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Corona Virus (COVID-19) Updates

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

The information below has not changed since the last update.

Prime Minister announces new local COVID Alert Levels

Yesterday, the Prime Minister set out how the government will further simplify and standardise local rules by introducing a three-tiered system of local COVID Alert Levels in England – medium, high and very high.

Further information on what you can and cannot do if you live, work or travel in each of the local COVID Alert Levels can be found using the links below:

· Medium

· High

· Very high

These rules will apply from 00:01 on Wednesday 14 October. Current local guidance must be followed until this time.

Guidance on use of face covering when travelling to school or college

Children aged 11 and over are legally required to wear a face covering on public transport in England, unless exempt for health, age or disability reasons.

In accordance with advice from Public Health England, we recommend that local authorities advise children and young people aged 11 and over to wear a face covering when travelling on dedicated school transport, unless they are exempt. Coronavirus (COVID-19) usually spreads by droplets from coughs, sneezes and speaking. When used correctly, wearing a face covering may reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) droplets in certain circumstances, helping to protect others.

Schools should support local authorities in promoting the use of face coverings when travelling to and from school, and help them to resolve any issues of non-compliance where appropriate.

The ‘Hands. Face. Space.’ campaign urges everyone to continue to wash their hands, cover their face and make space to control infection rates. The NHS has released a ‘Hands. Face. Space.’ video that may be a useful resource when communicating the importance of wearing a face covering on transport directly to children and young people.

Further information on face coverings can be found in our guidance on transport to school and other places of education: autumn term 2020.

New coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions announced by the Prime Minister

Today (22nd Sept), the Prime Minister has announced a series of new coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions that will begin to come into force from Thursday onwards. It is vital that children and young people continue to receive an education, therefore, schools, colleges and universities will remain open.

Translation of guidance for parents and carers on early years providers, schools and colleges in the autumn term

We have translated our guidance for parents and carers with children in nursery, school, or college in the autumn term.

The guidance is now available in the following languages:

· Arabic

· Bengali

· Chinese – traditional

· Chinese – simplified

· French

· Gujarati

· Polish

· Portuguese

· Punjabi

· Romany

· Somali

· Turkish

· Urdu

Updated guidance for parents and carers

We have updated our guidance for parents and carers on what they need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This update provides information on school admission appeals, entry tests for selective schools, and exams and assessments in the autumn term.

We have also provided further information on the use of face coverings in schools and links to online resources that are available to help parents, carers and children with their mental health and wellbeing.

Back to school

Parents are encouraged to visit gov.uk/backtoschool for information and practical guidance to help them plan for their children’s return to school. This includes our latest update to the guidance for parents and carers on what they need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges in the autumn term.

Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline 

The Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) 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 by calling:

Phone: 0800 046 8687.

Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing eligibility and how to book

Testing is available to anyone in England and Wales who has symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), whatever their age. Tests are free and can be requested through the NHS website.

Priority testing is available for essential workers and anyone they live with who display symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), this includes all education and childcare staff. Priority testing can be arranged through the self-referral portal on GOV.​UK. Apply for a coronavirus test if you’re an essential worker.

Plans for all children and young people to return to full-time education at the start of the autumn term

The Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, announced our plans for all children and young people to return to full-time education at the start of the autumn term in Parliament today.

We have published guidance for parents and carers on the plans for the autumn term to help reassure them about what to expect for their children.

The guidance for what parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges in the autumn term can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/what-parents-and-carers-need-to-know-about-early-years-providers-schools-and-colleges-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

Protective measures for holiday or after-school clubs and other out-of-school settings for children during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

We have published guidance for parents and carers setting out what they need to know about changes to after-school clubs, holiday clubs, tuition, community activities and other out-of-school settings for children and young people during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. We have included information on what clubs and activities children and young people can attend, and what new safety measures parents and carers can expect them to have in place.

The guidance for parents and carers can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-parents-and-carers-of-children-attending-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

New guidance published on keeping children safe from abuse and harm

We have jointly published new guidance with the Home Office, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and Public Health England on keeping children safe from abuse and harm. This guidance brings together sources of information about the main risks children may be vulnerable to during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and signposts you to help and support available.

The guidance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-keeping-children-safe-from-abuse-and-harm

Online education resources for home learning update

We have updated our guidance for online education resources for home learning to include additional resources and new tips to help parents and carers with home education.

The list of resources can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources

Updated guidance on keeping children safe online

With the Home Office and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, we have updated advice and guidance to help parents and carers to keep children safe online during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak to include new information on apps to help children stay safe online.

