A reminder to parents and pupils:

  • face coverings must be worn in communal areas of secondary schools for both pupils and staff
  • that all parents and carers in Wirral wear face coverings when collecting and dropping off their children at school

Wearing a face covering does not replace the need for social distancing or washing your hands more frequently.

Please remember if your child or someone in your household is showing symptoms of COVID-19, please don’t let your child attend school. You’ll need to self-isolate and book a test for the person displaying symptoms. You can find more guidance for COVID absence on the Wirral View website.

This information applies to both school and early years settings and providers.

Returning to school and COVID-19

My child is nervous, afraid and anxious about going to school. What should I tell them? Is there any help available for them?

It is completely understandable that children will be feeling anxious about returning to school after time away. Please do reassure your child that teachers and support staff  know that extra help will be needed for children to settle back into school routines and lessons.

Schools will also be able to call on extra advice and assistance from staff in other services who are experienced in supporting children’s emotional wellbeing.

What should I do if my child doesn't want to go into school?

Talk the situation through with your child’s school in the first instance. School staff will want to work with you to welcome your child back to school and to sort out any worries, big or small.

Who do I speak to if I have worries about my child going to school?

We'd advise that you speak to your school in the first instance. You can also contact Wirral's Attendance team who will also be able to offer support by emailing schoolattendance@wirral.gov.uk

Will I get a fine if I don't send my child or children to school?

We’re not telling parents that they have to send their children back to school. If you as a parent/carer decide not to send your children back to school it will not be marked as an absence and it will not affect any attendance records.

How do I apply for free school meals? Do I need to apply again?

Details can be found on our website

How will my child catch up with any learning they have missed out on?

Try to remember that all children have had a break from their education so your child be in the same position as their peers, rather than have fallen behind. Once children are settled back into school their teachers will get a good understanding of what their needs are and be able to support them. If you are worried about your child’s progress speak with the school and their teacher(s).

Is there still an option for home schooling? Virtual sessions?

Your child's school will be expected to provide details on home schooling arrangements and any virtual sessions.

Will my child be safe going to school?

100% safety can never be guaranteed while your child is at school. This has always been the case and will always be the case. Things like accidental injury, bullying and infections from a range of viruses have always been a low, but potential risk to your child whilst at school. These risks, as with COVID-19, are minimised with sensible precautions by the school.

To reduce the risk from COVID-19, schools have been working hard for some time now (supported by Public Health and Infection Control guidance) to make sure that the right things are put in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19. These include:

  • reducing contact between children and staff by sticking to two metre social distancing wherever possible
  • making sure that staff and children clean their hands thoroughly and more often than usual
  • cleaning surfaces and classrooms more often 
  • making sure that staff or children (or anyone who lives with them) that have symptoms of COVID-19 do not attend school 

The exact measures used will differ from school to school. This is because different types of school have different needs and different structures to their buildings.

My child is in primary school, but is too young to stick to a 2-metre social-distance. Will they be at more risk of COVID-19?

It has been recognised that primary school children are highly unlikely to be able to stick to the two-metre distance guidance. That is why the emphasis for younger children will be on separating groups, while for older children it will be on distancing. Making sure that all children wash their hands regularly through the day will also be extremely important.

My child attends a secondary school. Will there still be different teachers for different subjects and if so, won’t that increase the risk of infection?

Teachers can work across different classes and year groups in order to deliver the school timetable. This means that secondary school children will still have different teachers for different subjects.

Where staff need to move between classes and year groups, they will continue to stay two metres away from children and other staff as far as possible. Classrooms will be thoroughly cleaned between use by different groups (or ‘bubbles’) and pupils and staff will be asked to wash or sanitise their hands both before and after entering the room.

Will my child be able to wash their hands enough through the day at school?

Yes. Regular handwashing will become part of the school routine. Children will wash their hands at the start of every school day and continue to do this at regular times throughout the day. Hand sanitiser stations will be installed in key areas within schools, including entrances and near toilet facilities.

Will children have temperature checks on arrival at school?

A few schools are planning to do this each morning. However, as some people are asymptomatic, this process will not necessarily detect children that have COVID-19.

If a child becomes unwell in school, their temperature may be taken. 

School day set up: what to expect

What is the current position on wearing face coverings in schools?

National guidance on the use of face coverings in schools states that face coverings (for pupils and staff) must be worn in communal areas, for example corridors, of secondary schools in areas that have high levels of community COVID-19 infections.

A reminder to parents and pupils:

  • face coverings must be worn in communal areas of secondary schools for both pupils and staff
  • that all parents and carers in Wirral must wear face coverings when collecting and dropping off their children at school

Wearing a face covering does not replace the need for social distancing or washing your hands more frequently.

Further guidance on face coverings in educational settings

More details about wearing and making face coverings on Gov.uk

Will children be doing PE and sports?

Schools will take different approaches to PE and sports depending on their size, sports facilities and what they can safely manage. More information on PE and sports will be provided to children and parents by schools when they return.

What do I need to send my child to school with? (for example, equipment, hand sanitiser, face covering, pencil, paper etc)

It is recommended you check your child’s school’s website for this information or get in touch with the school.

Are after-school clubs and breakfast clubs running?

It is recommended you check your child's school's website for this information or get in touch with the school.

Symptoms and testing

What should I do if my child starts showing symptoms of COVID-19?

If your child has any COVID-19 symptoms (a high temperature, new continuous cough and /or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste), you must keep them away from school, book a test for them and let the school know of the result when it comes through.

You can book a test by completing the online referral form via wirral.gov.uk/testing or by ringing 119.

The test should ideally take place within 3 days of the first symptoms appearing, but definitely by day 5. Your child should stay at home for 10 days from the onset of their first symptom. If your child is well at the end of the 10 days period of self-isolation, they can return to school. The rest of your household will also need to stay at home (self-isolate) for 10 days, and if they develop any symptoms also get tested.

When do I need to keep my child off school?

Your child should not attend school if:

  • they have any symptoms of COVID-19 (a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss or change of taste or smell) or if they have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days
  • anyone they live with (or who is in their support bubble) has any symptoms of COVID-19 or they have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days
  • they have been asked to self-isolate by the national Test and Trace service because they have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19

In all of these situations your child, and anyone they live with, should self-isolate according to current national guidelines. 

Read guidance about what you should do if you, your child, or someone they live with develops symptoms of COVID-19 on Gov.uk

Read guidance about when to self-isolate and what to do on nhs.uk

What will happen if your child or staff member shows symptoms of COVID-19 while they are at school? 

If your child or staff member shows symptoms of COVID-19 at school, they will be taken to wait in an isolation room until they can be collected and taken home. Children will be supervised during this time.

Areas where your child or staff member has been during the day will be thoroughly cleaned before other children and staff can return to them. The child or staff member will need to arrange testing via the national Test and Trace service and self-isolate, in line with current national guidelines, along with those they live with.

If the child or staff member receives a positive test result, schools will work with the Test and Trace service to identify any children or staff who have recently come into close contact with the infected person. These children and staff will then be asked to self-isolate for 10 days (since they last came into close contact with the infected person).

What will happen if another child in the same class tests positive for COVID-19?

If your child has been in close contact during the previous 48 hours with the child who has tested positive, you will either be informed by your child’s school that your child must stay at home (self-isolate) for 10 days, or you will be contacted by someone from the Test and Trace service who will talk you through any actions you need to take.

What will happen if there are COVID-19 cases at my child’s school?

If a school has two or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 among pupils or staff within 10 days, or they see an increase in pupil or staff absence due to suspected COVID-19, they will need to contact the local health protection team. This team will advise the school if additional action is needed, but it is unlikely that the whole school will need to be closed. Every school in Wirral now has details.

Specific groups: SEND, BAME and shielding

My child has a Special Educational Need or Disability. Will he or she be at a higher risk from COVID-19 if I send them back to school?

There is no evidence to suggest that children with special educational need or disabilities are at any more risk from COVID-19 than any other children. 

If you have concerns about your child returning to school or college, because you consider they may have other risk factors, you should discuss with your school.

My child is from a black or minority ethnic background. Will he or she be at a higher risk from COVID-19 if I send them back to school ?

There is currently no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 affects minority ethnic children more than other children. All children, in general, experience mild symptoms if they have the virus.

If you have concerns about your child returning to school or college, because you consider they may have other risk factors, you should discuss with your school.

Read more information about shielding on Gov.uk

Transport and Travel

My child uses public transport to get to school. Will this be safe?

Families are being urged to plan their journey to and from school in advance.

It is recommended that if possible families and young people walk, cycle or scoot to school. However it is understood this isn’t always possible. The Department for Education has shared guidance for travel on its website, along with resources for travel safety if cycling or walking.

It may also be possible for some families to drive their children to and from school in their own cars. This is preferable to public transport at this time.

View guidance on safer travel for passengers.

The Merseytravel website has specific guidance for pupils using its  services. It is mandatory for those aged 11 or over to wear a face covering on public transport, unless exempt.

Will I be able to store my child's bike at school?

It is recommended you check your child’s school’s website for this information or get in touch with the school.

My child uses dedicated school transport to get to school. Will this be safe?

Schools are working with transport providers to put in place safety measures on dedicated school transport to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection. Your child’s school will communicate these arrangements to you.

Is there guidance available in other languages?

We have made videos with useful information about going back to school in seven other languages: