Special Edition! Healthy Lives Newsletter - Monday 20th July

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Healthy Lives - Banner 1 May 2020 - FINAL

In this special edition, the Healthy Lives Team have put together a film in collaboration with schools, to celebrate the best things about being back at school. 

The Healthy Lives team have also presented your frequently asked questions about COVID-19 to the Tower Hamlets Public Health team.  In this edition, you will find their answers and links to further information.

The Healthy Lives Team supports schools, pupils and families with everything to do with health and wellbeing. We want to help you to live fitter, healthier and happier lives.

We are incredibly proud in Tower Hamlets to have supported schools to gain more Healthy Schools awards than any other borough in London. So please use this newsletter in whatever way suits you best to stay as fit and healthy as possible.

If you're in a school, please share this newsletter using your social media or website using the following share button, or you can click the hyperlink in the top right corner of this email:

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Just to let you know, you're receiving this because you have either opted in to get emails from the council relating to children and education, or you are one of the Healthy Lives team's regular contacts, or you may also have been forwarded this email from your school.

If you know anyone who would like to sign up to this newsletter, please send them the following link. They will need to close the initial pop-up subscription box and complete the one on the main webpage.  They will then need to choose Children and Education as their preferred topic:


Take care,

The Healthy Lives team at London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

Here's a selection of answers and guidance to frequently asked questions about COVID-19...

Healthy Lives film

Celebrating Tower Hamlets schools film!

The Healthy Lives team have put together a film to promote the best things about going back to school.  Lots of schools sent in videos of how well they have been doing, interviewing pupils and teachers to find out how excited they have been about finally being back in school! Please use this film to promote going back to school in September.

Play film >

Take away food

Is it safe to order takeaways?

It is very unlikely that you can catch coronavirus from food because cooking thoroughly will kill the virus. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness and it is not known to be transmitted by exposure to food or food packaging.

It is especially important to wash hands before handling food or eating. Everyone should wash their hands regularly with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, to reduce the risk of illness.

 Find out more > Wash your hands >

School equipment

Can my child get COVID-19 by touching or using another child’s pencil, cutlery, cup, toy or other item?

Cleaning and hygiene are effective measures in controlling the spread of the virus. Schools have incorporated regular hand washing into the timetable and have been advised to clean surfaces that children and staff are touching, such as toys, books, desks, chairs, doors, sinks, toilets, light switches and bannisters, more regularly than normal.

Practices are also in place to reduce the number of people mixing; such as bubbles of children; staggered school times and designated outdoor spaces; and this aims to limit the exposure for each child. Schools are also reducing the use of shared resources by:

  • limiting the amount of shared resources that are taken home and limiting the exchange of take-home resources between children, young people and staff
  • seeking to prevent the sharing of stationery and other equipment where possible
  • shared materials and surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected more frequently

   More information >

Wash clothes

When my child returns from school, should I wash their clothes and shoes everyday?

The government advice is that there is no need for stringent cleaning of people or clothes following a day in an educational or childcare setting. This is only required by medical and care professionals providing intimate care to people with COVID- 19. It’s important to ensure that all adults and children:  

  • frequently wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and dry thoroughly 
  • clean their hands on arrival at the setting, before and after eating, and after sneezing or coughing
  • are encouraged not to touch their mouth, eyes and nose
  • use a tissue or elbow to cough or sneeze and use bins for tissue waste (‘catch it, bin it, kill it’)

Further information >


Do we need to wipe down items coming into the house, such as groceries, with alcohol wipes as soon as we bring them home from the supermarket?

There is no need to sanitise the outer packaging of food. You should still follow good hygiene practice by washing your hands after handling any outer packaging. It is very unlikely that you can catch coronavirus from food.

You should follow good hygiene and preparation practices when handling and eating raw fruit, leafy salads and vegetables. This includes washing fresh produce to help to remove any contamination on the surface.

Peeling the outer layers or skins of certain fruits and vegetables can also help to remove surface contamination.  It is advised not to wash raw chicken or other meat as this can lead to cross-contamination in your kitchen. It is important to wash your hands with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds before and after you prepare food.

Find out more >

First aid

What should teachers do if there is a first aid incident unrelated to COVID-19? 

