Support for Parents and carers (including schools and early years)

Useful information, guidance and support for Parents and Carers during covid-19.

Nurseries, childminders, schools and colleges will continue to implement the range of protective measures throughout the new term.  Schools will continue to update parents directly about how the guidance will affect them personally and how schools will be implementing any relevant changes.


Secondary School Testing

All secondary and college students will be offered twice weekly home testing. If you or your child (if they are aged over 18) do not consent, they will not be stopped from going back and will return in line with their school or college’s arrangements. Primary school children will not be regularly tested without symptoms due to low levels of transmission between younger aged children but will continue to need to come forward for tests if they have symptoms.

From the 9th of April everyone in England, including those without symptoms, will be able to take a free rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) test twice a week, you can find out more on how to access these tests via our testing page.

Frequently Asked Questions

We have pulled together some key information for parents and carers to help make sure that our schools and childcare settings remain as safe as possible. If you have any specific questions, please contact your school directly.

What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?

One or more of the following are considered a symptom of Coronavirus:

  • New continuous cough - this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if the person usually has a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • Fever (temperature of 37.8°C or higher) – the individual will also feel hot to touch on their chest or back
  • A loss or change to sense of smell or taste – this means the person has noticed they cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.

How can I tell if my child has Coronavirus or a common cold / other illness?

Children with symptoms such as a headache, sore throat, runny or sniffly nose, earache or itchy eyes, lethargy or tiredness WITHOUT any of the symptoms mentioned above should NOT BE treated as potential corona virus cases or advised to take a test.

What should we do if my child has one or more of the coronavirus symptoms?

If a child is unwell with one or more of the recognised coronavirus specific symptoms they should not leave the home, this includes going to nursery, school or college. If they are already at school when symptoms develop, they will be sent home.

If your child has any of the symptoms then it is advised that you get a coronavirus test as soon as possible.

It is important that while waiting for a test / result your entire household self-isolate to help contain any risks of spreading the virus further.

What is happening with testing in schools?

Secondary school and college students will now be invited to be tested twice a week. Primary school children will not be regularly asymptomatically tested due to low levels of transmission between younger aged children but will continue to need to come forward for tests if they have symptoms.

In addition to this, the government has confirmed twice-weekly testing using rapid lateral flow tests will be given for free to all families and households with primary, secondary school and college aged children and young people, including childcare and support bubbles, to help find more COVID-19 cases and break chains of transmission. Twice-weekly testing will also be offered to adults working in the wider school community, including bus drivers and after school club leaders. 

With about a third of individuals with coronavirus showing no symptoms and potentially spreading it without knowing, targeted, regular testing will mean more positive cases within households are found and prevented from entering schools and colleges, helping to keep educational settings safe. Rapid testing detects cases in under 30 minutes – meaning positive cases can isolate immediately. This can be the difference between children being able to stay in school, or a class being sent home due to an outbreak. It could also be the difference between a workplace having to close for a period, or being able to stay open and running.

All households with primary and secondary school and college age children, and childcare and support bubbles, will be encouraged to start regular twice-weekly testing as schools return. As with student testing, this is encouraged but not mandatory. A secondary PCR test will be required for positive lateral flow tests which are taken at home, either through at home PCR testing or at a local PCR testing site.

Getting a rapid test is quick and convenient. The expanded regular testing offer for people without symptoms will be delivered through:

Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should book a test online or by calling 119.

If my child tests positive, do the rest of the family need to self-isolate as well?

Yes. The child with symptoms and everyone who lives in your household must self-isolate at home until the results of the test are known.

What happens if the test is negative?

If the test is negative then the child, your household and support bubble no longer need to self-isolate.

What happens if the test is positive?

If the test is positive, it means coronavirus is confirmed.

Your child must now stay at home for at least 10 days from when the symptoms started. Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, must also self-isolate for 10 days from when you started self-isolating.

You must also let your child’s school know they have a confirmed case.

If my child is told to self-isolate by school do I also need to self-isolate?

No. Parents, siblings or anyone else living in the same home as well as your support bubble, do not need to self-isolate if your child is NOT showing any symptoms If during their 14 day self-isolation period your child does start to show symptoms your entire household should self-isolate immediately and you should book a test for your child.

If a member of your household is told to self-isolate this means they should not leave their home or have any visitors until the self-isolation period is over.

How am I meant to make sure my child is self-isolating if I am at work?

If your child is at an age where they cannot be left alone, you will need to speak to your employer and explain the situation. Employers are being asked to support their employees to do the right thing and they should have contingency plans in place for this situation.

It might be a good idea to speak to your employer in preparation to understand policies should your child be required to self-isolate.

If your child is older and can be left at home alone it is vital that you make sure they are sticking to the self-isolation rules while you may not be around to monitor them. It is against the law to break self-isolation and the Test and Trace team may check to ensure that no breaches are occurring.

What happens to my child’s education while they are self-isolating?

All schools have been working hard to ensure that they are set-up for remote learning in case of bubbles having to be closed. It might be worth speaking to your school to understand what they have set-up in case of children being sent home for prolonged periods of time.

Why are primary school children not being tested?

Public Health England have advised there are currently limited public health benefits attached to testing primary pupils with lateral flow devices. Primary age pupils, particularly younger children, may find the LFD testing process unpleasant and are unable to self-swab. Hence why asymptomatic testing is not being performed in Primary School Children.

If your child develops coronavirus symptoms please book a symptomatic test either online or by calling 119 and isolate until you receive the result.

Early Years

Early Years settings (including private nurseries and childminders) remain open. 

The team are on hand to provide personal support in helping to match parents and children with one of our wonderful and dedicated Ofsted registered Early Years providers. Alternatively you can use the Families Information Service childcare finder to search for an Early Years Provider at

Contact us:

Freephone: 0800 138 4568
Phone: 01302 735237

Worried about sending your child/children to school?

We know many parents may still be worried about sending their child to school with the ongoing pandemic.

We feel strongly, as do our schools, that school is the best place for our children and we have worked closely as a team with all schools in Doncaster to make them as safe as prepared as possible.

If you're still feeling anxious and would like further support, we would encourage you to contact your child's school or alternatively speak to our Attendance and Pupil Welfare Service who are on-hand to provide dedicated support for your family so that we can ensure our children are going to school in the right way for them, and that you are confident and happy about your child's safety and well being. The Attendance and Pupil Service team are available on 01302 736504 or at

Further information and updates

Where can I find out more information?

We will continue to provide updates through the council’s social media channels (below) as regularly as we can, and will be updating these frequently asked questions as we receive more information. Don’t forget to also check your child’s/children’s school website and other communications channels for updates.


Return to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) homepage

Last updated: 27 September 2021 16:29:15