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Helping to keep schools safe

We understand that many parents and carers may be concerned about their children returning to school and we’d like to reassure you that schools, BCP Council and public health are working closely to ensure that pupils can return safely.

The number of cases of coronavirus in the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area remains low, and is much lower than many other areas in England. However, it is important that everyone remains vigilant and follows the latest guidance in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

In the event of a local outbreak

The health protection team or local authority may advise a school or number of schools to close temporarily to help control transmission. Schools will need a contingency plan in case this happens, which may involve returning to remaining open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers and providing remote education for all other pupils. Our affected schools page has a list of schools currently affected.

How parents and carers can help

Schools work hard to make sure safety and hygiene measures are adhered to during the school day, however, to keep the risk of transmission in school low, it's important that families follow government guidance outside of school too.

This includes keeping 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household, washing hands frequently and self-isolating and getting tested if you have symptoms of Coronavirus.

The latest government guidance can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Guidance for schools around illness and school absence 

We understand that schools are receiving a lot of calls and questions about the health of their pupils. 

With children starting to mix together again, it is likely that they are going to get seasonal colds and coughs but not all illnesses mean they must stay off school or self-isolate. 

We want to remind you that COVID-19 symptoms are a high temperature (hot to touch on the back or chest), a new continuous cough (continuous cough is coughing consistently for a while and not just every now and again), a loss of or change to your taste or smell. 

More detail of the symptoms can be found on the NHS website.  

Please see below of different types of illness and what action should be taken.

COVID-19

What to do if What action is neededWhen to return to school
My child has COVID-19 symptoms* Do not come to school, contact the school and self isolate the whole household. Get a COVID-19 test and inform the school immediately with the result.

When the test comes back negative. 

My child tests positive for COVID-19

Do not come to school, contact the school to let them know. Self isolate the whole household and agree an earliest date for possible return (minimum 10 days).

When they feel better. They can return after 10 days even if they have a cough or loss of taste/smell. These symptoms can last for several weeks. All children who test positive must complete the 10-day isolation.  

My child tests negative

 Contact the school to let them know and discuss when your child can come back (same/next day).

When test comes back negative and your child feels well enough to return. 

*COVID-19 symptoms are: a high temperature, a new continuous cough (continuous cough is coughing consistently for a while and not just every now and again), a loss of or change to your taste or smell. 

Vomiting and diarrhoea 

If a child has sickness and diarrhoea they should not come to school. Parents/carers should contact the school to inform them of a child’s absence and ring the school on each day of illness.  

A child can return to school 48 hours after the last bout of sickness or diarrhoea. Check the schools’ sickness absence policy for more information. 

Colds 

If a child is poorly with symptoms of a cold such as a runny nose or sore throat:

  1. check temperature and for symptoms of COVID-19 

  2. if no COVID-19 symptoms, come to school if well enough 

  3. if not well enough, ring on each day of illness.  

The child can come back to school when they feel well enough and are not showing symptoms of COVID-19. 

If your child has been sent home after developing COVID-19 symptoms

If any child becomes unwell in school 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 (anosmia), they will be sent home and advised to follow 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). Other members of their household (including any siblings) should self-isolate for 14 days from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms and should only get tested if they develop symptoms.

If your child has been sent home as they are a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19

It is only the child who has been identified as a close contact of a case in the school who needs to self-isolate. This means they have to stay in at home and not go out for 14 days. The rest of the family can go about their normal business and any other children can attend school. You do not need to book a test.

If your child (who has been asked to self-isolate) goes on to develop COVID symptoms then you should book them a test and your whole household needs to self-isolate for 14 days.

For all other advice around schools relating to COVID-19 can be found on the GOV.UK website.

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