Coronavirus Information 8th October 2020

8th October 2020

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

Guidance on providing coronavirus (COVID-19) test kits to symptomatic staff and students

Anyone who experiences any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can, and should, get a coronavirus (COVID-19) test at a testing site or at home. This includes all pupils, teachers and staff. All schools and further education (FE) providers are being provided with a small number of testing kits to complement these main access routes.

The test kits distributed to schools should only be used in the exceptional circumstance that a student, teacher, or staff member becomes symptomatic and you believe they may have barriers to accessing testing elsewhere.

As with students, you may consider offering kits to members of staff who become symptomatic on site if you do not think that they will be able to access testing by the usual routes.

In addition, if a symptomatic staff member, who is currently self-isolating, cannot access testing quickly, you may wish to consider offering them a test kit in order to allow them to return to work as quickly as possible. This approach should not be used for students, only for symptomatic staff members who are vital to the running of your educational setting.

Full details on how test kits should be used and how schools and colleges can order additional test kits can be found in our guidance on test kits for schools and further education providers.

Updates to the daily online attendance return

Thank you for completing the daily attendance return. It is important that you continue to complete the educational setting status form every day.

In response to your feedback we will be making the following changes from Monday 12 October:

  •          extending the deadline for completing the form to 2pm
  •          simplifying the first question so that settings can report their status more specifically

Further guidance on completing the educational setting status form and the full list of questions for schools can be found in the guidance on recording attendance during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. We will issue the guidance for further education colleges shortly.

We will continue to review the need for this daily data return and issue updates accordingly.

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 as they have now changed. Please 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

Free service available to advertise and search for teaching roles

Teaching Vacancies is the free, national service for searching and listing teaching roles provided by the Department for Education. Almost 75% of schools have signed up to list their teaching roles and the number of jobseekers visiting the service and signing up for job alerts is growing.

If your school is not signed up, or you require more information, please contact: teaching.vacancies@education.gov.uk.

Please ensure you post any vacancies you may have on Teaching Vacancies and help make this the go-to service for teachers looking for their next teaching role.

Further information about Teaching Vacancies and details on how you can get involved in promoting the service can be found on the Teaching Vacancies Campaign website.

The information below hasn’t changed since our last update

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

Public Health England’s (PHE’s) dedicated advice service, delivered by NHS Business Services Authority, is available to early years settings, schools, colleges and out of school settings. The service is for those needing support on the action they 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

When you call for advice, please have the following information to hand relating to the positive coronavirus (COVID-19) case in your setting as you will need to discuss this with the call adviser:

  •          the number of positive cases in your setting, whether the person who tested positive is displaying symptoms and if so, the date of the onset of the symptoms (if known)
  •          the dates that the person who tested positive was in attendance at the setting so that we can identify if the person was infectious whilst on site
  •          for key stage 2, 3, 4 and 5, the seating plan for all lessons, and (where relevant) the timetable, for the person who has tested positive. This will help to support identification of close contacts with that person
  •          for key stage 2, 3, 4 and 5, if the person who has tested positive is a member of staff, records of any instance of close contact with other members of staff or students
  •          if the person who has tested positive is a pupil, records of any definite face to face contact with the individual and details of their friendship group within the setting

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

Look up your unique organisation number (UON)

The unique organisation number (UON) for ordering new coronavirus (COVID-19) test kits was emailed to schools and further education providers by the Department of Health and Social Care on 16 September. If you have not received your UON you can now 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.