Teachers are expected to respond to incidents as expected prior to COVID-19 and the child’s safety is priority. Protective clothing of any sort over and above what would normally be used (e.g. disposable gloves when dealing with a bleeding cut) with individuals who are not showing any symptoms is not recommended.  Good hand washing and regular cleaning of surfaces is the best approach to take.


If we are doing social distancing visits and are sitting on a piece of garden furniture or chair, do we need to wipe the chair down with alcohol wipes before and after use?

The most effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to follow social distancing and personal hygiene guidelines. Washing your hands regularly, especially after being in a public space, as well as avoiding touching your face, will help limit the transmission of the virus.

When meeting others, the priority should be following these personal hygiene and social distancing guidelines, though you may want to clean any furniture before and after using normal household disinfectants and cleaners. Frequently touched areas such as door handles and bathrooms should be regularly cleaned with normal household disinfectants, as set out in the government’s guidance. 

Government guidance >

Sharing food

Is there any extra food preparation guidance or extra hygiene practices we need to adopt when preparing food for other people? Can we share food made by us with other people?

There is no evidence that food or packaging is a major route of transmission for COVID-19, especially if food is cooked properly. Good hygiene practice is the best protective measure and so anyone preparing food should wash their hands more often with soap for at least 20 seconds.

This should be done before and after handling food and directly after being in a public place or coughing or sneezing. Where personal hygiene or social distancing guidance can’t be followed, the sharing of food with those from other households should be avoided.


When we are receiving post or parcels, do we need to wipe these down or leave them for 72 hours before opening? Can we open post straight away?

There are no extra precautions needed beyond the standard social distancing and personal hygiene guidelines when receiving post and parcels. You should make sure that you maintain a two metre distance from your delivery person and you may want to wash your hands after handling the package or post.

While COVID-19 can survive on surfaces, there is no evidence that packages and post are a major route of transmission and effective handwashing and social distancing will reduce any risks. 

Paddling pools

What is the guidance on the use of paddling pools and sharing with other children?

To limit the spread of COVID-19, it is important to follow the social distancing guidance. This allows for families from different households to meet but it is important that you should socially distance from anyone not in your household or bubble. The sharing of items and objects, including paddling pools, is not recommended as this may make following this guidance impossible. 

Social distancing guidance >

Wiping veg

When we bring them home, do we need to wash fresh fruit and vegetables which are not in packaging for longer, or do we wash them as normal?

While there is no evidence that fruit and vegetables are a major route of transmission of COVID-19, all fruit and vegetables should be washed before eating, as recommended by the NHS.

This can help get rid of a range of bacteria (including E. coli) as well as soil. The most effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 when cooking is to ensure you follow personal hygiene guidelines, washing your hands thoroughly before and after. 

How to wash fruit and veg >

Staying healthy

Is there anything we can do to boost our immune systems, as we know getting more sleep helps to avoid catching flu?

Eating well, keeping physically fit, getting a healthy amount of sleep and reducing harmful substances like alcohol and smoking are essential to staying healthy. The NHS provides a number of helpful resources to support achieving this, including the Live Well portal for adults and older children, and the Change 4 Life website for families and children. 

Live Well portal > Change4Life >

TH Healthy Schools logo


The Healthy Lives Team want to support you with all aspects of health and wellbeing. We will be sending you regular newsletters that will be relevant whether you are at home with your children, working from home or at school. 

Please feel free to share this email.


Coronavirus updates and advice

The council is supporting the nation's efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus, while running our most critical services and supporting our residents, including those that are vulnerable.  

We are regularly publishing advice for residents, local businesses and more at www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/coronavirus 

We are also sharing updates with our subscribers in regular emails, and publishing stories on social media using #TowerHamletsTogether.

Sign up to our 'health and wellbeing - coronavirus' newsletter to get regular updates delivered to your inbox.

 Sign up for updates >

Stay at home

More on staying healthy, happy and entertained at home

In addition to the highlights featured here, the council has put together a whole host of resources to help families and individuals stay happy, healthy and entertained while they spend more time at home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

From online Idea Store materials to educational activities, learning a new skill or hobby, taking a virtual museum or zoo tour, keeping fit or just having pure fun, we've got it all in one place.

More activities and resources >

Did you know that Tower Hamlets offers other email newsletters to keep you up to date on a variety of topics?

  See the list and sign up!