What to do if there is a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 in school

Here is a flowchart summaring these steps: What do do if there is a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 in a school

If at home, a student or staff member develops symptoms of COVID-19 (fever>37.8, has a continuous cough or loss of taste and / or smell):

If at school, a student or staff member develops symptoms of COVID-19 (fever > 37.8, has a continuous cough or loss of taste and / or smell)

School to:

  • Follow guidance on cleaning
  • Ensure stock of PPE in case further symptomatic cases on site
  • Await test results (48-72 hours)

If a household member of staff or student develops symptoms of COVID-19

Does a child or staff member develop symptoms in the next 14 days?

If no symptons develop, no further action – after 14 days the student or staff member can return to school

Does the student / staff member test positive or negative for COVID-19?

If the test result is positive, school to:

  • Inform DfE on 0800 046 8687 and selecting the option for reporting a positive case. Open Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm, and 10am to 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Contact Public Health England if you have more than one case in a 14 day period eg cluster or outbreak on 0300 303 0450
  • Inform Steve Dunham DunhamS@ealing.gov.uk, 07940 546 263 or
    Raj Chowdhury ChowdhuryR@ealing.gov.uk 07568 130165
  • and the Council’s public health team publichealth@ealing.gov.uk.

Track and trace

Anyone who has tested positive should be encouraged to participate in the NHS test and trace process.

If the test result is negative, the staff members or students can return to school if they are well, with no fever for 48 hours.

If staff member / student has previously been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 (and has entered this flowchart via scenario 3 or 4), they still need to complete the 14 day isolation period.

They can return to school after 14 days if they are well and have had no fever for 48 hours.

Public Health England will work with the school to:

Any students or staff members who go on to develop symptoms should inform the school as soon as possible and repeat the process from the beginning.

Public Health England will work with the school to implement any further measures.

After 14 days, if children or staff members do not develop symptoms, they can return to school.

What is a contact?

A ‘contact’ is a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 anytime from 2 days before the person was symptomatic up to 10 days from onset of symptoms (this is when they are infectious to others). For example, a contact can be:

  • people who spend significant time in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19
  • a person who has had face-to-face contact (within one metre), with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, including:
    • being coughed on
    • having a face-to-face conversation within one metre
    • having skin-to-skin physical contact, or
    • contact within one metre for one minute or longer without face-to-face contact
  • a person who has been within 2 metres of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes
  • a person who has travelled in a small vehicle with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or in a large vehicle or plane near someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Read about how schools can inform close contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 case.

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Last updated: 22 Sep 2020

Ealing Learning Partnership (ELP) directorate and associates

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