Covid-19, Measles and scarlet fever
September 2023 update - Is my child too ill for school
If you are worried that your child might be too ill to come to school, please use this link to help
Symptoms of Measles
Although the health risk to children is low, measles spreads very quickly and easily. As a precautionary measure, it is helpful to remind parents / guardians of the symptoms of measles to be aware of and to ask them to check that they and their children have had two doses of the free MMR vaccine, which gives lifelong protection against measles, mumps, and rubella.
Parents / guardians are being advised to watch out for the symptoms of measles in their children and act if they suspect they have the infection. Measles usually starts with cold-like symptoms, followed by a rash which usually starts on the face or behind the ears a few days later. Some people may also get small spots in their mouth.
The first symptoms are:
- high fever
- sore, red, watery eyes
- aching and feeling generally unwell
- a blotchy red / brown rash on white skin - it may be harder to see or more subtle on brown and black skin
Anyone with symptoms that could be measles is advised to stay at home and phone their GP or NHS 111 for advice, rather than visiting the surgery or A&E.
This is because measles spreads very quickly and easily and so it is important to try and prevent the illness spreading further.
People with symptoms should also especially try to stay away from areas where they could come into contact with vulnerable people such as schools, nurseries, or care homes.
They should stay away from GP surgeries and hospital emergency departments as they could spread the illness to vulnerable people.
If it is absolutely necessary for them to bring their child into their GP surgery, a walk-in centre or a hospital emergency department, they should not use public transport to get there as they will risk infecting others. They should ask NHS 111 or 999 for help with transport if they need to be seen by a doctor.
As soon as they arrive, they should inform reception that they are infectious so that they can be kept away from other people to minimise the chances of the infection spreading.
January 2023 update on Covid 19
Since March 2022 when the final Covid restrictions were lifted the UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) has advised that COVID-19 should be managed like other respiratory infections, such as flu.
COVID-19 presents a low risk to children and young people. This, combined with high vaccination rates in the population, means there are no longer specific rules relating to COVID-19 in schools, colleges, childcare and other education settings.
Here’s what you need to know.
What happens if a staff member or my child tests positive for COVID-19?
For children and young people aged 18 and under who test positive for COVID-19, the advice is to try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for three days. This is because children and young people tend to be infectious to other people for less time than adults.
Adults with a positive COVID-19 test result are advised to try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for five days, which is when they are most infectious.
The UKHSA has also published public health guidance on living safely with respiratory infections, including COVID-19.
Who can still test?
As individuals are now mixing in an open society, regular testing within a setting is no longer as effective as it once was. Instead, the most effective protection against severe disease from COVID-19 for everyone, including those at higher risk from COVID-19, is to get vaccinated.
People at risk of serious illness from COVID-19 will continue to get free tests to use if they develop symptoms, along with NHS and adult social care staff and those in other high-risk settings. Local Health Protection Teams (HPT) may implement outbreak testing for specific settings at their discretion.
Public health guidance on the actions people with symptoms of a respiratory infection should take to help reduce the risk of catching COVID-19 and passing it on to others is available.
Vaccines remain our best weapon against this virus. By getting vaccinated, children, young people and staff can increase their protection against COVID-19.
Resources, including immunisation guidance are available for parents and young people, which can be found here.
What measures should schools be taking to stop the spread?
As well as following the UKHSA guidance signposted, all settings should have in place baseline infection prevention and control measures that will help to manage the spread of infection:
- Reinforcing good hygiene practices such as regular hand washing and cleaning.
- Ensuring occupied spaces are well-ventilated and let fresh air in.
- Ensuring all eligible groups are enabled and supported to take up the offer of national vaccination programmes including COVID-19 and flu
Strep A and Scarlet Fever guidance
Please use the link for the latest advice from the government about Strep A and scarlet fever.
Further sources of information for Mental Health
Most families have experienced upheaval in their daily lives during the pandemic. With children and young people now back at school or college, the new Public Health England (PHE) Better Health – Every Mind Matters campaign provides NHS-endorsed tips and advice to help children and young people’s mental wellbeing, and equip parents and carers with the knowledge to support them.
The new advice available on the Every Mind Matters website has been developed in partnership with leading children and young people’s mental health charities, including Young Minds, The Mix, Place2Be and The Anna Freud Centre. It is designed to help parents and carers spot the signs that children may be struggling with their mental health and support them, and also provides advice that can help maintain good mental wellbeing. The site also provides tools to help young people build resilience and equips them to look after their mental wellbeing.
Sheffield’s Children’s Hospital has produced resources for children, young people and families. These include social stories about going back to school, social bubbles at school and hand washing: https://www.sheffieldchildrens.nhs.uk/patients-and-parents/coronavirus-resources-for-children-and-families/
The Speech and Language therapy service has also produced short videos to help families help their children talk. These are on You Tube and also promoted by the Parent Carer Forum’s Facebook page:
Support for emotional wellbeing