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School arrangements - autumn term (COVID-19)

Attending school is vital for children and young people's education and wellbeing.

School reopening

All children and young people (school age) are required to attend a school or college when they open for the autumn term. Attendance is mandatory for schools and recommended at childminders and nurseries.

We are aware a number of parents will be feeling anxious around their child attending school. If you have any concerns around your child attending, please discuss these with your school or college. Schools are not expected to provide remote learning for children not attending due to parental anxiety.

Face coverings are no longer advised for pupils, staff and visitors either in classrooms or in communal areas.

From 19 July, the government has removed the requirement to wear face coverings in law but expects and recommends that they are worn in enclosed and crowded spaces where you may come into contact with people you don’t normally meet. This includes public transport and dedicated transport to school or college.

If you child wishes to wear a face covering in the classroom, please speak to the school.

In the event of an outbreak within the school or in the Leicester area, our Director of Public Health may recommend face coverings as safety measures are stepped up.

There are some circumstances where people may not be able to wear a face covering, please be mindful and respectful of such circumstances.

The following testing measures are currently in place:

  • Over the summer holidays, staff, secondary school pupils and college students should continue to test if they are attending settings that are open. 
Testing measures for the autumn term:
  • Primary school children are not being provided with lateral flow tests at this time.
  • Primary school staff will resume to take two rapid COVID-19 tests each week at home.
  • Secondary school and college pupils will be offered two on-site lateral flow tests, 3 to 5 days apart. We ask that you give permission to your child's school to allow schools to undertake the tests and reduce the spread of the virus.
  • After the initial on-site programme, pupils will be provided with two rapid tests to use each week at home.
  • Secondary school and college staff will also be provided with two tests to use each week at home.

Further detailed guidance is available on our Covid testing for school age children, young people and families webpage.

Travel safety measures are in place and information is available to help children and families on the school run. 

Pupils may be experiencing a variety of emotions in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, such as anxiety, stress or low mood.

This may particularly be the case for vulnerable children, including those with a social worker and young carers. It is important to contextualise these feelings as normal responses to an abnormal situation. Some may need support to re-adjust to school; others may have enjoyed being at home and be reluctant to return; a few may be showing signs of more severe anxiety or depression. Others will not be experiencing any challenges and will be keen and ready to return to school.

Attending school allows social interaction with peers, carers and teachers, which benefits wellbeing.

Resources and support

In Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, there are lots of services working together as a whole system to help Children and Young People with their emotional, Mental Health and Wellbeing. You can find out where to get the right help and support and how to access each service by using the links below;

  • Supporting children and young people's emotional wellbeing
    This advice is for parents/carers and education staff to help them support children and young people’s emotional wellbeing and resilience during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This has been produced by the City Psychology Service.

  • Relate Leicestershire - children and young people counselling

    This is a confidential counselling service for young people who are unhappy, unsettled or worried because of school, other family issues. This service is available to all young people, aged 8 - 18 years.

  • Kooth

    Safe, anonymous online service, Online counsellors, Chat messaging, Discussion Boards, Useful articles, moderated forums

  • Talk2sort Mediation Service

    We support young people and their families to reduce the likelihood that a young person will face homelessness in both the immediate and distant future. We believe that resolving conflict can have substantial benefits on individuals’ mental health and wellbeing, leading to a more positive future.

  • Family Action

    Our work supports families when they face complex needs and challenges -including domestic abuse, substance misuse and mental health issues – and it ranges from intensive family support, specialist therapeutic work, conflict management and relationship support, and advice and wellbeing services.

  • Central Point of Access

    For urgent help telephone 0116 295 3060

    This is to support patients who are in a mental health crisis. This is a self-referral service telephone line, the caller’s details will be collected and a slot will be booked for a triage via phone contact within two hours.



Health advice and guidance

School is vital for children’s education and we know how essential it is for their mental wellbeing to have social interactions with their peers, carers and teachers. We also know that time out of school can have a negative impact on children’s learning and academic development.

Schools and settings in Leicester City, Leicestershire and Rutland are open so that your child's education can continue. They have arrangements in place to reduce the risk of transmission.

From this term children will not have to self-isolate if they have been a close contact of a positive case. Close contacts will be identified by Test and Trace rather than the school and will be advised to go for a PCR test. If your child is identified, please do take them for the PCR test. 

If your child has any symptoms or has had a positive test they should not go to school and should follow instructions about self-isolating. Please tell your child’s school why your child is off school. If your child displays any symptoms at school the school will contact you and ask you to take your child for a PCR test.

If your child's class is required by Public Health to close, schools will offer remote learning or homework packs. Please do encourage your child to complete this work so that they can continue to make progress in their learning.

Children have a lower risk of COVID-19 compared to adults and even when infected, usually only develop a mild infection. There is evidence that when children are infected, this is mainly from an adult family member in the household, and not from the education setting. There is very little evidence of children being infected by school staff. Children are less likely to need to go to hospital with COVID-19, and when they do, they usually need less serious treatment than adults.

When a member of staff is infected, the transmission is more likely from their community, someone in their household, or from other school staff.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has made clear that the overwhelming majority of children and young people still have no symptoms or very mild illness only. Returning to school or college is also vital for their educational progress, for their wellbeing, and for their wider development.

