[Withdrawn] Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for educational settings

Updated 20 May 2020

This guidance was withdrawn on

This guidance is now out of date and has been superseded by information at education and childcare during coronavirus.

Applies to England

This guidance is applicable to 31 May 2020 and will be reviewed before 1 June 2020.

Please note: this guidance is of a general nature and should be treated as a guide, and in the event of any conflict between any applicable legislation (including the health and safety legislation) and this guidance, the applicable legislation shall prevail.


The most important symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of any of the following:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.

Children are likely to become infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) at roughly the same rate as adults, but the infection is usually mild.

If anyone has any of the symptoms above they should self-isolate at home.

What you need to know

  • staff, young people and children should stay at home if they develop coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms to avoid spreading infection to others. Otherwise, those who are eligible or required to attend should attend education or work as normal
  • if staff, young people or children develop coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms while at school they must be sent home
  • clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces more often than usual using standard cleaning products
  • supervise young children to ensure they wash their hands more often than usual. They should do so thoroughly for 20 seconds with running water and soap and dry them thoroughly or use alcohol hand rub or sanitiser ensuring that all parts of the hands are covered
  • posters and lesson plans on general hand hygiene can be found on the eBug website


This guidance will assist staff in addressing coronavirus (COVID-19) in educational settings. This includes childcare, early years, schools, further and higher education institutions.

This guidance will be updated in line with the changing situation.

What to do if someone develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) whilst at an educational setting

If anyone develops coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms in an education setting they must be sent home and advised to follow the staying at home guidance.

If a child is awaiting collection, they should be moved, if possible, to a room where they can be isolated behind a closed door, depending on the age of the child and with appropriate adult supervision if required. Ideally, a window should be opened for ventilation. If it is not possible to isolate them, move them to an area which is at least 2 metres away from other people.

If they need to go to the bathroom while waiting to be collected, they should use a separate bathroom if possible. The bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected using standard cleaning products before being used by anyone else.

PPE should be worn by staff caring for the child while they await collection if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained (such as for a very young child or a child with complex needs).

In an emergency, call 999 if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk. Do not visit the GP, pharmacy, urgent care centre or a hospital.

If a member of staff has helped someone who was taken unwell with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, they do not need to go home unless they develop symptoms themselves. They should wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after any contact with someone who is unwell. Cleaning the area with normal household disinfectant after someone with symptoms has left will reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people. You can find guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare settings.

Limiting the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in educational settings

Educational settings can help reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) by reminding everyone of the public health advice. You can use this promotional poster.

Staff, children, pupils, students and families should be reminded to wash their hands for 20 seconds more frequently than normal.

Frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, using your standard cleaning products.

Cleaning and Waste

You can find guidance on cleaning and waste disposal.

Tools for use in childcare and educational settings

There is a dedicated helpline number for education and children’s social care related queries for anyone working in early years through to universities, plus parents. Please call 0800 046 8687 – 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday) or 10am to 4pm (Saturday to Sunday) – for any specific question not covered on this page.

Use e-Bug resources to teach pupils about hygiene.