The advice and guidance on keeping children safe online can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-keeping-children-safe-online

Safer travel guidance for passengers

From today it is the law that you must wear a face covering when travelling in England on public transport including a bus, coach, tram or train. Where travel with children is necessary, such as to an education setting, consider whether children could walk or cycle, accompanied by a responsible adult or carer, where appropriate. The law requiring passengers to wear face coverings does not apply to children under the age of 11. Face coverings should not be used by children under the age of 3, for safety.

Children, even if they are over 11, are not required to wear face coverings on school transport. School transport is that provided by local authorities, academy trusts or schools for the specific purpose of transporting children to and from their home and school.

The Department for Transport’s guidance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers

Updated guidance on summer 2020 grades for GCSE, AS and A level

Ofqual has updated their guidance for teachers, students, parents and carers on summer 2020 grades for GCSE, AS and A level, Extended Project Qualification and Advanced Extension Award in mathematics.

The guidance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/awarding-qualifications-in-summer-2020

Space related educational resources for home schooling

The UK Space Agency has published a collection of space related educational resources that schools, parents and carers can use when teaching their children at home.

The resources are available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/space-related-educational-resources-for-home-schooling

Updated advice for tier 2, 4 and 5 visa sponsors of students or employees

The Home Office and UK Visas and Immigration has updated their guidance for tier 2, 4 and 5 visa sponsors in the UK who are supporting those affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Scanned documents can now be submitted as evidence due to the exceptional circumstances of coronavirus (COVID-19). These arrangements will apply until 30 June, when they will be reviewed.

The guidance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-tier-2-4-and-5-sponsors

Testing now available to anyone with symptoms of coronavirus

The government has announced that anyone with symptoms of coronavirus is now eligible to book a test, including children under the age of 5 years. Anyone experiencing a new, continuous cough; high temperature; or a loss of, or change, in their normal sense of smell or taste (anosmia) can book a test.

A coronavirus test can be booked here:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Essential workers in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, can apply for priority testing through GOV.​UK. A coronavirus test can be booked here:

https://www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test-essential-workers

Launch of the NHS Test and Trace service

The new NHS Test and Trace service has launched today and will form a central part of the government’s coronavirus recovery strategy.

Anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about their recent interactions.

People identified as having been in close contact with someone who has a positive test must stay at home for 14 days, even if they do not have symptoms, to stop unknowingly spreading the virus.

Further information on the NHS Test and Trace service can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-launches-nhs-test-and-trace-service

Guidance on the NHS Test and Trace service for employers, businesses and workers can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-workplace-guidance

Guidance on how the NHS Test and Trace works can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works

Public Health England has published guidance that explains what you should do if the NHS Test and Trace service notifies you that you are a contact of a person who has tested positive for coronavirus and you do not live with that person.

The guidance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-contacts-of-people-with-possible-or-confirmed-coronavirus-covid-19-infection-who-do-not-live-with-the-person

Department for Transport travelling advice for parents and pupils

The Department for Transport has issued advice on how parents and pupils can travel to school safely as part of the #TravelSafely campaign. Resources have been developed to ensure that parents, pupils and staff have the information they need to stay safe on the public transport network. This includes information developed in collaboration with respected partners on how to cycle and walk safely, where possible.

Resources can be found here:

https://extranet.dft.gov.uk/safer-transport-campaign/schools/

Guidance for parents and carers on supporting their children’s education during the coronavirus outbreak

We have published information, guidance and support for parents and carers of children who are learning at home during the coronavirus outbreak.

Guidance on helping secondary school children continue their education during the coronavirus outbreak can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-secondary-school-children-continue-their-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19

We have updated our guidance on helping primary school aged children learn at home to include information on the wider opening of educational settings.

The guidance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-primary-school-children-continue-their-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Testing now available to anyone with symptoms of coronavirus

The government has announced that anyone with symptoms of coronavirus is now eligible to book a test, ahead of the rollout of the test and trace service. Anyone experiencing a new, continuous cough; high temperature; or a loss of, or change, in their normal sense of smell or taste (anosmia) can book a test.

A coronavirus test can be booked here:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Essential workers in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland, can apply for priority testing through GOV.​UK. A coronavirus test can be booked here:

https://www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test-essential-workers

Coronavirus testing eligibility and how test and testing kits work

Anyone in England showing symptoms of coronavirus who has to leave the home to go to work, or is aged 65 and over, is eligible for testing along with members of their households with symptoms. This is in addition to all essential workers with symptoms.

Guidance on coronavirus testing, including who is eligible for a test, how to get tested and the different types of test available can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has published guidance for members of the public and patients about coronavirus tests and testing kits, including information on the different types of tests available and how they work.

