IMPORTANT: New self-isolation guidance for early years settings and schools

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Early Years
dan barton

Dear Colleagues, 

We are sending this additional bulletin to you today due to some important changes that we are implementing in Cumbria, with immediate effect.

Detailed below is the latest guidance from our Public Health team surrounding an updated local framework and guidance to deal with the rapid rise of COVID case rates in schools and settings across Cumbria.

The updated local framework and guidance is designed to give you more resilience in fighting rising case numbers, ensuring (as far as possible) less disruption to your provision.

Finally, I know that many of you are feeling the pressures of this extraordinary situation we all find ourselves in. So, I would just like to take this opportunity to reiterate my appreciation to all of you for the vitally important work you all do. 

Best wishes,

Dan Barton

Assistant Director - Education and Skills

IMPORTANT: New self-isolation guidance for schools and early years settings

Managing COVID-19 cases is becoming increasingly challenging for educational settings in Cumbria, so Cumbria’s Director of Public Health, Colin Cox and education leaders have agreed the following local additional advice measures to be implemented from today.

Early Years settings should ask the parent/carer of a child aged 0 – 4 who has a sibling who has tested positive, if they are willing to keep their child at home for 4 days.

If the child has not developed any symptoms of illness by day 4, they can return to the setting.

Children and young people aged between the ages of 5 and 16, (unless exempt – see below) should now be advised to stay at home when a sibling tests positive for COVID-19 (via either a PCR or Lateral Flow test).

3-5 days following the onset of symptoms in the sibling who has tested positive (or test date if the positive case had no symptoms), the close contact child should get a PCR test. If this is negative, they can return to the setting, but should isolate again immediately and get another test if they develop symptoms of COVID-19 at a later date.

The groups exempt from this advice and able to continue to attend the setting when identified as a close contact of a sibling positive case are:

  • 12-18 year-olds who have had at least one dose of the vaccine more than 14 days ago
  • Any child aged between 5 – 16 who has tested positive for COVID-19 themselves via a PCR test within the past 90 days.

Why is this guidance being issued now? 

In the week ending 17 September 2021, the 12-18 age group accounted for the greatest number of new cases in Cumbria followed by the 5-11 age group (+524 and +412 new cases respectively).

The 12-18 and 5-11 age groups also accounted for by far the greatest rates of new cases in Cumbria (1,431 and 1,106 new cases per 100k population respectively).

The 5-9 age group experienced the greatest numerical and proportional increase in new cases (+53%).


Several resources to support schools and settings implement this new guidance can be found on the Cumbria County Council website:

Additional important advice

Any parents or carers who still want their child to continue to attend school have the right to send their child into the setting. In these situations, we strongly advise the child or young person identified as a sibling close contact to get a PCR test before attending the setting.

Anyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19 should continue to get a PCR test and stay at home. Individuals informed by Test & Trace to isolate should stay at home for the time advised.