Coronavirus advice

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - update, advice and guidance for parents and carers

Are schools and settings in Hackney open?

From September 2020, all Hackney Schools and settings will reopen to all year groups. We do, however, encourage you to check the school website for any local arrangements which may be in place.

We encourage you to read our information on returning safely to school (also available as translations to Turkish and Bengali) and the government guidance, what parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges in the autumn term which explains the arrangements for school and setting opening from September 2020.

Please refer to school websites for more information on their status and local arrangements.

Are out-of-school settings open?

The government has produced guidance on the protective measures that all settings who run community activities, holiday clubs, after-school clubs, tuition and other out-of-school provision for children must meet to reduce the risk of infection and transmission during the virus (COVID-19) outbreak. Please check with your school to see what out of school settings may be open.

Government guidance for parents and carers of children attending out-of-school settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has also been published detailing how you can check with a provider that they have put in place protective measures to reduce the risk of infection, before you send your child to a particular setting.

Will my child still get free school meals?

Schools should provide meal options for all children attending school. Meals should be available free of charge to all infant pupils and pupils who meet the benefits-related free school meals eligibility criteria.

If your child usually receives free school meals and is not attending school, then the school should provide you with an alternative (e.g., vouchers they issue themselves, vouchers through the national voucher scheme or food parcels). Please contact your school for more information about this.

Some families who have no recourse to public funds may also be eligible for free school meals under a temporary extension to free school meal eligibility. Please contact your school for more information and to apply under this extension.

New applications for free school meals will still be processed in the same way as before. If you think you have recently become eligible please contact your school office.

Find out more about the provision of free school meals during the coronavirus lockdown.

If you receive free school meal vouchers, find out more about healthy and easy recipe ideas.

Update on Transport for London funding for under 18 travel

As part of the May 2020 Transport for London funding deal with the government, it is possible there will be a temporary suspension of the free travel for most under 18 year olds from either October half term or January 2021. A significant part of the rationale for this is to reduce numbers and crowding on public transport.

We know a significant number of Hackney pupils use public transport to get to school or college. However we also know that 85% of pupils live within 2 miles of school: a distance which is walkable by the great majority. 

We are encouraging pupils to use active travel means, walking or cycling, wherever possible. This avoids public transport, saves money if fares have to be paid - and is the healthiest option.

Confirmation of the suspension and subsequent arrangements are awaited.

Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health - Advice for parents during coronavirus

Whilst coronavirus is infectious to children, it is rarely serious. If a child is unwell it is likely to be a non-coronavirus illness, rather than coronavirus itself.

Whilst it is extremely important to follow Government advice to stay at home during this period, it can be confusing to know what to do when a child is unwell or injured.

NHS 111, GPs and hospitals are still providing the same safe care that they have always done. A downloadable poster with advice is available from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health website. 

What to do if you or your child has coronavirus symptoms

Stay at home for ten days if you have:

  • a high temperature;
  • a new continuous cough; or
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia).

If you have the above symptoms, you should arrange to have a test as soon as possible to see if you have COVID-19 – find out more about what testing is and how to arrange a test.

If you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms.

Read the stay at home guidance which sets out when and how to self isolate.

Advice and guidance

There is a range of advice and guidance available on the gov.uk website. Please note that this information is regularly updated and you should, therefore, refer back to it for any changes

In addition, the NSPCC has created a number of resources to support parents and carers during this difficult time. Topics include:

  • Talking to a child worried about coronavirus
  • Parents working from home
  • Children staying home alone
  • Lockdown and separated parents
  • How to cope with tantrums and other difficult behaviour

This advice can be found on the NSPCC website.

What other action you should take

A UK-wide campaign has been launched to provide clear advice on how to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Please help to support the campaign which promotes basic hygiene practices, such as regularly washing hands and always sneezing into a tissue (and then immediately disposing of it), to stem the spread of viruses.

See the NHS advice about washing your hands

This page was last modified on: 7 Sep 2020