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


Return to school

All primary, secondary and colleges students have now returned to face-to-face teaching at school.

Coronavirus testing in School

Students attending secondary school, college and special schools will be provided with quick swab tests in school before they fully return to the classroom, designed to identify asymptomatic cases of coronavirus and provide additional reassure for pupils, parents and staff. The quick swab tests are voluntary and no young person will be tested without informed consent from their parent or carer. The swab tests are designed to limit the spread of the virus by helping identify asymptomatic cases, as almost a third of all positive coronavirus cases include people without symptoms. After three initial onsite tests, it is anticipated that students in Year 7 and above will be provided with home testing kits for coronavirus tests to be carried out at home twice a week. Further Government guidance is expected on this.

Teaching staff at both primary and secondary schools will be provided with kits to carry out twice weekly coronavirus tests at home.

Children and young people will not be given the coronavirus swab tests without the consent of their parents or carers. The tests are voluntary, and pupils will not be prevented from receiving face-to-face education if they are not tested, but the results should provide families, pupils and staff with added reassurance as students return to school.

Face masks and other covid-secure measures

Each school in North Yorkshire will have updated its own detailed risk assessments based on the most recent Government guidance. The risk assessments are regularly updated and takes into account each school’s unique circumstances such as building layouts and pupil numbers. The rapid swab tests add to existing safety measures already in place in schools, such as teaching children in bubbles, good ventilation, social distancing and frequent hand washing. New Government guidance also recommends that students of secondary school-age and above wear face coverings in lessons, as well as communal spaces, but this will not apply in situations where wearing a face covering would impact on the ability to take part in exercise or strenuous activity, for example PE lessons. Wearing face coverings in lessons is not mandatory, but it is strongly recommended.

School transport

Home to school transport will also resume on 8 March. Schools will be making their own individual arrangements for transporting students into school for swab testing and will be informing parents directly of the arrangements.

After-school clubs

Wrap-around care - in the form of after-school and before-school clubs - is also expected to resume, with schools in talks with independent providers about resuming the childcare as soon 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.

See bus timetable information.

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.

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.