The guidance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-tests-and-testing-kits-for-coronavirus-covid-19-work

Updated guidance from the Student Loans Company

Deputy CEO of the Student Loans Company, David Wallace, is advising students thinking about going to university for the first time this autumn to complete their funding applications online as soon as possible.

New students are being asked to submit their applications before 22 May 2020. The deadline for returning student applications is 19 June.

Applications for student finance can be made here:

https://www.gov.uk/student-finance

The Student Loans Company has updated their guidance for prospective students to include guidance for those whose academic year is extended because of the coronavirus outbreak and for migrant worker student applicants.

The guidance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/guidance-for-current-students

Safer travel guidance for passengers during the coronavirus outbreak

The Department for Transport has published guidance on travelling safely during the coronavirus outbreak, providing information on walking, cycling, using private vehicles, travelling in taxis and on public transport. Information on children travelling on public transport is also provided in this guidance.

The guidance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers

Working safely during the coronavirus outbreak

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has published guidance on working safely during the coronavirus outbreak. This guidance is to help employers and employees understand how to work safely and covers offices, labs and research facilities, construction and factories which may be relevant to some education settings.

The guidance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Eligibility for government childcare offers protected

The government has announced that any working parent usually eligible for 30 hours free childcare or Tax-Free Childcare will remain eligible if they fall below the minimum income requirement due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Subject to Parliamentary approval, parents who are critical workers will also remain eligible for these entitlements if their income has increased over the maximum threshold during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

This temporary flexibility will ensure critical workers can continue to access the childcare they need to enable them to work. These arrangements will be reviewed over the summer.

This announcement can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/eligibility-for-government-childcare-offers-protected

Guidance from the Office for Students

Students should read the student guide to coronavirus (COVID-19) published by the Office for Students for information about securing a place at university, the clearing process, accommodation, and finance.

The student guide can be found here:

https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/for-students/student-guide-to-coronavirus/questions-and-answers/

Public Health England has updated their guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection

Public Health England has published guidance for households with grandparents, parents and children living together where someone is at risk or has symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

The guidance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance

Online learning platform to boost workplace skills launched

Free courses are available through the new online platform, the Skills Toolkit. This platform signposts to free, high-quality digital and numeracy courses to help people build up their skills, progress in work and boost their job prospects and confidence whilst at home.

Courses on offer cover a range of levels, from everyday maths and the use of email and social media at work to more advanced training. All courses are available online and are flexible so that people can work through them at their own pace.

The Skills Toolkit can be accessed here:

https://theskillstoolkit.campaign.gov.uk/

Changes to the school admission appeals process

It is important parents continue to have the right to appeal any school admission decisions. To enable this, we will be making regulatory changes that, subject to legislation, will come into force on 24 April 2020. The new regulations will relax some of the current requirements set out in the School Admission Appeals Code 2012, giving admission authorities flexibility to manage appeals whilst ensuring families are supported and not disadvantaged by current measures to protect public health.

The guidance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/admission-appeals-for-school-places

Coronavirus (COVID-19) adoption support fund scheme to help vulnerable families

The Secretary of State for Education has announced that up to £8 million will be available for therapeutic support for families whose adopted children may have already suffered trauma and may be made more anxious owing to the uncertainty of the effects of the virus. Adoptive families will be offered emergency support including online counselling and couples therapy as the government expands the scope of the Adoption Support Fund to meet needs arising from the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Further details of this scheme can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/covid-19-adoption-support-fund-scheme-to-help-vulnerable-families

Online educational resources to support children to continue learning at home

We have published a list of online resources that parents, and schools can consider to support children to continue learning at home. The list will be updated over time, and includes a wide range of resources for all ages that schools can consider using as part of their planned curriculum. Schools have already been drawing on existing resources and tools they are familiar with to support children to continue learning at home and should continue to do so.

More information can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources

Updated handwashing advice

The most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves is to wash their hands more often. Soap and water and regular handwashing for at least 20 seconds is the best way of staying safe. 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.

A video on hand washing can be found at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQCP7waTRWU&feature=youtu.be

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:

https://e-bug.eu/

Stay up to date with the latest coronavirus information

You can now sign up to receive updates from GOV.​UK regarding the Government’s response to coronavirus (COVID-19). Sign up is quick, free and means you will be alerted when information is published.

Sign up here:

https://www.gov.uk/email-signup?link=/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

Follow the Department for Education on Twitter for the latest updates:

https://twitter.com/educationgovuk

Employer support in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

The government has published a full range of support measures for UK employers and employees:

https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/

The information outlines how to access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply.

 

 

 

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