Coronavirus (COVID 19) Updated 16.03.2020
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.
The novel coronavirus is called ‘novel’ because it is new. It was first reported in December 2019 in Wuhan City in China.
In accordance with Regulation 3, the Secretary of State declares that the incidence or transmission of novel Coronavirus constitutes a serious and imminent threat to public health.
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
Pupils, students, staff and visitors should wash their hands:
- Before leaving home
- On arrival at school
- After using the toilet
- After breaks and sporting activities
- Before food preparation
- Before eating any food, including snacks
- Before leaving school
Face masks for the general public, pupils or students, or staff are not recommended to protect from infection, as there is no evidence of benefit from their use outside healthcare environments.
Advice for parents/carers
We remind parents that should their child be unwell with a fever (temperature of 37.8 or more) and
continuous cough, that your child remain off school and follow the guidance given by the NHS. Please
ensure that you call the school to report your child's absence
Further to the recent Government guidelines issued on 16th March 2020, please see below
- Any staff and children with underlying medical conditions who could be potentially at greater risk of infection have been advised following the updated guidance to NOT come into school. If your child falls into any of these categories, please contact the school and arrange to keep your child off. If you are not aware of the latest guidance, please see below.
- If you or your child have symptoms, stay at home for 7 days
- If a member of the household has symptoms, household members should stay at home for 14 days, from the day the first person got symptoms
- If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.
- If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.
In terms of social isolating, the advice gives an emphasis to those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures. The guidance states, aside from those who are aged 70 or older (regardless of medical condition), this group includes those who have an underlying health condition listed below (i.e. anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds):
- chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
- chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
- chronic kidney disease
- chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
- chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
- problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
- a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
- being seriously overweight (a BMI of 40 or above)
- those who are pregnant
Note: there are some clinical conditions which put people at even higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. If you fall into this category, further advice will be given directly by NHS England in due course.
People falling into this group are those who may be at particular risk due to complex health problems such as:
- People who have received an organ transplant and remain on ongoing immunosuppression medication
- People with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radiotherapy
- People with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia who are at any stage of treatment
- People with severe chest conditions such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma (requiring hospital admissions or courses of steroid tablets)
- People with severe diseases of body systems, such as severe kidney disease (dialysis)
For staff and children who suffer any of these health conditions we must take steps to reduce social interaction. These steps are :
- Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough;
- Avoid non-essential use of public transport, varying your travel times to avoid rush hour, when possible, work from home, where possible.
- Avoid large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars, clubs
- Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media.
- Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.
- Everyone should be trying to follow these measures as much as is pragmatic.
If you are worried about your symptoms or those of a child or colleague, please call NHS 111. Do not go directly to your GP or other healthcare environment
The Department for Education has launched a new helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education. Staff, parents and young people can contact the helpline as follows:
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)
The government continue to monitor the coronavirus situation and work with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and international community, and are ready to put in place precautionary measures should the need arise.