Frequently asked questions
The following questions and answers will help you to plan for your child’s return to school.
Following the government's announcement, from 19 July, pupils, staff, and visitors will no longer be required to wear face coverings in law but expects and recommends that they are worn in enclosed and crowded places 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. Some schools may ask children and staff to wear face coverings.
If you have any concerns please contact your child's school.
Public Health England has made available resources on how to make a simple face covering.
Schools are considered safe environments for children and evidence shows that the risk of spreading coronavirus is lower between children than between adults.
School is also a vital point of contact for public health and safeguarding services that are critical to the wellbeing of children and families.
Schools continue to assess the risks and put changes in place to minimise the risk of transmission. This includes thinking about preventing possible congestion points in and around the school in line with social distancing guidance.
For more information see: Statement from the UK Chief Medical Officers on schools and childcare reopening
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.
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.
School and college attendance for children and young people is mandatory. The legal duty on parents and carers of children of compulsory school age to send their children to school regularly will apply.
It is vital that children and young people attend school and college for their educational progress, for their wellbeing, and for their wider development. Parents and carers are strongly encouraged to send their children to school.
We recommend that for parents of pupils with significant risk factors, they discuss their concerns with the school, and seek reassurance of the measures the schools are putting in place to reduce the risk in school.
If a child is not well enough to attend school, the parent should contact the child's school as normal to report the absence. The school will then make the decision, in the usual way, as to whether the absence is authorised.
Please note that your child's school may require medical information from you in order to authorise the absence.
You should contact your child's school to report any absence and to discuss any attendance issues.
The Can my child go to school today? section can help you make a decision on sending your child to school if they are feeling unwell.
Children eligible for free school meals over the lockdown period will have received provision in the form of either a food parcel or a voucher. Those children who attended school will have been provided with a hot meal.
All school kitchens are now fully open providing food for pupils including those eligible for free school meals.
Applying for free school meals
We encourage healthy eating in schools by offering a variety of nutritious foods. All our meals include carbohydrates, proteins and vegetables, the crucial elements of a nutritionally balanced diet – and children are taught the importance of each to a balanced diet, so they can make the right choices.
Schools are responsible for deciding whether a uniform is required in the current COVID-19 pandemic.
If you have a question about school uniforms, you should contact your child’s school to find out about their uniform policy. You can find contact details including school websites for schools in Leicester using the schools' directory.
Public Health England’s guidance is that uniforms do not need to be cleaned any more often than usual, nor do they need to be cleaned using methods which are different from normal. However, we suggest that parents wash their child’s uniform regularly and make sure it is clean before they go off to school.
From 8 March, out-of-school settings and wraparound childcare providers can offer indoor and outdoor provision to all vulnerable children and young people. However, providers should only offer wraparound childcare to parents and carers if:
- reasonably necessary to enable their parents and carers to work, search for work, undertake education or training, or attend a medical appointment or address a medical need, or attend a support group
- being used by electively home educating parents as part of their arrangements for their child to receive a suitable full-time education
- for the purposes of obtaining a regulated qualification, meeting the entry requirements for an education institution, or to undertake exams and assessments
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) continues to advise against travel to red list countries.
Get advice about travelling abroad including the latest information on coronavirus, entry requirements and travel warnings. This advice is being kept under constant review.
Please ensure if you have travelled abroad, you follow the rules for entering the UK. If you have travelled to any country that is not on the green travel corridor list, you may be required to quarantine for 10 days upon your return to the UK. All family members who travelled together must stay at home and your child won’t be able to attend school even if they do not have any symptoms.
If you and your family breach the quarantine rules and your child returns to school before their self-isolation has ended, the school has the right to contact the local police station for further guidance and your child must be collected from school immediately.
Please do continue to social distance throughout your holiday and wear a face covering if required.
The Education Welfare Service advise that for holidays and trips abroad during term time, normal arrangements are in place. Therefore you should seek the school’s agreement for any absence during term time. If the school does not agree to the absence, enforcement action may be taken against you - see further information on attendance and truancy information
We are actively urging parents to wear face-covering when dropping off and picking up children from school.
The wearing of face coverings in congested areas and where unable to consistently maintain social distancing is seen as an effective measure to reduce the spread of the virus.
Schools may request that parents wear face coverings on the school grounds - as they do with visitors, staff and other adults. Schools who ask parents to do this will have included this in their risk assessment.
Further guidance on face masks is available at Guidance Face coverings: when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own
Schools and educational settings will continue to limit the number of visitors attending.
There will be occasions where organisations and professional services will need to attend the school and they will be required to follow the schools strict guidelines currently in place.
All visitors in schools will also follow safeguarding procedures. More information is available in the latest Guidance for full opening: schools.
To find out which children centres are open, and to make any appointment to attend the centre, visit the Children Centre's webpage.
Regular updates and online interactive activities are also available on the Children Centre's Facebook.
If you would like any help or support for you and your family, you can call our Advice Point on 0116 454 1004 choosing the option ‘ Early Help’ or by walking into any one of our centres.
One Youth Centres will remain open during this period:
The following information and guidance were considered when preparing return to school question and answers.