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National Information and Guidance

What is Covid-19 Coronavirus? - Symptoms, high risk groups, protecting yourself, self-isolation and seeking medical help

Page last reviewed 14/01/2021

Please note this page contains the current information and guidance from the National Health Service and and the SEND Local Offer will be updated as required. You can also find the latest information on the NHS website.

What is Covid 19?

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a type of virus called coronavirus.


Do not leave your home if you have either:

  • a high temperature - this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

Who's at high risk from coronavirus?

Coronavirus can make anyone seriously ill, but there are some people who are at a higher risk.

For example, you may be at high risk from coronavirus if you:

  • have had an organ transplant
  • are having certain types of cancer treatment
  • have blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemia
  • have a severe lung condition, such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma
  • have a condition that makes you much more likely to get infections
  • are taking medicine that weakens your immune system
  • are pregnant and have a serious heart condition

Important Note:

If you're at high risk, you will previously have received a letter from the NHS or from your GP telling you this.

How to protect yourself if you're at high risk

Updated guidance from the Government 13th January 2021

The Government guidance has been updated to support the clinically extremely vulnerable in protecting themselves from exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19). It replaces previous guidance on shielding. This guidance is for everyone in England who has been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable. If you are in this group, you will previously have received a letter from the NHS or from your GP telling you this. You may have been advised to shield in the past. To read the guidance please go to the Government website

Local Support:

If you need support e.g getting help with food or medicines you can request support through the Nottinghamshire County Council Coronavirus Community Support Hub. To find out more go to the Nottinghamshire County Council website. Alternatively, you can call our Customer Service Centre on 0300 500 8080 between 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.


Do not leave your home if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or live with someone who does.

This is called self-isolation.

If you are self-isolating, you must:

  • not leave your home for any reason, other than to exercise once a day – but stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people
  • not go out to buy food or collect medicine – order them by phone or online, or ask someone else to drop them off at your home
  • not have visitors, such as friends and family, in your home

You can use your garden, if you have one.

If you have symptoms

If you have symptoms of coronavirus, you'll need to self-isolate for 7 days.

After 7 days:

  • if you do not have a high temperature, you do not need to self-isolate
  • if you still have a high temperature, keep self-isolating until your temperature returns to normal

You do not need to self-isolate if you just have a cough after 7 days. A cough can last for several weeks after the infection has gone.

What to do if you need medical help

If you need medical help for any reason, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

If you have symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature or a new, continuous cough), use the 111 coronavirus service.

If you need help or advice not related to coronavirus:

  • for health information and advice, use the NHS website or your GP surgery website
  • for urgent medical help, use the NHS 111 online service – only call 111 if you're unable to get help online
  • for life-threatening emergencies, call 999 for an ambulance

If you need help or advice not related to coronavirus:

  • for health information and advice, use the NHS website or your GP surgery website
  • for urgent medical help, use the NHS 111 online service – only call 111 if you're unable to get help online
  • for life-threatening emergencies, call 999 for an ambulance

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health have provided a 'traffic light' system for parents and carers on symptoms and what you need to do. Just click on the icon below to open up the document:

Advice for parentscarers if your child is unwell








Protecting yourself from Coronavirus - Do's and Don'ts


Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds

  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available

  • wash your hands as soon as you get back home

  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze

  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards


  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Watch the Government and NHS video on how you should wash your hands to protect yourself from Coronavirus:


Government Measures and Guidance

Page last updated 12/05/21

This page contains the latest guidance from the Cabinet Office but please be aware this information could change and the SEND Local Offer will be updated as quickly as possible to reflect any such changes. You can also find the latest information on the Government website.

British Sign Language Videos

You can access daily translated updates on coronavirus, from Government briefings, in British Sign Language, from the deaf health charity Sign Health.

February 22nd 2021

The roadmap to ease lockdown restrictions has been published today by the Government:


As part of Step 3, no earlier than 17 May, the government will look to continue easing limits on seeing friends and family wherever possible, allowing people to decide on the appropriate level of risk for their circumstances.

This means that most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors will be lifted - although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal. Indoors, the Rule of 6 or 2 households will apply - we will keep under review whether it is safe to increase this.

As soon as possible and by no later than Step 3, the Government will also update the advice on social distancing between friends and family, including hugging. But until this point, people should continue to keep their distance from anyone not in their household or support bubble.

For further information go to the Government website


Business and activities:

Step 2, which will be no earlier than 12 April, will see the opening of non-essential retail; personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons; and public buildings, including libraries and community centres. Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms will also reopen (but only for use by people on their own or in household groups); as will most outdoor attractions and settings including outdoor hospitality venues, zoos, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas.


Somnd weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise to 15.e of the rules on what you can and cannot do changed on 29 March. However, many restrictions remain in place.

