Covid 19 / Coronavirus Advice and Communications
Updates with regard to June 1st opening
New Free School Meal Applications
Changes from 11th May 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
We will be closed to the majority of children from Monday 23rd March.
The Government has now issued advice clarifying the expectations of schools in relation to the provision for critical workers and vulnerable children whilst schools are closed to the majority of children.
Please also see below the latest Government advice concerning self isolation and schools below.
Information on the Food Voucher Scheme
New Coronavirus Helpline
A single phone number is now available for anyone in Somerset who needs Coronavirus-related support from their councils.
The Somerset Coronavirus Support Helpline number, 0300 790 6275, is now live and will make it easier for people access any local authority help they may need, including emotional support, in the current crisis.
It links together the district and county council contact centres and will be operating seven days a week, 8am to 6pm, making it the one number you need to remember for Coronavirus-related enquiries.
The district and county councils usual phone numbers will be running as normal alongside the new number for non-Coronavirus related issues.
The new number won’t cover medical advice, for which people will need to continue to use the 111 NHS online service and only ring 111 if they cannot get help online.
Anyone who can’t find help within their own local networks and volunteers, can use the new number to get help and advice around:
• Personal care and support including food and delivery of prescriptions
• Support for the homeless
• Emotional support if you’re feeling worried or anxious
• Transport to medical appointments
• Waste collection and disposal
• Financial support
Callers will be asked to describe the support they require and will be connected with others for resolution.
The 0300 790 6275 number is being staffed by the five councils in Somerset and will be available seven days per week 8am – 6pm.
Meanwhile, the five councils in Somerset are getting in touch with people on their data base that may be vulnerable to see if they need assistance with anything like supplies of food, help with transport and other support.
Letter and form for parents wishing to apply for school provision from 23rd March 2020:
Information for parents of pupils who are eligible for Free School Meals
Current 111 advice on the NHS website is:
Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms
Stay at home if you have either:
- a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
- a new, continuous cough – this means you've started coughing repeatedly
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home.
Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you're staying at home.
How long to stay at home
- if you have symptoms, stay at home for 7 days
- if you live with other people, they 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.
Read our advice about staying at home.
Urgent advice:Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:
- you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
- your condition gets worse
- your symptoms do not get better after 7 days
Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.
How to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus (social distancing)
Everyone should do what they can to stop coronavirus spreading.
It is particularly important for people who:
- are 70 or over
- have a long-term condition
- are pregnant
- have a weakened immune system
wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
always wash your hands when you get home or into work
use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
avoid close contact with people who have symptoms of coronavirus
only travel on public transport if you need to
work from home, if you can
avoid social activities, such as going to pubs, restaurants, theatres and cinemas
avoid events with large groups of people
use phone, online services, or apps to contact your GP surgery or other NHS services
do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
do not have visitors to your home, including friends and family
The NHS will contact you from Monday 23 March 2020 if you are at particularly high risk of getting seriously ill with coronavirus. You'll be given specific advice about what to do.
Do not contact your GP or healthcare team at this stage – wait to be contacted.
Who is at risk?
How coronavirus is spread
Because it's a new illness, we do not know exactly how coronavirus spreads from person to person.
Similar viruses are spread in cough droplets.
It's very unlikely it can be spread through things like packages or food.
There are some countries and areas where there's a higher chance of coming into contact with someone with coronavirus.
If you're planning to travel abroad and are concerned about coronavirus, see advice for travellers on GOV.UK.
Treatment for coronavirus
There is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus.
Antibiotics do not help, as they do not work against viruses.
Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness.
You'll need to stay in isolation, away from other people, until you have recovered.
Page last reviewed: 16 March 2020
Next review due: 17 March 2020
Latest Government advice to schools:
What you need to know
- staff, young people and children should stay at home if they are unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature to avoid spreading infection to others. Otherwise they should attend education or work as normal
- if staff, young people or children become unwell on site with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature they should be sent home
- clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces more often than usual using your standard cleaning products
- supervise young children to ensure they wash their hands for 20 seconds more often than usual with soap and water or hand sanitiser and catch coughs and sneezes in tissues
- posters and lesson plans on general hand hygiene can be found on the eBug website
- unless you have been directly advised to close by the local Public Health England Health Protection Team, we recommend all education settings remain open
This guidance will assist staff in addressing coronavirus (COVID-19) in educational settings. This includes childcare, schools, further and higher educational institutions.
This guidance may be updated in line with the changing situation.
The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are a new, continuous cough or a high temperature.
For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild infection.
What to do if someone develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) on site
If anyone becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature in an education setting they should be sent home and advised to follow the staying at home guidance.
If a child is awaiting collection, they should be moved, if possible and if appropriate, to a room where they can be isolated behind a closed door. Settings should be mindful of individual children’s needs – for example it would not be appropriate for younger children to be alone without adult supervision. Ideally, a window should be opened for ventilation. If it is not possible to isolate them, move them to an area which is at least 2 metres away from other people.
If they need to go to the bathroom while waiting to be collected, they should use a separate bathroom if possible. The bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected using standard cleaning products before being used by anyone else.
If they need clinical advice, they (or their teacher, parent or guardian) should go online to NHS 111 (or call 111 if they don’t have internet access). In an emergency, call 999 if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk. Do not visit the GP, pharmacy, urgent care centre or a hospital.
If a member of staff has helped someone who was taken unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, they do not need to go home unless they develop symptoms themselves. They should wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after any contact with someone who is unwell.
In most cases, closure of the educational setting will not be needed but this will be a local decision based on various factors such as establishment size and risk of further spread.
If there is an urgent public health action to take, the educational setting will be contacted by the local Public Health England Health Protection Team who will undertake a risk assessment and advise on any actions or precautions that should be taken. PHE will rarely advise a school to close but this may be necessary if there are so many staff being isolated that the school has operational issues. Your local authority will support you to make this assessment. PHE will work with the headteacher, principal or management team, and the Local Authority Public Health team, to advise on the management of children, pupils, students or staff.
Limiting spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in educational settings
Education settings can help reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) by reminding everyone of the public health advice.
Staff, children, pupils, students and families should be reminded to wash their hands for 20 seconds more frequently than normal.
Frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, using your standard cleaning products. Posters, leaflets and other materials are available.
Cleaning and Waste
See guidance on cleaning and waste disposal.
Tools for use in childcare and educational settings
There is a dedicated helpline number for educational settings – please call 0800 046 8687 for any specific question not covered on this page.
PHE has resource materials that contain public health advice about how you can help stop the spread of viruses, like those that cause coronavirus (COVID-19), by practising good respiratory and hand hygiene. To access, download and share this information, you will need to register for an account which only takes a couple of minutes.
Use e-Bug resources to teach pupils about hygiene.
Education Scotland produces resources for the use of schools in Scotland.