Coronavirus advice - advice to school settings and parents

5th March 2020

Coronavirus advice

Advice to schools, settings and parents


Based on the World Health Organization’s declaration that the Coronavirus outbreak is a public health emergency of international concern, the UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the public from low to moderate. Whilst this permits the government to plan for all eventualities, the risk to individuals remains low.

You may be aware that advice for travellers from affected areas has recently changed and it has come to our attention that this may affect children and staff returning from school trips. Please be aware that this is a fast evolving situation and we will provide updates of any new advice on a regular basis.

Current situation – returning travellers

As of today (26 February) advice for returning travellers is as follows;

If you have returned from the following (category 1) areas since 19 February 2020, use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to inform them of your recent travel and to find out what to do next. You should also stay indoors and avoid contact with other people even if you do not have symptoms:

  • Iran
  • Specific lockdown areas in Northern Italy as designated by the Government of Italy (currently Bertonico, Casalpusterlengo, Castelgerundo, Castiglione D'Adda, Codogno, Fombio, Maleo, San Fiorano, Somaglia, Terranova dei Passerini and Vo)
  • Daegu or Cheongdo, Republic of Korea
  • Hubei province, China (returned in the past 14 days)

If you have returned from the following (category 2) areas since 19 February 2020 and develop symptoms, however mild, you should stay indoors at home and avoid contact with other people immediately. You should use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to inform them of your recent travel, and to find out what to do next. You do not need to follow this advice if you have no symptoms.

  • Northern Italy – please refer to map 
  • Vietnam
  • Cambodia
  • Laos
  • Myanmar

If you have returned to the UK from any of the following areas in the last 14 days and develop symptoms of cough or fever or shortness of breath, you should immediately stay indoors and avoid contact with other people and use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to inform them of your recent travel, find out what to do next and inform them of your recent travel.

  • Other parts of China outside Hubei province
  • Thailand
  • Japan
  • Republic of Korea
  • Hong Kong
  • Taiwan
  • Singapore
  • Malaysia
  • Macau

Action you should take 

A UK-wide campaign has been launched to provide clear advice on how to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Schools & settings are advised to refer to the following government guidance to assist them in providing advice for pupils, students, staff and parents or carers. Given the quickly changing nature of the situation, this advice is regularly updated and we recommend that you refer back to it on an ongoing basis:

Please also help to support the campaign which promotes basic hygiene practices, such as regularly washing hands and always sneezing into a tissue (and then immediately disposing of it), to stem the spread of viruses. NHS advice is available regarding washing your hands.

Schools/settings are advised to put advice and guidance on their own website and to check the above webpages as well as this Services for Schools website for ongoing updates.

Department for Education Coronavirus Helpline

The Department for Education have also set up a Coronavirus Helpline for school staff and leaders to help manage the spread of coronavirus.

Telephone: 080 0046 8687 (Monday to Friday 8 am to 6 pm)

Other resources and materials

Public Health England have developed a range of Coronavirus Public Information Materials for communications with the general public. These resources align with the national public information campaign that is running across the United Kingdom. This public health advice informs the general public about how they can help protect themselves and others, and help stop the spread of viruses like coronavirus (COVID-19), by practicing good respiratory and hand hygiene. Materials are available on line here.  You will be required to sign up / register, but this is a quick and easy process. 

Public Health England’s Winter Readiness package for schools and nurseries includes checklists for flu and how to report outbreaks