Coronavirus Update – 23rd September 2020

Further coronavirus (COVID-19) measures announced by the Prime Minister

Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced further national measures to address the rising cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in England. These measures will begin to come into force from Thursday onwards. It is vital that children and young people continue to receive an education, therefore, schools, colleges and universities will remain open.

Full details of the new measures and when they come into force can be found in the guidance on what has changed: 22 September. We are reviewing our guidance, in particular on the rule of six, to understand where further clarity is needed on how it applies in education settings, such as group indoor sports in further education colleges and universities.


Guidance on the use of the NHS COVID-19 app in schools and further education colleges

On 24 September, NHS Test and Trace will launch the NHS COVID-19 app to help control the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). It will do this by alerting people who may have been exposed to infection so that they can take action.

The app will be available to download for anyone aged 16 and over. This means that some students in year 11, students in years 12, 13 and in further education colleges will be eligible to use the app and benefit from its features.

We have published guidance for school and college leaders and staff on the use of the NHS COVID-19 app in schools and further education colleges. This guidance provides information on how the app works and sets out actions required to use it within schools and further education colleges in England.


Guidance on ordering additional coronavirus (COVID-19) testing kits

Anyone who experiences any coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms should get a coronavirus (COVID-19) test at a testing site or at home. This includes all pupils, teachers, and staff. All schools and further education providers have been provided with an initial supply of 10 test kits to complement these main access routes.

These test kits should only be used in the exceptional circumstance that an individual becomes symptomatic and you believe they may have barriers to accessing testing elsewhere. Access to these tests will help symptomatic staff who test negative, and are not close contacts of confirmed cases, to get back to work as soon as they feel well enough.

Schools and further education providers should order additional test kits if they have run out, or are running out, of test kits. Additional test kits can be ordered online and will be supplied in boxes of 10, with one box provided per 1,000 pupils or students. You will be able to make a new order for test kits 21 days after you receive a delivery confirmation email telling you that your previous supply of test kits has been sent.

Further information on how to order test kits can be found in the guidance on test kits for schools and further education providers.


Updated guidance for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

We have updated our guidance for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak to include information on the use and disposal of face coverings, the safety measures required during visits from parents, external professionals and non-staff members, and guidance on the use of private and public outdoor spaces.

We have also provided information on the re-establishment of supervised toothbrushing programmes and supporting staff and children’s wellbeing.

Full details of the changes that have been made are listed at the start of the guidance for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The information below hasn’t changed since our last update.


Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline opening hours

The Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline remains available to answer questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education and children’s social care. Please listen carefully to the available options and select the most appropriate to your nursery, school, or college’s current situation.

Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline by calling:

Phone: 0800 046 8687

Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm
Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm


Advice service for nurseries, schools and colleges to respond to a positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Public Health England (PHE) has introduced a new dedicated advice service, delivered by NHS Business Services Authority, for nurseries, schools and colleges. The service is for those needing support on the action they should take when they have been informed of a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in their setting (i.e. a pupil or staff member testing positive).

It can be reached by calling the Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline on 0800 046 8687 and selecting option 1. 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. Advisors will be responsible for referring more complex cases to the PHE regional health protection team, as necessary, following a triaging of your circumstances during the call.

Phone: 0800 046 8687 – option 1

Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm
Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm


Please keep your GIAS contacts up to date

Please take this opportunity to review all of your contact information in Get Information About Schools (GIAS). Keeping your details up to date will ensure that you continue to receive the most up to date information from the Department for Education and from the Department of Health and Social Care who are providing schools and colleges with coronavirus (COVID-19) testing kits.

For academy trusts, this will also ensure compliance with the Academies Financial Handbook.

To update your record, please go to the GIAS home page, “Sign in” using your “DfE Sign-in” credentials and select GIAS from your available services.