What should I do if my child is sent home from school to isolate?
PUBLISHED: 08:20 18 November 2020 | UPDATED: 11:20 19 November 2020
Schools across Suffolk and north Essex have, at some stage this term, been forced to send children home to isolate after coronavirus cases have been confirmed.
Students returned to school in September after the previous year was severely disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic - but this term has also been disrupted by the ongoing pandemic.
Hundreds of students have been forced to return to home learning as bubbles, classes, year groups and even whole schools are closed down in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.
So what does your child have to do if they are asked to isolate - and does the rest of the family have to stay at home too?
Here we look at the official guidance and answer your questions.
What do I do if my child is showing symptoms of Covid?
If your child starts to show symptoms of Covid - including a persistent cough, a loss of taste or smell and /or a high temperature, Public health guidance says you should keep your child at home and arrange for them to have a coronavirus test.
However, people are being encouraged to only register for a test if they are showing symptoms to avoid overwhelming the service.
If a test comes back positive, parents will be required to inform their child’s school as soon as possible, as well as provide details of anyone they have been in close contact with.
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The child must self isolate for 10 days from the first day of symptoms, while others in the household should isolate for 14 days from this date.
If symptoms persist after the isolation period, your child could still be infectious and will still be required to stay at home.
If they test negative, they do not need to isolate, and neither do those in your household.
What if my child has been in contact with someone with Covid-19 or someone who has symptoms?
When there is a confirmed case at a school, all students and members of staff who have been in close contact will be sent home to isolate for 14 days. Only those who have been in contact must isolate, not whole households, but for many parents it will mean missing work in order to care for their children, or home educate them. Children should not mix with anyone outside of their household including grandparents.
You will only need to arrange a coronavirus test if your child develops symptoms - if they do so, then the whole household must self isolate.
Even if the test comes back negative, your child will need to continue self isolating until the 14 days are up, but the rest of the household do not need to.
People who have been identified as a contact by NHS Test and Trace and fail to observe the isolation period could be fined £1,000.
The government’s Test and Trace guidance says: “This is because, if you have been infected, you could be infectious to others at any point up to 14 days.
“Some people infected with the virus don’t show any symptoms at all and it is therefore crucial to self-isolate to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.”
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