Illness in Schools
This page was last updated on 08.12.22
Below you will find information about 1) the rise in cases of scarlett fever and 2) Covid-19 information.
This guidance refers to public health exclusions to indicate the time period an individual should not attend a setting to reduce the risk of transmission during the infectious stage. This is different to ‘exclusion’ as used in an educational sense.
Increase in Scarlet Fever
There is a recent national increase in notifications of scarlet fever to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), above seasonal expected levels.
We would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the signs, symptoms and the actions to be taken if you think that you or your child might have scarlet fever.
Signs and symptoms of scarlet fever
Scarlet fever is a common childhood infection caused by Streptococcus pyogenes, or group A Streptococcus (GAS). It is not usually serious, but should be treated with antibiotics to reduce the risk of complications (such as pneumonia) and spread to others. The early symptoms of scarlet fever include sore throat, headache, fever, nausea and vomiting. After 12 to 48 hours, the characteristic red, pinhead rash develops, typically first appearing on the chest and stomach, then rapidly spreading to other parts of the body, and giving the skin a sandpaper-like texture. The scarlet rash may be harder to spot on darker skin, although the 'sandpaper' feel should be present. Patients typically have flushed cheeks and be pale around the mouth. This may be accompanied by a bright red red ‘strawberry’ tongue.
If you think you, or your child, might have scarlet fever:
- contact your GP or NHS 111 as soon as possible
- make sure that you or your child take(s) the full course of any antibiotics prescribed. Although you or your child will feel better soon after starting the course of antibiotics, you must complete the course to ensure that you do not carry the bacteria in your throat after you have recovered
- stay at home, away from nursery, school or work for at least 24 hours after starting the antibiotic treatment, to avoid spreading the infection
You can help stop the spread of infection through frequent hand washing and by not sharing eating utensils, clothes, bedding and towels. All contaminated tissues should be disposed of immediately.
Invasive Group A Strep (iGAS)
The same bacteria which cause scarlet fever can also cause a range of other types of infection such as skin infections (impetigo) and sore throat. In very rare cases, the bacteria can get into the bloodstream and cause an illness called invasive group A strep (iGAS). Whilst still very uncommon, there has been an increase in iGAS cases this year, particularly in children under 10 years old. It is very rare for children with scarlet fever to develop iGAS infection.
As a parent, you should trust your own judgement.
Contact NHS 111 or your GP if:
- your child is getting worse
- your child is feeding or eating much less than normal
- your child has had a dry nappy for 12 hours or more or shows other signs of dehydration
- your baby is under 3 months and has a temperature of 38C, or is older than 3 months and has a temperature of 39C or higher
- your baby feels hotter than usual when you touch their back or chest, or feels sweaty
- your child is very tired or irritable
Call 999 or go to A&E if:
- your child is having difficulty breathing – you may notice grunting noises or their tummy sucking under their ribs
- there are pauses when your child breathes
- your child’s skin, tongue or lips are blue
- your child is floppy and will not wake up or stay awake
Stop the spread
During periods of high incidence of scarlet fever, there may also be an increase in outbreaks in schools, nurseries and other childcare settings. Children and adults with suspected scarlet fever should stay off nursery / school / work until 24 hours after the start of appropriate antibiotic treatment. Good hygiene practice such as hand washing remains the most important step in preventing and controlling spread of infection.
East Midlands Health Protection Team
Scarlet fever: symptoms, diagnosis and treatment
Health protection in education and childcare settings
Hand hygiene resources for schools
Respiratory infections including coronavirus (COVID-19)
Exclusion Period - Individuals should not attend if they have a high temperature and are unwell.
Individuals who have a positive test result for COVID-19 should not attend the setting for 3 days after the day of the test.
Living safely with respiratory infections, including COVID-19
On this page you will find the latest up to date information about Living safely with respiratory infections, including COVID-19. If you need to contact school during the school day or outside of school hours, the school email address is firstname.lastname@example.org During office hours the school telephone number is 0115 9179262. (Teachers have been told not to respond to ClassDojos out of school hours.)
Living with Covid-19 - Updated DfE and LA Guidance
Thank you for your support and patience as we have worked together to overcome the many challenges the pandemic has thrown at us.
Current national guidance states that it is not recommended that children and young people are tested for COVID-19 unless directed to by a health professional.
If your child has Covid-19 symptoms and is unwell and has a high temperature please keep them at home and avoid contact with other people. They can return to school when they no longer have a high temperature and feel well enough to be at school.
If you have chosen to test your child and they have a positive COVID-19 test result, they should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 3 days after the day they took the test, if they can. After 3 days, if they feel well and do not have a high temperature, the risk of passing the infection on to others is much lower. This is because children and young people tend to be infectious to other people for less time than adults.
The Government have also released guidance on Covid-19 vaccination information for parents/carers of children aged 5 to 11 years. The latest information can be found by clicking here.
In the guidance for schools, we will still be implementing the ‘standard’ measures of enhanced cleaning, good hand hygiene practice, and good ventilation. Staggered start and end times or have always been a feature of our large site and will remain as before. All measures have been risk assessed and will be reviewed regularly.
No Facemasks for Children
Apart from some pre agreed exceptions, as we have mentioned previously, children will not be allowed to wear masks in school. If children do wear one on the way to school, they should know how to safely take it off and have a sealed bag with them to keep it safe or throw it in a tissue bin in school. They should wash their hands immediately after they have taken off their face mask.
Change in Circumstances
If you feel that due to a change in personal circumstances that your family is now entitled to free school meals then please follow this link for further information https://www.gov.uk/apply-free-school-meals.