Managing cases of suspected or confirmed Coronavirus (COVID-19) in schools and early years settings

This guidance is to support schools, nurseries, childminders and children’s centres in Harrow to manage suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 in their settings. It is important that the Local Authority and Public Health are able to maintain an overview of local cases and this guidance will be updated as and when required in line with government policies.

Please refer to the different flow charts at the bottom of this page for managing suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 in schools or early years settings.

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Who is defined as a close contact?
A ‘close contact’ is a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 anytime from 48 hours 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
  • sexual partners
  • a person who has had face-to-face contact (within 1m), for any length of time, with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, including:
    • being coughed on or talked to
    • having a face-to-face conversation within 1m
    • having skin-to-skin physical contact, or
    • contact within 1m for one minute or longer without face-to-face contact (barrier protected with masks/visors)
  • a person who has been within 2m 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.

Where an interaction between 2 people has taken place through a Perspex (or equivalent) screen, this would not be considered enough contact, if there has been no other contact such as any of those indicated above.

Who should schools or early years settings contact?

For suspected cases of COVID-19 – where children or staff have COVID-19 symptoms:

For one or more confirmed cases (test positive) of COVID-19:

  • If there has been one or more confirmed coronavirus cases (staff or child) who have attended your setting, contact the DfE Helpline on 0800 046 8687 and select option 1 for advice. If, following triage, further expert advice is required the adviser will escalate your call to the local health protection team (HPT).
  • If you are unable to reach DfE due to high demand, contact Harrow Public Health.
  • Notify Ofsted swiftly through the usual notification channels of any confirmed case of coronavirus (either staff member or child). Also notify Ofsted if the setting is advised to close as a result.
  • The HPT will work with the Early Years provider to undertake a risk assessment and identify and notify close contacts who will need to self-isolate for 14 days and will advise on the most appropriate action to take. They will inform Harrow Council (via the Director of Public Health) daily of all school cases/situations they are managing.