Coronavirus & school absence

The following information explains  when your child should stay off school and when they can return if they or anyone else in the household is affected by coronavirus

You can also download this guidance

Coronavirus absence – a guide for parents

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What to do if your child has coronavirus symptoms (fever measuring 37.8C, a new persistent cough or a change or loss of sense of smell or taste):

  • Child shouldn’t attend school
  • Child should get a test
  • Whole household self-isolates while waiting for test result
  • Inform school immediately about test results

They can return to school if child’s test comes back negative provided they have been fever-free for the 48 hours before returning to school, and feel well

If your child tests positive for coronavirus:

  • Child shouldn’t attend school
  • Child self-isolates for at least 10 days from when symptoms started (or from day of test if no symptoms)
  • Inform school immediately about test results
  • Whole household self-isolates for 14 days from day when symptoms started (or from day of test if no symptoms) – even if someone tests negative during those 14 days

They can return to school after 10 days, once child feels better, and has been fever-free for at least 48 hours. They can return to school after 10 days even if they have a cough or loss of smell / taste. These symptoms can last for several weeks once the infection is gone.

If someone in the household has symptoms:

  • Child shouldn’t attend school
  • Household member with symptoms should get a test
  • Whole household self-isolates while waiting for test result
  • Inform school immediately about test results

They can return to school when the household member’s test is negative, and child does not have COVID-19 symptoms

If somebody in the household has tested positive:

  • Child shouldn’t attend school
  • Whole household self-isolates for 14 days from day when symptoms started (or from day of test if no symptoms) – even if someone tests negative during those 14 days

Your child can return to school when they have completed 14 days of self-isolation, even if they test negative during the 14 days

If NHS Test and Trace has identified the child as a ‘close contact’ of a confirmed coronavirus case:

  • Child shouldn’t attend school
  • Child self-isolates for 14 days (as advised by NHS Test and Trace) – even if they test negative during those 14 days
  • Rest of household does not need to self-isolate, unless they are a ‘close contact’ too

Your child can return to school when they have completed 14 days of self-isolation, even if they test negative during the 14 days

If your family / child has travelled and needs to self-isolate as part of a period of quarantine:

  • Do not take unauthorised leave in term time
  • Consider quarantine requirements and FCO advice when booking travel
  • Provide information to school as per attendance policy
  • Returning from a destination where quarantine is needed:
  • Child shouldn’t attend school
  • Whole household self-isolates for 14 days – even if they test negative during those 14 days

They can return to school when the quarantine period of 14 days has been completed for the child, even if they test negative during those 14 days

If you have been advised by a medical / official source that my child must resume shielding:

  • Child shouldn’t attend school
  • Contact school as advised by attendance officer / pastoral team
  • Child should shield until you are informed that restrictions are lifted and shielding is paused again

Your child can go back when you’re informed that restrictions have been lifted and your child can return to school again

If you’re not sure who should get a test for coronavirus:

  • Only people with symptoms need to get a test
  • People without symptoms are not advised to get a test, even if they are a ‘close contact’ of someone who tests positive

Your child can return to school when conditions above, as matching your situation, are met

To book a test, visit nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119

For further information visit gov.uk/backtoschool