Last Updated 10:41am, 8 April 2021
The Public Health England South West Health Protection Team (PHE SW HPT) has provided the following guidance about the management of COVID-19 for childcare and educational settings.
Prevent the spread of infection by maintaining high standards of hygiene, including hand washing and regular cleaning and disinfection of surfaces. This will help prevent COVID-19, as well as other infectious diseases, spreading in schools. If you have any infection control concerns or questions please call the Department for Education (DfE) advice line on 0800 046 8687.
You should only call the HPT on 0300 303 8162 if advised to do so by the DfE advice line, or if you meet the criteria in the guidance below. The HPT do not need to be notified unless you meet the criteria.
Guidance about what all schools will need to do during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is available on the government website. The action card for your setting can be found on the Public Health England website.
For information about testing, please visit the NHS website or call 119.
Possible case in child or staff member
- Only contact the DfE if you need support. Reasons for support may be:
- The possible case has been admitted to hospital
- The possible case can’t or won’t get tested.
- If the possible case is in a household or an enduring contact of a confirmed case, seek advice from the DfE or your local authority.
- Ensure the case isolates for 10 days, arranges a PCR test and informs you of the result. The household (and support/childcare bubble) of the case also needs to isolate for 10 days. Othee close contacts (e.g. classroom contacts) do not need to isolate for a possible case.
- Clean and disinfect rooms the suspected case was using – ensure appropriate PPE are used (see cleaning section below).
- No further action is needed until the test result is known.
- If the test is negative, the case can return once well and their household can stop self-isolating and carry on as normal.
- If the test is positive, please follow the confirmed case process below.
Confirmed case in child or staff member
- Follow the relevant action card for your setting and base your actions on the DfE schools guidance.
- If you need advice or support, contact the DfE advice line on 0800 046 8687. Only call the HPT if you have been advised to by the DfE.
- Ensure the case isolates for 10 days. The household (and support/childcare bubble) of the case also need to isolate for 10 days.
- If the confirmed case has not been in the setting during the infectious period (2 days before symptoms to 10 days after) then no further action needs to be taken by the school.
- Identify close contacts and self-isolate for 10 days from last contact with case. Households of contacts do not need to isolate.
- If a positive test came from an lateral flow device (LFD) test (taken at home or in school), case should take a follow up PCR within 48 hours of the LFD.
- If the follow up PCR is negative and the case has no symptoms, case and contacts can stop isolating.
- Clean and disinfect rooms that the case was using – ensure appropriate PPE are used (see cleaning section below).
- Cases and contacts can return once the isolation period is completed
Two or more confirmed cases in the same group or class
- Follow the relevant action card for your setting and online guidance. The Local Authority teams can provide support as well as the HPT IF you need it.
- Ensure the cases isolate for 10 days. The households (and support/childcare bubble) of the cases also need to isolate for 10 days.
- Identify close contacts and self-isolate for 10 days from last contact with case. Household of contacts do not need to isolate.
- Clean and disinfect affected rooms and areas – ensure appropriate PPE are used (see cleaning section below). Please refer to the cleaning guidance available on the government website.
- Contact PHE SW HPT on 0300 303 8162 if:
- The number of cases exceeds five within 14 days.
- You’ve taken all the action outlined but are still seeing more cases in the setting.
- You think you may need to close due to numbers affected.
- Someone in setting has been admitted to hospital.
- You are getting significant media interest.
As of 18 May 2020, a COVID-19 case definition is as follows:
- A high temperature
- A new, continuous cough
- A loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste
The infectious period is defined as the two days before the onset of symptoms to 10 days after onset. If the case has no symptoms but a positive test, it is two days prior to test.
A possible case is defined as child or staff member with a new continuous cough and/or high temperature and/or loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia) prior to PCR testing.
A confirmed case is defined as PCR or LFD positive case with or without symptoms.
You should seek a follow up PCR test following an LFD positive test at home or at an assisted site. Case, household and contacts identified in the setting should isolate while waiting for the PCR result. If the PCR is negative, and the case remains symptom free, case and contacts can stop isolating.
Please note, if any staff or pupils develop COVID-19 symptoms always seek a PCR test. LFD tests should not be used on people with symptoms.
Cleaning and waste
Please refer to the cleaning in non-healthcare settings outside the home guidance available on the government website.
Enhanced cleaning should already be in place.
Following a suspected or confirmed case in the setting:
- PPE should be worn for cleaning – minimum gloves and disposable apron. Consider using face mask and eye protection if risk is high – for example, when cleaning areas where there are visible bodily fluids.
- Clean public areas, such as corridors, as normal.
- Surfaces that could be contaminated need cleaning and disinfection.
- All frequently touched surfaces (door handles, taps, table tops, keyboards etc.) should also be cleaned and disinfected.
- Use disposable cloths or paper roll, disposable mop heads to clean hard surfaces (e.g. floors, sanitary fittings, chairs, tables)
- Use a combined detergent and disinfectant or use a two-stage cleaning process of detergent (household-type cleaner) followed by a hypochlorite solution (1,000ppm) – for example, diluted Milton sterilising fluid (please check that the chemicals in use are effective against enveloped viruses).
- Avoid splashes and spray when cleaning where possible.
- Any COVID-19 related waste should be double-bagged and stored for 72 hours before usual disposal.
Five key principles
- Stay at home if ill
- Wash your hands and catch your coughs!
- Clean! Clean! Clean!
- Reduce mixing and maximise distance
- Engage with Test and Trace