New DfE contact number for reporting confirmed COVID-19 cases
17 Sep 2020
Important information for nurseries, schools and colleges – new process for reporting positive confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your setting
DfE’s guidance for education and childcare settings sets out the process for managing confirmed positive cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) when the individual is known to have been in a school, college or early years setting.
We recognise that there have been some difficulties getting through to the local public health protection teams for advice on action to take on a positive case in the setting. As a result, from 17 September, there will be a new dedicated advice service available to advise nurseries, schools and colleges who have been informed of a confirmed case(s) of coronavirus (COVID-19) in their setting ie a pupil or staff member testing positive. We are updating our guidance to reflect this change.
Schools to call DfE helpline instead of PHE
This means that instead of calling your local health protection team when there is a confirmed case in your education setting, we will now be asking you to call the DfE’s helpline and you will then be directed to the dedicated NHS advice team for nurseries, schools and colleges with confirmed cases.
From today, this new service can be reached by calling DfE’s existing helpline on 0800 046 8687 and selecting the option for reporting a positive case. The line will be open Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm, and 10am to 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Please only select this option if you have a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) within your nursery, school or college.
You will be put through to a team of advisors who will inform you what action is needed based on the latest public health advice, and work through a risk assessment to identify close contacts.
This new process will free up capacity of the Public Health England’s local health protection teams to deal with more complex cases, for example special schools and universities, or outbreaks where there is more than one confirmed case. Special schools can still contact PHE if there is a single confirmed case. All schools can contact PHE if they have more than one case in a 14 day period eg cluster or outbreak.
Advisors will be responsible for escalating these cases as necessary following a triaging of your circumstances during the call.
The new advice service has been set up to advise the following education settings: early years settings including nurseries; schools including primary schools, infant or junior schools, middle schools, secondary schools, boarding schools, special schools; and further education providers.
The DfE helpline also remains available for all other queries about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to your education and childcare setting on 0800 046 8687. Please listen carefully to the available options and select the one most appropriate to your setting’s current situation.