Advice to schools, settings and parents
Are schools and settings in Hackney open?
Yes. All schools and early years settings are open as usual, with schools attendance mandatory for all pupils. See the full government guidance for more information:
- early years and childcare: Coronavirus (Covid-19)
- actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak
- what parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges
Schools should review and, where necessary, update their risk assessment, reviewing whether it is effective and working as planned. School should also ensure that all stakeholders can access this risk assessment and feedback any concerns.
Please email the Council’s Health, Safety and Wellbeing team on firstname.lastname@example.org for further advice and guidance and to return a copy of your updated risk assessment.
HR and staffing
The Council has drafted a series of guidance documents:
- HR Coronavirus FAQs to address potential teaching/support staffing matters that may arise due to coronavirus. This includes information about reporting absence for those schools using iTrent for payroll purposes
- Coronavirus wellbeing guidance for school staff containing advice and resources for school staff during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Guidance for Hackney Education staff visiting schools and early years settings
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - guidance for schools and educational settings
DSE/home working guidance
Hackney Council's Health and Safety team has developed guidance for council and school staff who are working from home during the Coronavirus pandemic. These include:
- Guidance on managing the health and safety of homeworkers
- Temporary working from home (DSE) - Covid-19
- Top Ten Tips for your health and wellbeing while working from home
- Working from home - fire safety
Asymptomatic mass testing in schools
Rapid testing using Lateral Flow Devices (LFD)s will support the return to face-to face education by helping to identify people who are asymptomatic, i.e., infectious but do not have any coronavirus (Covid-19) symptoms.
The government has rolled out a programme for mass, asymptomatic testing in schools using lateral flow devices (LFDs).
Early years settings, primary, secondary and special schools have all been issued with home test kits for staff to regularly test themselves. Testing remains voluntary but is strongly encouraged.
Secondary schools and colleges are testing pupils and students 3 times on site upon their return to school / college (3 to 5 days apart). After this, all secondary aged pupils and college students will be given home test kits and will be asked to regularly test themselves twice a week at home and report results to NHS Test and Trace, as well as with the school or college. Testing remains voluntary but is strongly encouraged.
Testing of pupils in early years settings and primary schools will not be carried out.
In addition, households (including childcare and support bubbles) of primary, secondary and college age children and young people also have access to regular twice weekly lateral flow testing. This will help reduce the spread of the virus and we encourage all families to take up this offer.
This will be available:
- through the individual's employer, if they offer testing to employees
- by collecting a home test kit from a local test site. Anyone aged 18 or over can collect 2 packs of 7 tests from the following local testing stations in Hackney - Hackney Central (Mare Street, E9 6ND), Bentley Road (Bentley Road Carpark, N1 4BZ) and Rockwood Road (former bus garage, N16 6SD)
- from 15 March onwards, Community Collect will be a service where you can collect test kits locally. Please keep checking Hackney Council's website for updates.
- by ordering a home test kit online – please do not order online if you can access testing through other routes, this frees up home delivery for those who need it most
- View useful information about asymptomatic testing (including guidance documents, resource folders, Q&A documents and government guidance)
Vaccination for identified groups is being rolled out nationwide - see Hackney’s vaccination resource page for more information.
What to do if a pupil or member of staff has coronavirus symptoms or tests positive for coronavirus
The Council has drafted guidance for schools and education settings setting out actions to follow in various scenarios which may arise where pupils and/or school staff become symptomatic or test positive for coronavirus. The guidance is part of the City and Hackney Local Outbreak Control Plan which has been drafted to define operational roles and responsibilities in response to local clusters, outbreaks or cases in high risk areas, communities or settings within Hackney and/or the City of London.
Government guidance Coronavirus (COVID-19): implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings, also sets out actions to follow for symptomatic and confirmed cases in schools and settings. It advises that symptomatic individuals must be sent home and advised to follow the COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection guidance. As well as what PPE should be worn by staff caring for a symptomatic individual and cleaning of the infected area afterwards, it also provides advice on actions to take should a child, young person or staff member test positive for coronavirus.
Symptomatic children, young people and staff should also be encouraged to request a coronavirus test as soon as possible by visiting NHS.UK to arrange or contact NHS 119 via telephone if they do not have internet access.
In an emergency, call 999 if the child or staff member is seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk. Do not visit the GP, pharmacy, urgent care centre or a hospital.
Find out more about getting tested in Hackney
The London Coronavirus Response Cell also provides useful information and resources for schools.
Other action to take/government advice
Schools and settings are advised to refer to the following government guidance to assist them in providing advice for pupils, students, staff and parents or carers. Given the quickly changing nature of the situation, this advice is regularly updated and we recommend that you refer back to it on an ongoing basis:
- Government guidance for schools and other educational settings - Guidance to educational settings about COVID-19
- Information for the public - Coronavirus (COVID-19): UK Government response
Please also help to support the campaign which promotes basic hygiene practices, such as regularly washing hands and always sneezing into a tissue (and then immediately disposing of it), to stem the spread of viruses. NHS advice is available regarding washing your hands.
Department for Education Coronavirus Helpline
The Department for Education has set up a Coronavirus Helpline for school staff and leaders to help manage the spread of coronavirus:
- Telephone: 080 0046 8687 (Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm; Saturday and Sunday 10am t 4pm)
- Email: DfE.email@example.com