Updated Public Health advice for education settings

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Important Public Health advice re COVID-19

Following recent enquiries the county council's Public Health team has provided the following updated FAQ guide.

Public Health resource pack for schools

Please download the latest Public Health resource pack for education settings which includes full guidance, a one page flow chart and letter templates.


Should the whole household isolate when someone has symptoms of COVID-19?

Following Colin Cox’s live Facebook session last night, we have been asked for clarity around household isolation guidance. The following guidance should be used:

When a member of your household develops symptoms of COVID-19

  • When an adult or child develops one or more symptoms of COVID-19 (a new continuous cough, high temperature or loss of/change to their sense of taste and smell) they need to get tested as soon as possible and the whole household needs to isolate at home immediately.
  • If the test result comes back NEGATIVE, the household can end their isolation (i.e. leave the house and return to normal including attending work and school) as long as:
    • the individual with symptoms has not had a high temperature for 48 hours
    • No-one else in the household has symptoms (if this is the case they also need to get tested and the household isolate until the result is known)
    • Members of the household have not been told they need to self-isolate because they are a close-contact of a positive case from outside the household
  • If the test comes back POSITIVE, the household should continue to isolate. The household should isolate for 14 days from the date that the person who has tested positive developed symptoms (or if they didn’t have symptoms, the date they had their test)
  • There is more information in the Stay at Home guidance

When a member of your household is told to isolate because they are a close contact of (or in the same bubble as) a positive case FROM A DIFFERENT HOUSEHOLD

  • When a child or adult is told by a school or local/national test and trace service to isolate, they should stay at home until the ‘end of isolation’ date advised
  • Other members of the household DO NOT need to isolate (unless they are also identified as a close contact of a positive case). Of course, young children will need someone to stay at home with them
  • The person who has been asked to isolate (because they are in the same bubble as a positive case, or have been identified as a close contact) does NOT need to get tested (unless they develop symptoms themselves). If they have symptoms or not, if they get a negative test result, they still need to isolate for the advised period of time (i.e. generally 14 days from the date they last had exposure to the positive case)

Should staff in educational settings be using the NHS Test and Trace App whilst at work?

There is specific national guidance on the use of the NHS COVID-19 app in education and childcare settings. We recommend that setting leaders read and follow the guidance (especially in relation to situations when the guidance recommends that contact tracing is paused.

Should we extend the advised isolation date for close contacts if further children or staff in the same bubble test positive?

As you will all be aware, the national guidance advises schools to send home symptomatic children and then if the child tests positive for COVID-19, identify close contacts from the setting and ask them to isolate for 14 days from the day they last had contact with the positive case.

In some circumstances there may be a number of days between a child developing symptoms and getting a test result. This means that children from the same group/bubble can continue to attend the setting for a while before being asked to isolate.

When this happens, and then a further individual from that isolated bubble/group tests positive – schools need to extend the isolation date for the bubble/group to now run for 14 days from the date that the staff and students last had close contact with the SECOND POSITIVE CASE.

Previously there was no specific national guidance around this and the only mention of this type of scenario was in the ‘Stay at Home’ guidance (which advises a different approach), but we are pleased we can now provide clarity around this following feedback from Public Health England.

Should we be taking any further action in relation to communal staff areas within our settings?

We are seeing some positive cases occurring in workplaces where staff share communal areas (e.g. staff rooms, office desks/equipment, kitchens, staff rooms).

We know everyone is working hard to consistently apply COVID-safe practice within their settings, but we’d recommend the following considerations:

  • If you have staff who share desks and office equipment, please ensure each person wipes down the equipment before and after use
  • When staff from different groups/bubbles come together in one room (or you have staff regularly sharing a small space such as a kitchen or office), maintain 2 metres distance and ventilate the room where possible. Minimise the amount of time in small shared spaces (ideally no longer than an hour at a time before leaving the space for a few minutes, allowing fresh air to circulate and then returning)
  • If staff develop COVID-19 symptoms at work, they should go home immediately. They should not be coming into work if any household members have symptoms and/or are awaiting test results

Any queries, please contact us via EducationIPC@cumbria.gov.uk