Staying safe in schools, colleges and early years

COVID-19 symptoms in children

If your child has any of the following symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), you will need to book a test online or call 119 and keep them off school to self-isolate for 10 days.

  • A high temperature
  • A new, continuous cough
  • A loss of, or change to their sense of smell or taste

Symptoms A high temperature This means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature) A new, continuous cough This means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you us

It is important that you only book a test if your child has one or more of the symptoms listed above.

If your child has had a test your household must isolate until you receive the test result. Your household can only stop isolating if the test is negative.

Asymptomatic testing

Your child’s nursery, school or college may be taking part in the asymptomatic testing programme. Rapid testing using lateral flow devices (LFDs) will help to identify people who are infectious and can spread the virus without knowing, but do not have any coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms. Those who test positive must self-isolate for 10 days, along with the rest of their household, helping to reduce spread of the virus and keeping other pupils and students in face-to-face education.

Nurseries and primary school children

Pre-school children and primary aged pupils do not need to be regularly tested. However, staff will be taking part in the asymptomatic testing programme to help reduce transmission of the virus and keep everyone safe. Households of any children that attend an education setting are encouraged to self-test at home

Secondary school pupils and college students

Upon return, from 8 March, all secondary aged pupils and students in school and college (year 7 and above) should take a test four times - 3 times on site at the school or college’s testing site and the fourth at home using a home test kit, which will be provided by the school/college.

You should have received a letter from your school or college to confirm this, and details of their testing programme. If you have not received information relating to testing from your school or college, please contact your child’s school or college direct.

The first 3 tests should be taken 3 to 5 days apart. Once pupils and students have had one negative test result they can return to school or college.

Following this, all secondary aged pupils and college students will then be given home test kits by their school or college, and will be asked to regularly test themselves twice a week at home and report the results to NHS Test and Trace, as well as with your school or college.  The home test kits will include information on how to carry out the tests and how to report the results. Schools and colleges will have their own small testing sites so that pupils who are unable to test themselves at home can still participate.

  • If your child is aged 11 and attending a secondary school, you or another adult should conduct the test.
  • If your child is aged 12 to 17 they will need adult supervision to self-test and report. You or another adult may conduct the test if necessary.
  • Students aged 18 and over should self-test and report the result, with assistance if needed.

If your child tests positive at home, school or college, they will need to:

We strongly encourage you and your child to take part in the school or college’s testing programme, to help us break the chains of transmission and manage the virus. Your child will not be stopped from returning to school or college if you or they choose not to be tested, and will return to face-to-face education in line with their school or college’s arrangements.

Anyone with symptoms, whether they are involved in this programme or not, should book a free NHS test and follow government self-isolation guidance until the results of their test are known.

Self-testing at home

Members of households, childcare or support bubbles of school staff and pupils

From 1 March 2021, if you’re a member of a household, childcare bubble or support bubble of staff or a pupil (but not a secondary school pupil, a primary or secondary school staff member)

It is recommended you get tested twice a week, 3 or 4 days apart.

You can do this

  • At a local test site
  • By collecting a home test kit from a test site
  • By ordering a home test kit online

Take a test at a rapid lateral flow test site

You can take a rapid lateral flow test at a local site. Testing at these sites is assisted, which means you will swab yourself under the supervision of a trained operator.

You may need to book an appointment.

Find your nearest rapid lateral flow test site.

Collect test kits

You can collect 2 packs of home test kits at a local collection point. Each pack contains 7 tests.

Anyone 18 or over can collect a kit. You can check online if the location is busy before you go.

Find your nearest home test kit collection point.

Order home test kits online

If you cannot get tested at your workplace, or are unable to go to a test site or collect test kits, you can order a home test kit online.

Do not order online if you can get a test through other methods. This frees up home delivery for those who need it most.

Order rapid lateral flow home test kits

Abi shows us how to do a Covid-19 Self-Test

If you, your child, or someone in your household or childcare bubble are worried about what is involved in self-testing, then Abi can help provide some reassurance with this video she has made about doing a self-test at home.

There are also individual videos for each step of the test provided by the NHS

Face coverings on school transport

It is a legal requirement that all children and young people aged 11 and over must wear a face covering on public transport. In accordance with advice from Public Health England, children and young people aged 11 and over, must also wear a face covering when travelling on dedicated school/college transport - they must wear a face covering for the whole of their journey to and from secondary school or college. This does not apply to those children and young people who are exempt from wearing a face covering on public transport.  We will be working jointly with schools, colleges and transport operators to monitor compliance.

More information on exemptions

More information on school transport and COVID-19

Face coverings in school

In schools and colleges where pupils and students in year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn by everyone (unless exempt) when moving around the premises, outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained.

In these schools and colleges, it is now also recommend that face coverings should be worn in classrooms and during activities, unless social distancing can be maintained.

Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings and we expect adults and pupils to be sensitive to those needs. There is more information on the new restrictions and education on the website

Stay apart so your children can stay together

When dropping off or collecting your child from school, college or nursery, please remember to socially distance.  You should try to stay 2m away from people who are not from your own household and move away from the school gates as soon as possible.  If you are unable to do this then please consider wearing a face covering and try to limit the time you are in close contact with other people.  By staying apart and following the advice of your child’s school you can help your children stay together.

Graphic of father and son with masks on kneeling by school gates with text Plese stay apart so your children can stay together

Ventilation in schools

Many schools will be opening their windows when children return to class to allow for the flow of fresh air as there is strong evidence that getting as much fresh air as possible into buildings, including your own home, will significantly reduce the spread of infections, including coronavirus. This may mean that the temperature in your child’s classroom will be a little bit chillier than normal, so where possible we recommend that you provide your child with an extra layer of clothing to wear under their normal uniform.

At all times remember the golden rules

  • HANDS - Wash your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds.
  • FACE - Cover your face in enclosed spaces, especially where social distancing may be difficult and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
  • SPACE - Stay 2 metres apart where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place.

Let's keep Herefordshire safe together

Student in classroom with hands in air and text HANDS FACE SPACE

For local advice about coronavirus visit:

For the latest government coronavirus guidance visit: