Coronavirus advice

Advice to schools, settings and parents

Are schools and settings in Hackney open?

On 18 March 2020, the government advised partial closure of all schools and the cancellation of all exams.  At this point schools, colleges, nurseries, childminders and other registered childcare settings were asked to remain open for children of critical workers and vulnerable children where they can.

The government has now proposed that a phased return to school is implemented for identified year groups from 1 June 2020.  This means that nursery aged children as well as children in reception, year 1 and year 6 will be welcomed back into school.  Secondary schools, sixth form, and further education colleges will also begin some face to face support with year 10 and 12 pupils.

There is no change to the offer for children and young people who are classed as vulnerable and / or are the children of critical workers who continue to be welcome to attend schools and settings (as they have been doing since March).

Government guidance on actions for educational and childcare settings to prepare for wider opening from 1 June 2020 provides more detail.

See also the Government guidance on what parents and carers need to know about schools and other education settings during the coronavirus outbreak which sets out what this means, who is counted as a critical worker and who is classed as vulnerable. It also provides information about free school meals.

What to do if a pupil or member of staff has coronavirus symptoms

Government guidance states the following on self isolation:

  • If you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for seven days from when your symptoms started. Symptoms are if you have either a high temperature or a new continuous cough
  • If you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill
  • For anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for seven days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period. (See ending isolation for more information)

Advise individuals not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. They do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them that they are staying at home.

Advise them to use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

  • they feel they cannot cope with their symptoms at home
  • their condition gets worse
  • their symptoms do not get better after seven days
  • Only call 111 if they cannot get help online

If a staff member or pupil has been diagnosed as having or is displaying symptoms of coronavirus, please refer them to government guidance on staying at home for information about why this is important and how best to manage it.

Staffing advice and guidance

Download guidance to support Headteachers handle potential teaching/support staffing matters that may arise due to coronavirus. This includes information about reporting absence for those schools using iTrent for staff management.

Further information relating to teaching/support staffing matters in relation to the government guidance stating schools can reopen from 1st June 2020 is available in the Returning to Schools FAQs.

You can also download guidance to support remote working.

Our coronavirus wellbeing guidance for school staff contains advice and resources for school staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

Other action to take/government advice

A UK-wide campaign has been launched to provide clear advice on how to slow the spread of coronavirus.

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:

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.

Schools/settings are advised to put advice and guidance on their own website and to check the above webpages as well as this Services for Schools website for ongoing updates.

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)

Other resources and materials

Public Health England have developed a range of Coronavirus Public Information Materials for communications with the general public.

There are posters and lesson plans on general hand hygiene

Hackney Local Offer also signposts to a number of useful resources and tools.


Hilary Smith, Head of Strategy, Policy and Governance