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Coronavirus - updated advice 15th July 2020

The Department for Education (DfE) is continuing to update on the government’s response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

Change in frequency of the coronavirus (COVID-19) email updates from Monday 20 July

From Monday 20 July, we will be reducing the frequency of email updates from every weekday, to one email per week which will be sent on a Monday for the duration of the summer holidays. We plan to resume sending daily updates from Monday 24 August in preparation for the start of the autumn term.

Feedback survey on the coronavirus (COVID-19) email updates from Department for Education (DfE)

We began sending a daily email update to schools and further education providers, and local authorities to cascade to early years providers and children’s social care providers, in March 2020 to share information on the Government’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

We would be pleased to hear your feedback on the daily email update to help us improve it. Please spare 2 minutes to complete our short feedback survey.

Pausing of the educational settings status form over the summer holidays

After this week, we will no longer be asking schools and colleges to complete the daily return of the educational setting status form. The final day for completion of the form will be Friday 17 July. Thank you for taking the time to complete this daily return over the past few months. We will advise of any data return requirements from September in the coming weeks.

Temporary extension of free school meals eligibility to no recourse to public funds (NRPF) groups

In April, we temporarily extended free school meal eligibility to include some children of groups who have no recourse to public funds (NRPF). The extension of free school meal eligibility to these groups will continue while the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak impacts upon schools, including for the duration of the summer holidays.

Further information on eligibility criteria, the time period that this covers and completing an application can be found in the temporary extension to free school meals eligibility to NRPF groups guidance.

Updated guidance for initial teacher training providers

We have updated our guidance for initial teacher training (ITT) providers to include information on compliance with the ITT criteria (2020-21), ITT trainee consumer protection advice and the changes to the requirement for 120 days in schools as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Updated guidance on providing apprenticeships during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

We have updated our guidance on providing apprenticeships during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak confirming that providers can now make arrangements for 19+ apprentices to return to on-site delivery, where this can be safely accommodated. We also confirm that the temporary flexibility suspending the funding rule requiring level 2 apprentices to study towards, and attempt, level 2 functional skills assessments has been extended until 31 December 2020.

The information below has not changed since yesterday.

Plans for all children and young people to return to full-time education at the start of the autumn term

The guidance for the full opening of schools, early years and colleges at the start of the autumn can be found here:

·         Full opening of schools from the start of the autumn term

·         Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

·         Full opening of special schools and other specialist settings from the start of the autumn term

·         What further education colleges and providers will need to do from the start of the 2020 autumn term

·         What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges in the autumn term

·         Re-opening buildings and campuses for higher education (HE)

Covid Summer Food Fund

The Covid Summer Food Fund will enable children who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals (FSM) to be supported over the summer holiday period. All vouchers for the summer holidays must be ordered at least one week before your school’s summer term ends. The costs will be met centrally by the Department for Education.

Please read the guidance in full before ordering to ensure your orders are processed correctly.

Department for Education coronavirus helpline

The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:

Phone: 0800 046 8687

Opening hours:

8am to 6pm – Monday to Friday
10am to 4pm – Saturday and Sunday

Handwashing advice

It is essential that everyone washes their hands more often, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Hand washing with soap employs mechanical action that loosens bacteria and viruses from the skin, rinsing them into the drain. Drying hands afterwards makes the skin less hospitable to the virus. Hand sanitiser can be effective if soap is not available or the situation makes using soap less feasible (i.e. when utside) but using hand sanitiser provides none of the virus-destroying friction that rubbing your hands together and rinsing with water provides.

Please see the latest guidance and video on handwashing from the NHS.

The e-Bug project is led by Public Health England and has a dedicated webpage for learning resources on hand washing and respiratory hygiene. E-Bug has published posters on hand hygiene, and covering coughs and sneezes, to display in bathrooms, classrooms and shared spaces.