Coronavirus Information 15th October 2020

15th October 2020

This is your daily email to keep you updated on the government’s response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Additional coronavirus (COVID-19) test kits for schools and further education providers in high prevalence areas

Schools and further education providers in particularly high risk areas may be eligible for an additional delivery of coronavirus (COVID-19) test kits. These will be allocated to schools and further education providers by the Department of Health and Social Care based on the local prevalence of coronavirus (COVID-19). You will be emailed directly if you are eligible to receive these additional test kits.

Further information for all schools and further education providers on how to order additional coronavirus (COVID-19) test kits can be found in our guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19) test kits for schools and further education providers.

Test kits are only to be used in the exceptional circumstance where:

  • an individual is symptomatic
  • you do not think that individual would be able to access testing by the usual routes (attending a test site or applying for a home test kit)

These kits will help to ensure access to testing for symptomatic staff who are vital to the running of your education setting. They will help symptomatic staff – including those who are currently self-isolating – who test negative, and are not close contacts of confirmed cases, to get back to work as soon as they feel well enough.

It is for schools and further education providers to determine how to prioritise the distribution of their test kits in order to minimise the impact of the virus on the education of their pupils or students.

New guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people

The Department of Health and Social Care has provided new guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) from coronavirus (COVID-19). The guidance is less restrictive than previous shielding guidance and includes advice at each Local COVID Alert Level.

What does this mean for clinically extremely vulnerable pupils?

  • clinically extremely vulnerable pupils should continue to attend education settings at all Local COVID Alert Levels
  • a very small number of pupils or students under paediatric care (such as recent transplant or very immunosuppressed children) who have been advised by their GP or clinician not to attend school, should not attend. Absence for this reason can be recorded in the attendance register as: ‘not attending in circumstances related to coronavirus (COVID-19)’ – code X. Remote education should be provided immediately

What does this mean for clinically extremely vulnerable staff?

  • clinically extremely vulnerable staff can continue to attend school where the system of controls in the department’s guidance are in place in line with the school’s own workplace risk assessment

In the future, formal shielding advice will only be reintroduced in some, but not all, very high alert level areas (level 3), based on advice from the Chief Medical Officer. In this event, the government will write to people separately to inform them if they are advised to shield.

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 option for your nursery, school, college or university:

  • Option 1 – If you are a member of staff calling from an early years setting, school, further education provider or out of school setting and need advice on the action to take to respond to a positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your setting
  • Option 2 – If you are a member of staff calling from a university and need advice on the action to take to respond to a positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) on campus
  • Option 3 – If you work at a school and have questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education and children’s social care
  • Option 4 – If you work at a college, training provider, early years setting, children’s social care or higher education institution and have questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education and children’s social care

You 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

Public Health England’s (PHE) dedicated advice service opening hours

Public Health England’s (PHE) dedicated advice service is available to early years providers, schools, colleges and out of school settings. The service provides support on the actions staff 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).

Phone: 0800 046 8687 – option 1 to report a positive test within your setting

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

You should continue to inform your local authority of a positive case in your setting.

Look up your unique organisation number (UON)

If you have not received your unique organisation number (UON) for ordering new coronavirus (COVID-19) test kits you can can look it up using your unique reference number (URN) or your UK provider reference number (UKPRN) or by calling the Test and Trace helpdesk on 119

Department for Education guidance

Our guidance to support education providers, local authorities and parents during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak can be accessed using the links below: