Changes to schools and children's service during the Coronavirus outbreak


Colleges, primary (reception onwards) and secondary schools will remain open for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until February half term.

Coronavirus testing in schools

On the start of the new term, schools will also have the option of setting up coronavirus testing, providing free covid-19 tests to staff and students from the first week of January. The testing will help tackle the one in three who have the virus, but do not have symptoms and to minimise disruption during the spring term by helping identify positive cases when pupils return to face-to-face education.

The provision of coronavirus testing in schools is optional and individual schools will make their own decisions on whether to offer the testing in school.

The tests build on extensive protective measures already in place in all schools and colleges, which ensure they continue to remain safe places to be and that disruption to student’s education is minimised as much as possible.

My child has developed a symptom of coronavirus. What should I do?

If your child has develop one or more Covid-19 symptoms – a new, continuous cough, a high temperature, a loss, or change in sense of taste or smell – then they should not come into school.

You need to;

  • Contact the school
  • Get a test via online, or by calling 119
  • Inform the school immediately about the test results

If after ten days your child still has a temperature, they should continue to self-isolate and seek medical advice. Members of the household should also self-isolate for 14 days.

Your child can return to school if the test comes back negative, or a period of ten days has passed since the symptoms started and they feel well and do not have a temperature.

My child tested positive for coronavirus.

If your child has received a positive result for coronavirus;

  • Do not come to school
  • Contact the school to inform them
  • Agree the earliest date for possible return, a minimum of ten days
  • Members of the household should self-isolate for 14 days.

My child has tested negative for coronavirus.

If your child tests negative for coronavirus, contact your school to let them know.

Discuss when your child can come back, which will often be the same day or next day, subject to;

  • Everyone living with them who has symptoms has tested negative
  • Everyone in their support bubble who has symptoms has tested negative
  • They are not a contact of a confirmed case
  • They are well. If they are unwell, your child should stay at home until they feel better.

Someone in my household has developed Covid-19 symptoms.

Do not send your child to school if someone in your household has Covid-19 symptoms.

You should inform the school and all household members should self-isolate for 14 days, or until a negative result is received from a test. Arrange for the household member to get a test via online or by calling 119 and inform the school immediately about the test results. Your child can return to school if the test comes back negative.

If someone has tested positive for Covid-19, do not send your child to school, contact your school and all household members should self-isolate for 14 days. Once your child has completed the 14 days of self-isolation, they can return.

My Child has been identified as a close contact of a confirmed positive case within school.

You will receive a letter of notification from school if your child has been identified as a close contact of a confirmed positive case within a school.

Your child will need to self-isolate for 14 days, but other siblings may continue to attend school. Please support your child at home with any remote education provided by your school.

Your child can return to school after 14 days of self-isolation, as long as they have not developed any symptoms of Covid-19.

I am unable to get a test for someone in the household who has symptoms.

If you are unable to get a test, your child and anyone they live with must continue to self-isolate for 14 days. Anyone in your support bubble must also stay at home.

Your child can return to school when they have completed 14 days of isolation.

Home to School Transport

Vehicles will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before each journey. Parents and pupils are being asked to play their part in safety measures by making sure they;

  • Wash or sanitise their hands prior to each journey.
  • Queue at their designated bus stop/collection points in the usual orderly manner and take particular care not to make unnecessary contact with other pupils
  • Where there is a seating plan provided by the school, then sit in the appropriate seat, otherwise sit in the furthest rear seat available in the morning. Pupils should also try and use the same seat and sit with the same group of pupils each day.
  • Based on Public Health England recommendations, pupils aged 11 and over are encouraged to wear a face covering provided by parents or carers. This will help ensure the safety of each pupil, the driver and other pupils travelling on the bus.
  • Where school transport is shared by children attending different schools, pupils should sit together based on the school they are attending wherever possible.
  • Where pupils travel to school using public transport, the law requires that if they are over 11-years-old they must wear a face covering unless they have a valid reason for exemption. They should adhere to mandatory 1m social distancing.

Children with special educational needs and disabilities with complex health needs will have the need for additional measures identified in their individual transport risk assessment. Additional personal protective equipment (PPE) will need to be worn by some drivers and passenger assistants where a pupil’s risk assessment has identified this as necessary. Where it is possible for them to do so, pupils are advised to use a face covering but it is understood that some pupils will not be able to do this due to the nature of their individual needs.

The County Council has worked with transport providers to put arrangements in place to minimise contact with members of the public on public transport. In some cases, the service will be “closed” to the public and operate as a dedicated home to school service, but in others, the County Council has increased vehicle capacity to ensure seats will be available for pupils travelling to school.

The DfE have contacted us and asked that we offer support to schools and colleges who make their own transport arrangements and may be experiencing difficulties following the return to education in September. If you have identified operational issues with transport that you have organised, please contact and we will try to provide advice and guidance where we can.

If your child’s pass has not yet arrived, you can still use the transport. As with every other year, operators will carry children without a pass for the first two weeks of term.

See bus timetable information.

Face Coverings

New guidance has been published regarding Face Coverings.

Officers in Public Health, Health & Safety, Human Resources and the Children and Young Peoples’ Service are updating model risk assessments for schools. Following consultation with partners and appropriate associations this will be sent to schools next week.

Please see attached  guidance regarding transport provision from September 2020 onwards (pdf / 308 KB).

Coronavirus (Covid-19) catch-up premium

Schools have the flexibility to spend their funding in the best way for their cohort and circumstances. Find out more about the Coronavirus (Covid-19) catch-up premium.

Guidance to support the use of tuition will be published as part of wider National Tutoring Programme communications.

Childcare provision

If parents are looking for alternative childcare provision, please ensure the provision is regulated. All paid childcare involving more than two hours a day should be taken with a provider who is registered, including paid childcare in the child’s own home. You can find more details here.

Free school meals

Schools will continue to provide free school meals or food parcels for pupils who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals, but who are not attending school.

Step-parent adoption

Any new enquiries or applications for step-parent or non-agency adoptions cannot be progressed at this time as it would involve non-essential travel and visits to the home. We will update our website when the situation is able to change.

Fostering information drop-ins

All of our fostering information drop ins are all postponed until further notice. Find more about fostering on our website.

Proposed special free school in Selby

The Secretary of state’s decision on the successful trust to open and run the school has been postponed until further notice. We are continuing to work with the Department for Education on the development of the proposed school.

Our chance to make a positive change to the way our children travel to school in North Yorkshire

We’re encouraging parents and carers to re-think the school run, and think about how we can make it fun, safe and healthy. We have a chance to make a positive change to the way our children travel to school in North Yorkshire.

The government has released information and guidance on sustainable transport for journeys between home and school, and other education settings. This is in line with current requirements to adhere to coronavirus restrictions and guidelines. In response to this, we’re working on the development and delivery of a schools Travel Demand Management scheme which includes a communications plan and a range of measures, all aimed at helping to support the safe return to school

As part of this, and the Open North Yorkshire sustainable travel project, we will be engaging with residents and education settings across North Yorkshire, and sharing key messages, to ensure that school journeys can run as smoothly as possible . We will also:

  • Encourage and support schools to develop their own travel plans to promote active travel on the school run
  • Help parents, carers and students to think about more sustainable and active transport modes. where possible. for the school run
  • Consider a range of different measures and initiatives to encourage parents and carers to re-think the school run to make it fun, safe and healthy

Lockdown and coronavirus have presented us all with significant challenges, but we have also seen that residents in North Yorkshire have made lots of positive changes, particularly in terms of transport and travel. Residents have rediscovered the benefits of walking and cycling for more journeys in their local area, and we’ve seen reduced traffic and congestion. We’re hoping to keep some of these positive changes, and help residents to save time, save money and get fitter through more active and sustainable travel, particularly for the school run.

To find out more, and keep up to date with top tips and advice for the school run, you can follow the Open North Yorkshire Facebook page.