From 29 March:

  • you can meet outdoors either in a group of 6 (from any number of households), or in a group of any size from up to 2 households (a household can include an existing support bubble, if eligible);
  • you can take part in formally organised outdoor sports with any number of people (outdoor sports venues and facilities will be able to reopen);
  • childcare and supervised activities are allowed outdoors for all children;
  • formally organised parent and child groups can take place outdoors for up to 15 attendees. Children under 5 will not be counted in this number.

You must not socialise indoors with anyone you do not live with or have formed a support bubble with. You should continue to work from home if you can and minimise the number of journeys you make where possible. Social distancing measures and the wearing of face masks are still in place. 

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable:

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus.

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, you should continue to follow the guidance for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable. From 1 April, you will no longer be advised to shield. However, you should continue to take precautions to protect yourself.

Going to School and College:

School pupils and students in further education should attend school and college.

All schools, colleges and other further education settings are open for face-to-face teaching during term time. It remains very important for children and young people to attend, to support their wellbeing and education and to help working parents and guardians.

Clinically extremely vulnerable pupils and students should return to school or other educational settings from 1 April 2021.

There is further guidance on what parents need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during COVID-19.

The following people in England will have access to regular rapid lateral flow testing now schools and colleges are open to all students:

  • secondary school pupils and college students
  • primary and secondary school staff and college staff
  • households, childcare and support bubbles of primary and secondary-age pupils and college students
  • households, childcare and support bubbles of primary and secondary school and college staff

See the guidance on rapid lateral flow testing for households and bubbles of school pupils and staff


The Government has set out its plan to return to as near to normal life as we can, as quickly and fairly as possible in order to safeguard livelihoods, in a way that continues to protect communities and the NHS. This COVID-19 Response sets out how the Government will continue to protect and support citizens across the UK and provides a roadmap out of the current lockdown in England. To access the document, which is also available in different formats including easy read and large print, please go to the Government website

Government Guidance on Mass Asymptomatic Testing in Specialist Settings (Updated 31st December 2020)

The Government is delivering a programme of rapid asymptomatic testing from the start of January for children and young people in year 7 and above (or equivalent) in secondary schools, further education colleges, special schools and specialist colleges. 

The objectives of this programme are to:

  • keep education settings open
  • ensure as many pupils and students as possible are receiving high quality, face-to-face education
  • help safeguard the health of the staff of education settings and their pupils and students
  • break chains of transmission of the virus

To find out more information on the programme please go to the Government website.

Face Coverings

Updated Information 14th July 2020:

The Government announced that from July 24th in England, you must wear a face covering by law in the following settings:

  • public transport
  • indoor transport hubs (airports, rail and tram stations and terminals, maritime ports and terminals, bus and coach stations and terminals)
  • shops and supermarkets (places which are open to the public and that wholly or mainly offer goods or services for retail sale or hire)
  • indoor shopping centres
  • banks, building societies, and post offices (including credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses)

You are expected to wear a face covering immediately before entering any of these settings and must keep it on until you leave.

Those who have an age, health or disability reason for not wearing a face covering should not be routinely asked to give any written evidence of this, this includes exemption cards. No person needs to seek advice or request a letter from a medical professional about their reason for not wearing a face covering.

Some people may feel more comfortable showing something that says they do not have to wear a face covering.This could be in the form of an exemption card, badge or even a home-made sign.

This is a personal choice and is not necessary in law.

Access exemption card templates

Easy Read Guide

You can read an easy read guide on face coverings here or by clicking on the image below:

Easy Read Face Coverings










Government Guidance Relating to Children and Young people with SEND and their Families

Page last reviewed 14/01/2021

Ministerial letter to the SEND sector:

You can read the letter here or by clicking on the icon below:

Ministers Letter 5th March 2021








Guidance for full opening: special schools and other specialist settings

This guidance advises all special schools and other specialist settings will need to do during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak from the start of the autumn term to support the return of children and young people with special education needs and disability (SEND). You can read the guidance on the Government website.

Guidance for parents/carers on supporting children's mental health and wellbeing during the Coronavirus pandemic

This advice is to help adults with caring responsibilities look after the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people, including those with additional needs and disabilities, during the COVID-19 pandemic. To read the full advice go to the Government website.

Useful SEND Contacts for Information, Advice and Resources

Page last reviewed 14/01/2021

Here are useful contacts specifically for families with children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. These organisations have lots of information, advice and resources.

Just click on the links below, which will take you to their websites or use the contact details to get in touch:

Council for Disabled Children

The best way to contact is to email  Alternatively, you can leave a voice message on 020 7843 6000.

The new 'CDC questions' inbox provides the opportunity to ask questions about how coronavirus will impact on children and and young people with SEND as well as other questions relating to the impact on families. They will collate Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and share them with the Department for Education (DfE) and Ministers as appropriate in order to publish an FAQs newflash each Friday.

If you are a parent carer with a question about your individual circumstances you may be able to find an answer here:

Contact (for Families with Disabled Children)

Call their free helpline 0808 808 3555 or email:

Disability Rights UK

Office Number: 0330 995 0400 (please note this line is not an advice line) or email:





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