Coronavirus Information 23rd April 2020

23rd April 2020

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

Update on national voucher scheme for schools providing free school meals

Schools and families have now converted over £20 million worth of vouchers into supermarket gift cards. If you have ordered eCodes and are waiting for them to be delivered, this can take up to 4 days. All orders placed up to 19 April have been delivered.

Please note that if you have ordered eCodes to go direct to the school rather than direct to the family, then the school will either need to convert the eCode into a gift card for a supermarket and then give it to the family, or provide the family with instructions so they can convert the code into a voucher themselves.

If you have not received eCodes you have ordered, please check your ‘junk’ folders before contacting Edenred at freeschoolmeals@edenred.com.

Full details of this scheme can be found here:


The information below has not changed since yesterday.


Department for Education coronavirus helpline

The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:

Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours:
8am to 6pm – Monday to Friday
10am to 4pm – Saturday and Sunday

If you work in a school, please have your unique reference number (URN or UK PRN) available when calling the hotline.

Handwashing advice

It is essential that everyone washes their hands more often, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Hand washing with soap employs mechanical action that loosens bacteria and viruses from the skin, rinsing them into the drain. Drying hands afterwards makes the skin less hospitable to the virus. Hand sanitiser can be effective if soap is not available or the situation makes using soap less feasible (i.e. when outside) but using hand sanitiser provides none of the virus-destroying friction that rubbing your hands together and rinsing with water provides.

The latest guidance and video on hand washing can be found at:

The e-Bug project is led by Public Health England and has a dedicated webpage for learning resources on hand washing and respiratory hygiene.

Resources are currently available for KS1, KS2 and KS3 and can be used in various settings including schools and at home:

Collection of guidance for educational settings on GOV.​UK

All of the Department for Education’s coronavirus guidance for educational settings can now be found in one place on GOV.​UK at:

Our main guidance for schools, the ‘school closures guidance’, will be regularly kept up-to-date. Any new advice for schools on specific issues, such as food, exams or safeguarding, will be linked from it: