Processes for People Showing Symptoms
COVID-19: Key Messages
What are the symptoms?
The main symptoms of COVID-19 are:
What is the mode of transmission?
COVID-19 is passed from person to person mainly by large respiratory droplets and direct contact (close unprotected contact, usually less than one metre). These droplets can be directly inhaled by the person, or can land on surfaces which another person may touch which can lead to infection if they then touch their nose, mouth or eyes.
What is the incubation period?
The incubation period (i.e. time between exposure to the virus and developing symptoms) is between 1 and 14 days (median 5 days).
When is a person infectious?
A person is thought to be infectious 48 hours before symptoms appear, and up to seven days after they start displaying symptoms.
Are children at risk of infection?
Children of all ages can catch the infection but children make up a very small proportion of COVID-19 cases with about 1% of confirmed cases in England aged under 19 years. Children also have a much lower risk of developing symptoms or severe disease.
Can children pass on the infection?
There is some uncertainty about how much asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic children can transmit the disease but the evidence so far from a number of studies suggests children are less likely to pass it on and do not appear to play a major role in transmission. Most children with COVID-19 have caught the infection from adults and not the reverse. This is unlike ‘flu.
Why is PPE not recommended for teachers and children?
Transmission of Covid-19 is usually through droplets; the mainstay of control measures are minimising contact and thorough hand and respiratory hygiene. When these measures are maintained, and symptomatic persons are excluded, the risk is minimal.
When will PPE be used in school?
PPE will be used by school staff when administering first aid, when supporting pupils with personal hygiene and when supporting anyone (a child or an adult) who is displaying symptoms for Covid-19.
Management of a Suspected Case
What to do if a child is unable to attend school because they have COVID-19 symptoms:
What will happen if your child falls ill whilst at school:
Fluid-resistant surgical face mask
Disposable gloves Disposable plastic apron
Fluid-resistant surgical face mask
Eye protection (goggles, visor) will be worn ONLY if a risk assessment determines that there is a risk of fluids entering the eye from, for example, coughing, spitting or vomiting
What will happen if a member of staff falls ill at school:
Management of a Confirmed Case
If a child who attends or staff member who works at an educational setting tests positive for COVID-19 then school will use the guidance below to appropriately identify and exclude close contacts if appropriate.
·The confirmed case should be advised to self-isolate until the latest of:
The headteacher or appropriate member of the leadership team at the educational setting will gather the following information to assist with identification of close contacts:
tested, and their attendance record at school
SYMPTOMS (or the date of test if they don’t have symptoms) UNTIL 10
DAYS AFTER SYMPTOMS STARTED
All close contacts should be excluded from school for 14 days following their last contact with the case. For example, if the case tests positive on Thursday and was last in school on the previous Monday the first day of the 14 day period is on the Monday. Household members of contacts do not need to self-isolate unless the contact develops symptoms.
Contacts will not be tested unless they develop symptoms. If a contact should develop symptoms, then the parent/carer should arrange for the child to be tested via NHS UK or by contacting NHS 119 via telephone if they do not have internet access This would also apply to any parent or household member who develops symptoms.
Frequently Asked Questions
Cases and Contacts
No. If a member of the child’s household is unwell with COVID-19 symptoms then the child should isolate for 14 days starting from the day the household member(s) became ill. If the child subsequently develops symptoms then they should isolate for 10 days from the date they developed symptoms. See Stay-at- home-guidance above. The household member(s) should be tested within 5 days of symptom onset. If all symptomatic household members test negative, the child can return to work.
No, classmates and staff can attend school as normal. The child who is ill should stay at home (Stay-at-home-guidance) and be advised to get tested. If the child has any siblings who attend the school they should also be self-isolating at home for 14 days. If the child tests positive for COVID-19, direct and proximity contacts should be excluded for 14 days.
A person who wore appropriate PPE or maintained appropriate social distancing (over 2 metres) would not be classed as a contact.
A contact is defined as a person who has had contact (see below) at any time from 48 hours before onset of symptoms (or test if asymptomatic) to 10 days after onset of symptoms (or test):
Where the child, young person or staff member tests positive and they had attended the school in the 48 hours prior to developing symptoms, direct and close contacts will be identified and will be excluded from school for 14 days following their last contact with the case.
Please note: The other household members of that wider class or group do not need to self-isolate unless the child, young person or staff member they live with in that group subsequently develops symptoms.
Yes, other household members of the contact do not need to self-isolate unless the child, young person or staff member they live with in that group subsequently develops symptoms.
There is no action required of the school. No-one with symptoms should be attending school and anyone who develops symptoms while at school should be isolated and sent home as soon as possible.
If the child is NOT a known contact of a confirmed case the child can return to school if the result is negative, provided they feel well and they have not had a fever for 48 hours.
If the child is a contact of a confirmed case they must stay off school for the 14 day isolation period, even if they test negative. This is because they can develop the infection at any point up to day 14 (the incubation period for COVID- 19), so if a child tests negative on day 3 they may still go on to develop the infection.
No, the child should complete 14 days of isolation.
The school does not need to close on public health grounds. Schools will generally only need to close if they have staff shortages due to illness or being identified as contacts. It is expected that only the class of a confirmed case will need to be excluded. If there are a number of confirmed cases across different classes and year groups at the same time then the school may be advised to close by the Health Protection Team in consultation with other partners.
The parent can arrange for any child to be tested via NHS UK or by contacting NHS 119 via telephone if they do not have internet access.
The school will be informed if a child or staff member tests positive as part of NHS Test and Trace. The school will not be informed of any negative results.
Can anyone be tested if they do not have symptoms? No. People should only be tested if they have symptoms. High Risk Groups
No, children who fall into this group should not be attending school or work.
They should only attend an education or childcare setting if stringent social distancing can be adhered to and, in the case of children, they are able to understand and follow those instructions. This may not be possible for very young children and older children without the capacity to adhere to the instructions on social distancing. If stringent social distancing cannot be adhered to, we do not expect those individuals to attend. They should be supported to learn or work at home.
The Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline is available to answer questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline by calling:
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm
Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm