Coronavirus Information 22nd October 2020

22nd October 2020

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

Updated guidance for schools

We have updated the guidance on actions for schools during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak to include:

This guidance has also been updated to reflect the latest advice on shielding and local COVID alert levels.

Autumn series exams update: English and maths GCSEs

We are aware that schools and colleges may have questions about supporting large entry exams, particularly English and maths GCSEs in early November, given changes in the virus transmission rate, the new local COVID alert level framework and the recent introduction of the tiers of restriction for education and childcare, summarised in annex 3 of the contain framework.

It remains our expectation that schools and colleges in all tiers of restriction will run exams. School and college leaders and exams officers may find it useful to refer to our public health guidance to support autumn exams. This guidance sets out arrangements that schools and colleges should implement when delivering exams this autumn, to enable them to progress in a way which significantly reduces the risk of spreading coronavirus (COVID-19). It covers aspects such as planning for arrival and departure of students, desk spacing, face coverings and what to do if a student is unwell with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms.

Schools and colleges should also follow the Joint Council for Qualification’s instructions for conducting examinations for GCSE, AS and A level exams. This provides additional details on running exams, including information about staggering exam times which may be useful when planning exams for larger groups.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) home test kits webinars for schools and colleges

The Department of Health and Social Care are 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 23 October at 3pm
  • Friday 30 October 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.

Please note that you can continue to apply for additional coronavirus (COVID-19) home test kits through the portal, however these will not be delivered to your school or college during half-term. This is to minimise the risk of missed deliveries.

Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline – extended weekend 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. To increase our support to staff, parents and students we are extending our weekend opening hours to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday.

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

The information below hasn’t changed since our last update

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: