Management of confirmed COVID-19 cases

Management of single cases of confirmed COVID-19 cases in school staff or school pupils during Test & Test

1.    Symptomatic pupils or staff

a.    Arrange test

b.    Isolate until result available

c.    Household should also isolate at this time

2.    Confirmed cases should be advised to continue self-isolating until the latest of:

a.    10 days after the onset of their symptoms (or 10 days after the test date if they are asymptomatic)

b.    The time at which symptoms, other than cough or loss of smell / taste, are no longer present

c.    If suffered from diarrhoea and / or vomiting, when the individual is 48 hours free of the symptoms

3.    For suspected cases who go on to test negative

a.    Pupil or staff member can return to school as long as they no longer have fever

b.    Household members of suspected cases can stop isolation as soon as negative result received

4.    Information to establish when a pupil or staff member is confirmed case:

a.    the case’s onset date of their illness, the date on which they were tested, and their attendance at school.

b.    the case’s year group / bubble / class

c.    whether there have been any household members or other contacts with cases of confirmed or suspected infection (including their dates of onset and occupations) – this is to help assess whether there are possible exposures beyond the school which may be the source of infection.

d.    whether contact details for household / other community contacts have been supplied to Tier 2. If not, gather details.

e.    whether the confirmed case has had a previous positive test.

5.    The INFECTIOUS PERIOD is from 2 DAYS BEFORE onset of symptoms (or the date of test if they don’t have symptoms) UNTIL 10 DAYS AFTER symptoms started

If the staff member or pupil has not been at school during the infectious period, the school does not need to take any further action.

6.    If the staff member or pupil has been at school during the infectious period, a risk assessment completed to identify the ‘bubble’ to which the pupil or staff member is allocated and/or any other staff or pupils who have been in close contact with the case during the infectious period.

All close contacts should be excluded from school for 14 days following their last contact with the case.

a.    A ‘bubble’ is the term used in the Department for Education guidance for the number of staff and pupils forming each unit within a school. They were used in schools in the summer term to make it easier to identify those who may need to self-isolate in the event of a positive case.

However, the use of small groups restricts the normal operation of schools, particularly in secondary schools. For the autumn term, maintaining consistent groups remains important, but schools may need to change the emphasis on bubbles and increase the size of these groups. It is likely that for younger children the emphasis will be on separating groups/’bubbles’, and for older children it will be on distancing.

b.    Close contact is defined as any of the following (without PPE):

i)             direct close contacts - face to face contact with an infected individual for any length of time, within 1 metre, including being coughed on, a face to face conversation, or unprotected physical contact (skin-to-skin)

ii)            proximity contacts - extended close contact (within 1 to 2 metres for more than 15 minutes) with an infected individual

iii)           travelling in a small vehicle, like a car, with an infected person

7.    The following action should then be taken:

a)    Any pupil or member of staff identified as having had close contact with the confirmed case should be excluded from school for 14 days following their last contact with the case.

b)    The school should be provided with template text for inclusion in a letter from the school to those who need to be excluded (see appendix).

c)    Household members of those contacts who are sent home do not need to self-isolate.

Further information can be found here: