Schools need not close if coronavirus is suspected

Public Health England expected to issue guidance saying no action is needed while pupils or staff are tested for the virus

Tes Reporter

Empty classrooms: schools need not close for suspected coronavirus cases, PHE says

Health officials are to tell schools that they do not need to close or send staff and pupils home if there is a suspected case of coronavirus.

Public Health England (PHE) is expected to issue new guidance to schools today saying that no restrictions or special control measures are needed while tests for Covid-19 are carried out on a suspected case.

While a pupil or staff member suspected of coming into contact with the virus is being tested, the guidance says no action is needed.  If a case of the virus is confirmed, then health protection teams will speak to the headteacher and action will be taken. 

Read: At least seven schools affected by coronavirus 

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The new guidance comes the week after at least seven schools in Brighton, Hove and Eastbourne are understood to have told parents that either a staff member or pupil had been advised to stay at home for 14 days by PHE. Schools messaged parents saying that they would authorise absences for families wishing to self-isolate. 

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said yesterday that 3,109 tests have been carried out in the UK so far, with nine positive results.

This is an increase of 117 tests on the 2,992 reported on Saturday. The number of positive tests remains at nine, with eight of those patients now discharged from hospital after recording two negative tests for the strain known as Covid-19.

But "millions" of Britons with flu-like symptoms could be told by authorities to "self-isolate" by staying at home for a fortnight if the UK's number of confirmed cases passes 100, The Sunday Telegraph has reported.

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