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Corona Virus (COVID-19) Updates

27th March 2020

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

Guidance on implementing social distancing in education and childcare settings

On 24th March we published new guidance on how to implement social distancing in education and childcare settings. This guidance also gives advice for individuals in vulnerable health groups:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-social-distancing-in-education-and-childcare-settings

It is important to read this alongside the overall guidance for social distancing:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults

Staying at home guidance

In his address to the nation on coronavirus (COVID-19), the Prime Minister asked people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes.

There is no change in guidance for education settings, which remain closed except for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children. We continue to ask that parents keep their children at home, wherever possible.

The full stay at home guidance is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others

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.

Guidance on vulnerable children and young people

New guidance has been published answering some of your frequently asked questions about the provisions being made for vulnerable children and young people. This covers children and young people:

  • supported by the child social care system
  • with education health and care (EHC) plans
  • in alternative provision (AP) settings

You can access the guidance at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-vulnerable-children-and-young-people/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-vulnerable-children-and-young-people

Information to cascade to parents and carers

From Friday 20 March schools, childcare and other educational settings are closed for everyone except:

  • children of critical workers
  • vulnerable children

We have published guidance for parents and carers:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers

Critical workers

If parents’ work is critical to the coronavirus response, their children will be prioritised for early years and education provision.

The Government has published a list of critical workers:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

Please cascade the above information to parents and carers where possible.

Further details on exams and grades announced

New details regarding the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on summer exams has been released.

The exam regulator, Ofqual, and exam boards will work with teachers to provide grades to students whose exams have been cancelled this summer, following our actions to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Ofqual and exam boards will be discussing with teachers’ representatives before finalising an approach, to ensure that it is as fair as possible.

Find details on the impact on summer exams here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/further-details-on-exams-and-grades-announced

More information will be provided as soon as possible.

Handwashing advice

The most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves is to wash their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and travelling on public transport.

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

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

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 to Sunday)

Please note, we are currently experiencing high volumes of calls. We appreciate your patience at this time and apologise for any wait that you may experience. To ensure that we answer your calls as quickly as possible, we have now extended our opening hours to cover weekends and are increasing the number of call handlers available to answer your calls.

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

Parent update - coronavirus 24th March
Parent update (Years 11 & 13) - March 23rd
Parent update - coronavirus 20th Mar
Parent update - coronavirus 19th Mar
Questions answered - 18th Mar
KS5 Letter - 17th March
KS4 Letter - 17th March
KS4 Home Study Support - 17th March
KS3 Letter - 17th March
KS3 Home Study Support - 17th March
School closure - Coronavirus 17th Mar
Suspected cases - letter to parents 16th Mar
Parent update - Coronavirus 13 Mar
Coronavirus - all parents 26 Feb