There is good evidence that even when a child is infected, they are less likely to pass COVID-19 to:

  • Other children (as children have a lower risk of getting infected) and
  • Adults

A challenge for reducing the spread of the virus is congestion at the school gates. The government has removed the requirement to wear face coverings in law but expects and recommends that they are worn in enclosed and crowded spaces where you may come into contact with people you don’t normally meet.  The wearing of face coverings is seen as an effective measure to reduce the spread of the virus.

Do I have to wear a face covering when taking my child to school

Your child’s school will have strict guidance in place to minimise the risk of transmission.

The following are just some of the ways that should help your child stay safe to school.

  • Handwashing – wash hands regularly throughout the day and wash your child’s hands thoroughly when they return from school
  • Frequent and thorough deep cleaning of surfaces
  • Wash your child’s school clothes regularly
  • Remind your child of social distancing rules

Be aware of coronavirus symptoms - If your child has a temperature, develops a new, continuous cough or loses their sense of smell or taste, do not send them to school.

Clinically extremely vulnerable people, children and young people are no longer advised to shield. Please speak with your child's school if you have any concerns.

Schools have taken measures to keep your child safe at school.  You can ask your child's school to view a copy of their risk assessment to address any concerns you may have.



Developing symptoms

If anyone in your home has become unwell with a new persistent cough or a high temperature, or has a loss of, or change in , their normal sense of taste or smell they must stay at home and follow stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, which sets out that they should self-isolate for at least 10 days and should arrange to have a test to see if they have coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Your child can continue to attend school providing they are feeling well and do not have any symptoms.

Coronavirus clearly poses a risk to the health of you, your families and local communities, so we need to work together and stick to the guidance.

Advice should your child develop symptoms in or out of school.

If a child begins to feel unwell with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms while at school the following steps will take place.  Check with your school about individual arrangements, however it is likely that:

  1. Schools will arrange for the symptomatic individual to go home

  2. While the child is awaiting collection they will be moved to a room where they can be isolated behind a closed door or, if not possible, somewhere that is at least 2 metres away from other people and ensure appropriate adult supervision. Ideally, a window should be opened for ventilation. Staff caring for the pupil will wear appropriate PPE. If the child needs to use the toilet, this toilet will not be used by others and will be cleaned in line with guidance following the child leaving the school. After the child has left the school, all areas where the symptomatic child has been will be cleaned and disinfected.

  3. When the child is collected, the parent or carer will be given the following information:

    • The symptomatic child will need to get tested for COVID-19 and report the result to the school once known.  Tests can be organised by visiting NHS.UK or contact NHS 119 via telephone if you do not have internet access.  Testing for children under 5 years old can be arranged online or by calling 119.

    • The symptomatic child to self-isolate for 10 days (or until a negative result has been reported).

Where the child, young person or staff member tests negative, they can return to their setting providing they are feeling well.

Where the child, young person or staff member tests positive, the rest of their class if identified as a close contact by Track and Trace will be asked to go for a PCR test. They can continue to attend school while they await the results and have no symptoms.

As part of the national test and trace programme, if other cases are detected within the cohort or in the wider setting, Public Health England’s local health protection teams will conduct a rapid investigation and will advise schools and other settings on the most appropriate action to take.  In some cases a larger number of other children and/or young people may be asked to self-isolate at home as a precautionary measure – perhaps the whole class, site or year group.  Where settings are observing guidance on infection prevention and control, which will reduce risk of transmission, closure of the whole setting will not generally be necessary.

If your child receives a positive test results they will need to follow the self-isolation guidance. Please continue to keep your school informed. Your child should not attend any other out of school provision, childcare, activity groups or clubs during this time.

Advice on what you should do if your child develops symptoms

If anyone in your home becomes unwell with a new and persistent cough or a high temperature, or has a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell, they must stay at home and follow ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’, which sets out that they should self-isolate for at least 10 days and should arrange to have a test to see if they have coronavirus (COVID-19).

If they have tested positive whilst not experiencing symptoms but develop symptoms during the isolation period, they should restart the 10-day isolation period from the day they develop symptoms.
Other members of their household (including any siblings) should self-isolate for 10 days from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms.

If your child develops symptoms at home, you must get them tested and continue to keep your school informed. Parents should call the school/s of their children to inform them of the reason for their child/children’s absence.

Your child should not attend any other out of school provision, childcare, activity groups or clubs during this time.


Financial support

From 8 March 2021, if you need to stay at home to look after a child required to self-isolate due to Covid-19 you may be entitled to a £500 support payment.

You will need to have been working or self-employed, unable to work from home and losing income from isolating. You will also need to be on benefits, or otherwise able to show financial hardship.

Your child must be under 16, or under 26 if they have special educational needs. If your child has not been provided with an NHS Test & Trace reference number, you will need to be able to provide an image of the notification from your school or nursery telling your child to self-isolate.

For further information on eligibility and how to apply please visit Test and trace support payment (leicester.gov.uk). We are awaiting full government guidance before we accept any applications for parents and guardians. You will be able to make a backdated application if you meet all the criteria.

If you are struggling financially and are in need of food and fuel support, you may be eligible for a Covid local support grant. For further information and how to apply please see: COVID local support grant (leicester.gov.uk)



Frequently asked questions

Questions and answers to help you to plan for your child’s return to school.

Your school will also be able to provide you with more information – including questions about school meals and transport.