This is your daily email to keep you updated on the government’s response to coronavirus (COVID-19).
Important improvements to the coronavirus (COVID-19) testing call centre (119)
The options that you will be asked to select when calling the coronavirus (COVID-19) testing centre on 119 are changing. These changes have been made to make the process quicker and clearer for schools and further education providers to reach the education support team.
This helpline can be used to answer questions on the following:
- how to order additional coronavirus (COVID-19) home testing kits
- your Unique Organisation Number (UON)
- account adjustments (for example updating your shipping address or changing an email address)
- general queries relating to testing
When calling 119, please select the following options to be directed straight to the schools and further education providers support team:
- if you are calling from England (option 1), Scotland (option 2) Wales (option 3) or Northern Ireland (option 4)
- select whether you would like to hear how the data captured during the call is used (option 1) or to continue to additional options (option 2)
You will then be asked to choose a further option:
- if you are calling because you have an upcoming hospital procedure, or from an organisation who receives test kits directly from the national testing programme, select option 1
- if you are an individual, such as a student, a parent or a carer, and are conducting testing off site and require support, please select option 2
It is important that you contact the correct helpline as it will help the coronavirus (COVID-19) testing call centre resolve your query as quickly as possible.
The helpline is open 7am to 11pm daily.
Ordering additional coronavirus (COVID-19) home test kits
Schools and further education providers can continue to order additional coronavirus (COVID-19) home test kits through the coronavirus (COVID-19) home test kit portal.
Full details on how test kits should be used and how schools and further education providers can order additional test kits can be found in our guidance on test kits for schools and further education providers.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) home test kits webinars for schools and colleges
The Department of Health and Social Care is hosting a series of webinars to support schools and colleges in understanding how to use coronavirus (COVID-19) home test kits in education settings. The webinars will provide guidance on who should receive the kits, what they will look like and how parents and carers should use them.
Each webinar will last for 60 minutes and there will be an opportunity to ask questions. We strongly encourage schools and colleges to sign up to one of the webinars.
The webinars are being run on the following dates:
- Friday 27 November at 1pm
- Friday 11 December at 3pm
Full details on when the test kits should be provided, how to store them and the usual routes for accessing free coronavirus (COVID-19) testing can be found in our guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19) home testing kits.
Updated guidance for special schools and other specialist settings
We have updated our guidance for special schools and other specialist settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak to include the latest advice for clinically extremely vulnerable pupils, advice on the use of face coverings in schools and further information on the NHS test and trace process.
We have also provided information on keeping occupied spaces ventilated, the use of heating in special schools and specialist settings and the provision of wraparound care and extra-curricular activities.
Updated guidance on laptops, tablets and 4G routers provided during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
We have updated our guidance on laptops, tablets and 4G routers provided during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak to include further information on managing devices that schools have received. We have also provided information for local authorities, academy trusts and schools on reallocating 4G wireless routers that are not currently being used to children and young people with the greatest need.
The information below has not changed since our last update
Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline – opening hours
The Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline is available to answer questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education settings and children’s social care.
Please listen carefully to all of the available options before selecting the most appropriate option for your nursery, school, college or university.
Please select option 1 or 2 if you require specific advice on the action to take to respond to a positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your setting. 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.
Please select option 3 or 4 for any other questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education settings and children’s social care.
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm
Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm
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: