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When to keep your child off school

If your child is showing even one of the main symptoms of coronavirus you should keep them at home.

The main symptoms are:

  • A high temperature
  • A new, continuous cough – This means coughing a lot, for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
  • A loss or change to sense of smell or taste – this means they cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Children with mild colds, runny noses, and sore throats without a fever can go to school as usual.

If your child has other chronic health conditions, like cystic fibrosis, make contact with your child’s specialist team and give them a call for further guidance.

Getting tested

If your child has symptoms of coronavirus you should book a test for them as soon as possible.

Your child and your household must self-isolate at home until you have the result of this test.

Find out how to book a test.

Returning to school

If your child’s test is negative, they can go back to school as soon as they feel well enough.

If your child’s test is positive, they will need to continue to isolate for 10 days. The rest of the household and any support bubble will also need to isolate for 14 days. If anyone develops symptoms, they will need to book a test.

After 10 days your child can go back to school, if they do not have any symptoms other than a cough or change to sense of smell or taste. These symptoms can last for weeks after the infection has gone.

If your child still has a temperature after 10 days or feels unwell, they should continue to isolate until the symptoms have gone. They should also wait for 48 hours after the end of any sickness or diarrhoea.

Your child should not come to school if...

You should start isolating at home. Ring the school and tell them that someone in the household has coronavirus symptoms.

Book a test for the person with symptoms.

If the test is negative ring and tell the school. The household can stop isolating as long as the person feels well and as long as everyone in the household or support bubble who has symptoms also tests negative.

Your child can go back to school after you have told the school the test result was negative. 

Ring the school and tell them that someone in the household has tested positive.

The person should continue isolating at home for 10 days. 

Your child and the rest of the household should isolate for 14 days. If anyone else in the household develops symptoms, they should book a test.

Your child can return to school after 14 days.

NHS Test and Trace or a local contact tracing service may contact you if your child has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.

If they do, start isolating at home. Ring the school and tell them that your child has been told to isolate by the contact tracing services.

Your child should isolate for 14 days. They can go back to school after 14 days if they have not developed symptoms themselves.

Ring the school and tell them that you've come back from a country on the quarantine list and must isolate for 14 days.

Your child and household should quarantine for 14 days. 

Your child can go back to school after 14 days. 

Ring the school and tell them that your child has been told to shield or isolate.

Your child should shield or isolate for as long as they are advised to do so. They can return to school after shielding or isolation ends.

Start isolating at home. Only your child needs to isolate unless they develop symptoms or someone in the family develops symptoms.

They should isolate for 14 days.

The school will tell you when your child can return to school or when their bubble reopens.

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