When to keep a child at home

Do not send your child to nursery, school or college if they have any one of the COVID-19 symptoms:

  • A high temperature – feel hot to touch on the chest or back (you do not need to take their temperature)
  • A new continuous cough – coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if they usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • A loss or change to their sense of smell or taste – they have noticed they cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to usual

If your child has one or more of the symptoms call 119 or book a coronavirus test online.

If your child has normal cold symptoms (like a runny nose or sore throat) without COVID-19 symptoms, they do not need to take a test unless someone else in the household has symptoms or has tested positive, or you have been told to by NHS Test and Trace.

Visit GOV.UK for more information on COVID-19 in educational settings.

If your child has COVID-19 symptoms

  • Do not send them to nursery, school or college
  • The whole household begins self-isolation (10 days for the person with symptoms and 14 for household contacts)
  • Book a COVID-19 test
  • Tell nursery, school or college immediately about the results

Your child can return if the test is negative, providing they are well enough, have not had a fever for 48 hours, and haven’t been advised to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

If your child tests positive for COVID-19

  • Do not send your child to nursery, school or college
  • Tell nursery, school or college immediately about the test result
  • Your child and all household/support bubble members should self-isolate as advised by NHS Test and Trace (anyone with symptoms should book a test)

Your child can return after 10 days isolation, even if they still have a cough or loss of smell or taste. These symptoms can last several weeks.

If somebody in your child’s household has COVID-19 symptoms

  • Do not send your child to nursery, school or college
  • The household member should book a COVID-19 test
  • Whole household begins self-isolation (10 days for a person with symptoms and 14 days for household contacts)
  • Inform school immediately about test results

Your child can return if the symptomatic household member’s test is negative and your child hasn’t been advised to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

If somebody in your child’s household tests positive for COVID-19

  • Do not send your child to nursery, school or college
  • Inform school immediately about test results
  • Your child and all household/support bubble members should self-isolate as advised by NHS Test and Trace (anyone with symptoms should book a test)

Your child can return when they have completed 14 days of self-isolation without any symptoms.

If contact tracing has identified your child as a close contact

  • Do not send your child to nursery, school or college
  • Your child should self-isolate for at least 14 days, as advised by NHS Test and Trace or by Public Health England (through the school, college or nursery)

Your child can return to school when they have completed 14 days of self-isolation without any symptoms.

If your child has been in contact with someone who has been identified as a close contact

  • Attend nursery, school or college as normal
  • If you child does not have any COVID-19 symptoms, they should carry on with normal activities

If your child has travelled abroad and has to self-isolate

  • Do not send your child to nursery, school or college
  • Self-isolate for at least 14 days in line with quarantine advice

Your child can return to school when they have completed 14 days of self-isolation without any symptoms.