school with the current situation. There may also be incidences of children who are still unable to return to school on medical advice due to shielding.

Our absolute priority at this moment is to work with families in Doncaster to ensure that we all feel happy and confident that our children are able to return to school safely in September. We are working very closely with schools to ensure the right health and safety procedures and equipment are in place to minimise any risk.

If you still feel unsure and are considering not sending your child/children back to school, please do contact our Attendance and Pupil Welfare Team to discuss your situation so we are able to provide you and your family with the support you need so that all children in Doncaster can return to school confidently and safely.

Families will be completely supported by the team and the child’s school to ensure a positive outcome. We feel strongly that school is the best place for our children, and we will be working with schools in order to ensure that any processes such as fines are only employed when this would be the absolute last resort for specific situations, and ultimately, families will be supported and encouraged to find a resolution for their concerns.

What do I do if my child/children show symptoms of coronavirus?

If your child/children has symptoms of coronavirus, they must self-isolate, take a test and not come to school. You must make contact with your child’s school daily and update them once your child/children has received their test results. If your child/children tests negative, they can return to school.

Additionally, please see the national government guidance What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges in the autumn term

What do I do if my child/children tests positive for coronavirus?

If your child/children test positive for coronavirus, they must self-isolate for at least 10 days and must not come to school. You must make contact with your child’s school to inform them of the positive test result and remain in contact with the school daily. Your child/children can return to school AFTER the 10-day isolation period even if they have a cough or loss of smell or taste. These symptoms can last for several weeks once the infection is gone.

Additionally, please see the national government guidance What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges in the autumn term

Should I send my child to school if somebody in my household is showing symptoms of coronavirus?

If someone in your household is showing symptoms of coronavirus, your child/children must not come to school, self-isolate and the household member should take a test as soon as possible. You must update your child/children’s school of the situation. You child/children can return to school if the household member tests negative for coronavirus

Additionally, please see the national government guidance What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges in the autumn term

Should I send my child to school if somebody in my household has tested positive for coronavirus?

If someone in your household has tested positive for Coronavirus, your child/children must not come to school, and must self-isolate for 14 days. You must update your child/children’s school of the situation and remain in contact with them on a daily basis. Your child/children can return to school once the 14-day isolation period has ended.

Additionally, please see the national government guidance What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges in the autumn term

The NHS test and trace system have identified my child as a ‘close contact’ of somebody with symptoms of, or with a confirmed case of coronavirus, what should I do?

In this instance, your child/children must not come to school and should self-isolate for 14 days. Please contact the school/s as soon as possible to notify them of this and remain in contact with them on a daily basis. Your child/children can return to school after the 14-day isolation period

We have travelled, or may travel, and my child must self-isolate as part of a period of quarantine, what should I do?

We urge you not to take any unauthorised leave during term time, however, if you plan to travel outside of this time, we would also urge you to consider the quarantine requirements and FCO advice when booking travel and provide information as per your school's attendance policy and procedure.

If you return from travel and are required to quarantine, your child/children must not come to school and should isolate for 14 days. Please update your school as soon as possible and remain in contact with them daily. Your child/children can return to school once the 14-day isolation period has ended. More information is available on the government website at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-attendance

We have received medical advice that my child/children must resume shielding, what should I do?

In this instance, your child/children must not come to school and you should contact the school as soon as possible to update them. Your child/children should shield until you are informed that restrictions are lifted and shielding procedures are paused again.

What happens if a child or staff member at a school shows symptoms or tests positive for coronavirus?

In this instance, schools are fully prepared to follow the national guidance which will mean contacting their local Health Protection team who will specific advice and instructions for that school, which the school will contact parents to advise about. More information about this is available on the government website: What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges in the autumn term

What will happen if my child needs first aid at school (such as an injury at playtime)? Will they be cared for at school?

Yes, schools have responsibility to look after children who need first aid at school.

Under the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981, employers are responsible for providing adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work. Educational settings are expected to conduct risk assessments to determine their own requirements.

The Government strongly recommends schools consult advice set out by the Health and Safety Executive on coronavirus, including:

For further information on additional first aid requirements in early years settings please read the department’s guidance on actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus outbreak

How are schools planning the cleaning of classrooms? Will every surface be disinfected after each day?

The Department for Education are advising schools to:

  • Regular cleaning plays a vital role in limiting the transmission of COVID-19.
  • Reducing clutter and removing difficult to clean items can make cleaning easier. Increase the frequency of cleaning, using standard cleaning products such as detergents and bleach, paying attention to all surfaces but especially ones that are touched frequently, such as door handles, light switches, work surfaces, remote controls and electronic devices.
  • As a minimum, frequently touched surfaces should be wiped down twice a day, and one of these should be at the at the beginning or the end of the working day. Cleaning should be more frequent depending on the number of people using the space, whether they are entering and exiting the setting and access to handwashing and hand-sanitising facilities. Cleaning of frequently touched surfaces is particularly important in bathrooms and communal kitchens.

Will there be testing in schools for children and/or staff? If so, how often?

All pupils, staff and households have access to testing if they display symptoms of coronavirus and should get tested in this scenario. From the autumn term onwards, school settings will be provided with a small number of home testing kits to help ensure that anyone who needs a test can get swift access to one. We are currently working with Department for Health and Social Care on plans for this roll-out, including how and when school settings will receive testing kits. Please see the latest government guidance on home test kits for schools and Further Education providers

Will my child be supervised when handwashing to ensure that they are doing it correctly, and is there enough soap and hand gel?

Public Health England are advising schools to:

  • Supervise young children to ensure they wash their hands more often than usual. They should do so thoroughly for 20 seconds with running water and soap and dry them thoroughly or use of hand sanitiser ensuring that all parts of the hands are covered;
  • Ensure that sufficient handwashing facilities are available. Where a sink is not nearby, provide hand sanitiser in classrooms and other learning environments;
  • Ensure that help is available for children and young people who have trouble cleaning their hands independently;
  • Consider how to encourage young children to learn and practise these habits through games, songs and repetition.

SCHOOLS AND CHILDCARE SETTINGS MAIN PAGE

Last updated: 16 October 2020 15:04:55