We are continuing to keep you updated on the government’s response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
Members of households, childcare or support bubbles of school staff and pupils
This section does not apply to secondary school pupils, and primary and secondary school staff, who should take twice-weekly tests using home test kits provided by their school.
From 1 March 2021, if you’re a member of a household, childcare bubble or support bubble of staff or a pupil you can get a twice-weekly test:
- through your employer if they offer testing to employees
- at a local test site
- by collecting a home test kit from a test site
- by ordering a home test kit online
Get a test through your employer
Your workplace may offer rapid lateral flow testing to you. Contact your employer to find out more.
Take a test at a rapid lateral flow test site
You can take a rapid lateral flow test at a local site. Testing at these sites is assisted, which means you will swab yourself under the supervision of a trained operator.
You may need to book an appointment.
Collect test kits
You can collect up to 4 home test kits at a local collection point. Each kit contains 7 tests.
Anyone 18 or over can collect. You can check online if the location is busy before you go.
The online service to find your nearest home test kit collection point will be available shortly.
Order home test kits online
If you cannot get tested at your workplace, or are unable to go to a test site or collect test kits, you can order a home test kit online.
The online service will be available from 1 March 2021
What twice-weekly testing involves
You will be asked to:
- take a test twice a week (every 3 or 4 days apart)
- report every result to NHS Test and Trace on the same day you take the test
Report your test result online or by calling 119.
If anyone tests positive or gets coronavirus symptoms, they should tell the school and:
- self-isolate immediately
- get a PCR test to confirm the result
- follow the stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection
A negative result means the test did not find signs of coronavirus. But this does not guarantee you do not have coronavirus, so you should keep following all coronavirus advice including:
- regular handwashing
- social distancing
- wearing a face covering where recommended
Published 27 February 2021
Last updated 1 March 2021
WHAT DO I DO IF MY CHILD DISPLAYS SYMPTOMS?
Department for Education Coronavirus helpline
Contact details for a helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education. Staff, parents and young people can contact the helpline as follows:
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)
The importance of hygiene
Personal hygiene is the most important way we can tackle COVID-19. Please help us in sharing simple and effective hand hygiene messages.
Public Health England has a dedicated webpage with a range of posters and digital materials at:
Sign up is quick, free and means you will be alerted as more resources are made available.
Where to find the latest information
Guidance for full opening of schools:
Stay at home guidance for households:
Updates on COVID-19:
Guidance for educational settings:
Travel advice for those travelling and living overseas:
Your Child's Mental Health
Life is full of uncertainty, and the COVID-19 pandemic has increased stress and anxiety levels in children and adults in an unprecedented way. Now is the time to do all we can to protect our mental health and the mental health of those we love. Children, teens, and young adults are particularly affected by intensified uncertainty.
Click on the below buttons to be directed to websites that may help you manage your children's mental health during this time.
The Youth Mental Health Project
Child Mind Institute
Children's Mental Health Campaign
Talking to children about feelings
If you're worried about a child, encouraging them to talk can be very helpful.
Children express themselves through play as well as words. You can learn a lot about how they're feeling by simply spending time with them and watching them play.
Stressed and upset children often play fighting games with their toys. Comment on this by saying, "There are a lot of fights going on" or "It seems pretty frightening". This can help to get them talking about what's bothering them.
Even if you do not start a conversation, you'll be making the child feel more comfortable with you, paving the way for them to open up to you about their problems.
If you can get them talking, gently ask what's wrong. But if the child does not want to open up, let the subject go, then repeat the process at another time until they're ready to tell you what's bothering them.
If your child is worried about scary news
In this digital age it is virtually impossible to stop children from finding out about upsetting news events, such as terrorism, war and violent crime, that they may find traumatic.
Advice from the Mental Health Foundation includes:
- do not try to blackout all exposure to news; this is both unlikely to succeed and could actually increase their fears
- be truthful about what has happened
- let them know it is normal to be concerned and tell them you are also concerned
- encourage them to ask questions if they seem unclear about what has happened
- reassure them that you will do everything you can to keep them safe
The Mental Health Foundation has more advice about talking to your children about scary world news.
9 Mental Health Activities to do with your children
Supporting Children, Young People and Families emotional wellbeing and mental health on their return to education
· The Essex Wellbeing Service will be providing navigators to help you find the right support for pupil’s and their families emotional wellbeing and mental health needs on the return to education. This is an early intervention offer to provide additional support to education settings on top of what you will already be offering. The Essex Wellbeing Service has developed a navigator service to both signpost and provide a triage service depending on the needs of your pupils and their families.
o To access the Essex Wellbeing Service navigators, phone this number: 0300 303 9988
o This is accessible from the 8th March 2021.
o Families can use this directly, or request support from school/setting staff.
o There will be promotional materials available to share this vital information with families.
· Recovery and Return to Educational Settings suite of resources has two further webinars for families:
o Part 1: Looking after yourself (28mins)
o Part 2: Looking after your family (39mins)
o Essex Local Offer: Coronavirus support wellbeing and mental health
Livestream Mass in the Diocese of Brentwood