Guidance

Health protection in children and young people settings, including education

A practical guide for staff on managing cases of infectious diseases in children and young people settings, including education.

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Attending face-to-face education or childcare is hugely important for children and young people’s health and their future.

This guidance has been updated to provide a practical guide for staff in children and young people settings, including education, those working in children and young people’s social care and across the secure estate, on managing a range of infections, and minimising disruption. This includes advice on managing coronavirus (COVID-19) and other infections. Further and higher education providers should also take note of this guidance.

Within the tools and resources, there is an exclusion table with guidance to indicate the time period an individual should not attend a setting to reduce the risk of transmission during the infectious stage.

While this guidance may be of use to all children and young people settings, it is recognised that there are some differences for residential children’s homes and secure settings, which means that aspects of this guidance may not be applicable. This guidance should be used alongside the emergency planning and response for education, childcare, and children’s social care settings published in April 2022.

This guidance is not intended to be used as a tool for the diagnosis of infections. The information is designed for use by staff members in children and young people settings (for example teachers, managers, teaching assistants, and cleaners) to prevent and respond to infection, incidents and outbreaks.

For additional information about what infections are and why they can be prevented, access the Preventing and managing infections in childcare and pre-school online course.

To complement the guidance and support its implementation, we recommend educating children and young people on hygiene, germs (microbes), vaccination, and antibiotics. A range of interactive lesson plans for ages 3 to 16 have been developed by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) with teachers and are available for free at e-Bug.eu. These are designed to promote healthy behaviours among students and provide additional support and guidance to educators, to contribute to the prevention of infections in the school setting.

To provide feedback on this guidance, please send details to OpsPDU@ukhsa.gov.uk

Published 18 September 2017
Last updated 7 December 2022 + show all updates
  1. Amended to encompass all CYP settings; also added information on STIs and traveller health.

  2. Updated guidance.

  3. Updated Chapter 3 with links to national guidance.

  4. Updated wording.

  5. Added Diarrhoea and vomiting outbreak: education and childcare settings action checklist.

  6. Updated guidance.

  7. Updated measles and rubella sections in the staff health chapter (chapter 7).

  8. Updated exclusion table to include new guidelines on Rubella.

  9. Replaced the exclusion tables.

  10. Updated guidance on Gastroenteritis in chapter 9.

  11. Updated guidance on Chicken pox and Hand, foot and mouth disease.

  12. Amendments to guidance on Chicken pox.

  13. Updated guidance in Chapter 4: what to do if you suspect an outbreak of infection.

  14. First published.