School arrangements during coronavirus
Returning to nursery, school or college
From 8 March it is mandatory for your child to return to nursery, school or college.
If your child is told not to attend their secondary school during the week of 8 March because of their testing programme, their absence will not be penalised.
If you or your child have any concerns or are feeling anxious about returning, we advise you contact your nursery, school or college. They should be able to explain ways they are changing things to reduce risks.
We have additional information and advice for children and young people who have special educational needs and disabilities, or clinically extremely vulnerable.
Testing at schools
Nurseries and primary schools
Pupils who attend nurseries and primary schools do not need to be regularly tested. Staff will take part in asymptomatic testing to help reduce the transmission and keep everyone safe.
Secondary schools and colleges
All children and young people attending secondary schools and colleges will be offered testing. Testing is voluntary, but the government strongly encourages that your child is tested, to help to manage the virus transmission.
On site testing
If consent has been given, pupils will be asked to take 3 tests at school, between 3 and 5 days apart. After these tests pupils will be provided with home test kits for regular testing.
Your child can return to school following their first negative test result.
Your child will not be stopped from returning to school or college if they choose to not be tested, but the government strongly encourages that your child is tested. On site school testing will remain for anyone who is unable to test at home.
Pupils will be asked to test themselves twice a week at home and report the results to the NHS Test and Trace and their school or college.
Pupils under the age of 18 should have adult supervision while taking these tests.
For more information about how testing will be carried out you can visit the government website.
Nurseries and primary schools
Face coverings do not need to be worn by pupils attending nurseries or primary school. Staff and visitors should wear face coverings where social distancing between adults is not possible.
Secondary schools and colleges
All pupils in secondary schools and colleges should wear face coverings unless they are exempt until Easter. This will be kept under review by the government.
Face coverings should be worn when:
- travelling to and from school or college
- moving around the building
- in classrooms, corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot be easily maintained.
If social distancing can be maintained in classrooms, face coverings do not need to be worn.
Some pupils and staff may be exempt from wearing a face covering if they:
- cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical impairment or disability, illness or mental health difficulties
- are someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate.
You can visit the government website to find out more about the following:
How your child can help
To help to minimise the transmission of the virus your child should:
- wash their hands for at least 20 seconds when they arrive, return from break, change rooms and both before and after eating
- wear a face covering, unless exempt
- use the “catch it, bin it, kill it” approach when using a tissue
- stay within specified bubbles
- maintain social distancing
- self isolate if they develop one or more of the symptoms or tested positive
- self isolate for 10 days from the day of contact with an individual who tested positive.
How schools and colleges are helping
To help to minimise the transmission of the virus your child's school or college should:
- stagger starting times for pupils to allow social distancing
- promote the “catch it, bin it, kill it” approach
- make sure that windows are open where possible
- increase cleaning across all surfaces
- reiterate the importance of social distancing
- inform your child on how to wear a mask appropriately.
When your child should self isolate
You should not send your child to school or college if they:
- have symptoms or live in a household with someone who has symptoms
- have tested positive themselves, even if they do not have symptoms
- live in a household with someone who has tested positive, even if that person does not have symptoms
- are a close contact of someone who has coronavirus (COVID-19)
- are confirmed as clinically extremely vulnerable.
If you or someone in your household is clinically extremely vulnerable, your child should still attend school or college.
Self isolation and your family
If your child is identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) and is asked to self isolate, you do not need to self isolate unless your child develops symptoms. This also applies to other members of your household (including any other children in the same school or college).
If your child has been a close contact of someone who has tested positive, and then develops symptoms but has a negative test result, they will still need to self isolate for the full 10 days from the day after contact with the person who tested positive.
Educating at home due to self isolation
Your child's school or college will provide support with remote education and pastoral support. They should also have in place procedures to check that your child is able to access remote education support, to support them to access it (as far as possible) and to regularly check if they are doing so.
Mental health and wellbeing
The change of routine and staying at home may make this a difficult time for some children. Public Health England has published advice on how to support your children’s wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak.
There is also guidance on how to help you look after your own mental health.
Support from Kent businesses
Every aspect of children and young people's lives has been affected during the pandemic from their learning and wellbeing to their friendships.
We want the whole community of Kent to get behind our new Reconnect programme which aims to reconnect children and young people with their friends, school and outside activities. We are looking for businesses in Kent to pledge to help - to volunteer their time, donate items, provide sponsorship or hire a young apprentice.