23 September 2020
Dear parents and guardians,
This is an important letter to share some information on how we can work together to make
sure we can continue to give children and young people the best education in the safest
way possible.
One important part of ensuring the safety and wellbeing of pupils, parents and our
communities is testing for coronavirus. We all have a duty to make sure that the right
people have access to get tested at the right time. Every time a test is used inappropriately,
a person with Covid-19 symptoms may miss out on getting tested.
Therefore, I ask that you all follow these principles:
▪ You should only book a test if your child has any of these three coronavirus

  1. a high temperature: any new high temperature where your child feels hot
    to touch on their chest or back (you do not need to measure the
  2. a new continuous cough: coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three
    or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
  3. a loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste: a noticeable loss of
    smell or taste or things smell and taste different to normal
    ▪ Your child does not need a test if they have a runny nose, are sneezing or
    feeling unwell but do not have a temperature, cough or loss of, or change in,
    sense of smell or taste because these are not normally symptoms of coronavirus.
    ▪ If you are unsure about whether to get a test, please check the official list of
    symptoms on the NHS website, which is reviewed regularly:
    ▪ Only the person with symptoms should get a test. You do not need to get a test
    for anyone else in the household unless they also have any of the three
    symptoms listed above. All members of the household need to self-isolate whilst
    waiting for the test result.
    ▪ If the person with symptoms’ test comes back positive, other members of their
    household should continue self-isolating for 14 days and only get a test if they
    develop coronavirus symptoms.
    ▪ If a pupil in a class or bubble tests positive for coronavirus, anyone who is
    advised to self-isolate does not require a test unless they subsequently
    develop symptoms.
    No one else in the same class or bubble as the symptomatic person needs to take any
    action unless advised by the school. Schools have detailed guidance and access to a
    Department for Education and Public Health England helpline for advice and support.
    Contacts of a person who has tested positive must follow the guidance carefully and in full,
    which means they must stay at home for 14 days. This is because it can take several days
    following contact with an infected person before an individual develops symptoms or the
    virus can be detected. Students should only book a test if they get symptoms.
    The NHS has produced some guidance to help parents understand when their child can
    and cannot attend school which you may find useful: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthybody/is-my-child-too-ill-for-school/
    It is vital for children’s learning and future opportunities that they are able to return to school
    and college. It is therefore vitally important that all we work together and do our bit to make
    this possible.
    Yours sincerely,
    Professor Viv Bennett CBE
    Chief Nurse and Director Maternity and
    Early Years | Public Health England
    Head of World Health Organisation
    Collaborating Centre for Public Health
    Nursing and Midwifery
    Follow me on Twitter: @VivJBennett
    Dr Susan Hopkins
    Interim Chief Medical Officer |
    NHS Test & Trace
    Deputy Director | Public Health England
    Consultant in Infectious Diseases &
    Royal Free, London