Skip to main content

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Info for Parents

We have put together some advice and information for Parents and Carers in relation to the Coronavirus.

Are the schools and early years settings in Islington open?

Islington schools and childcare providers continue to offer places to the priority groups – vulnerable children and children of critical workers – as they have been since the end of March 2020.

The Government asked schools and settings to plan to reopen to more pupils, from the week commencing 1 June beginning with children in reception, year 1 and year 6.

In Islington the health and safety of all children and the school community is our first priority. Our policy is to have a phased return to school for more children at a time and in a manner that keeps them safe. The decisions school leaders and their governing bodies take, will be guided by a robust risk assessment and careful planning, with support from the council, to make sure it is as safe as possible. Schools will be writing to parents to advise on timings and specific plans for their children’s school.

Read the full Government guidance - what parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

If you are a key worker living in Islington and need advice about childcare, you can contact the Family Information Service on 020 7527 5959 or email fis@islington.gov.uk. Phone line open Monday to Friday, from 9am to 4pm.

My child has symptoms can they attend school?

Children who are unwell, or who have symptoms of COVID-19 must not attend school or early years settings, and must self-isolate at home for 7 days. Their household contacts must self-isolate at home for 14 days.

Children whose household members have symptoms of COVID-19 must not attend school or early years settings, and must self-isolate at home for 14 days.

Children and young people with underlying health conditions should continue to shield. This means that they should not be attending school under any circumstances.

For further information see the Government’s stay at home guidance.

At school, what measures help to stop the spread of the virus?

  • Teachers and children should wash their hands more often and for 20 seconds
  • Use soap and water or a hand sanitiser when they
    • Get home or into school
    • Blow their nose, sneeze or cough
    • Eat or handle food
  • Cover their mouth and nose with a tissue or their sleeve (not your hands) when they cough or sneeze and throw the tissue away straight away
  • Supervise young children to ensure they wash their hands more often than usual
  • Clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces more often than usual using your standard cleaning products
  • If teacher, young people or children become unwell at shcool with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature they should be sent home.

Islington Council's response to Coronavirus

Read more about what the council is doing in response to Coronavirus and advice to keep you, your family and vulnerable residents safe.

You can also find out about the changes to other Council Services which will stay in place until further notice.

Supporting your child during the lockdown

Here are some tips to help you support your child’s wellbeing and learning during the coronavirus lockdown.

  • Look after yourself - as a parent it is important to take care of your own wellbeing and mental health first. Children can pick on your mood so if you are feeling stressed your child may be too.

  • Enjoy time this time with your child - don’t feel that you must recreate a classroom at home. Playing and having fun with your child is important too - bake, build, play a board game, do arts and crafts, watch a film or read a book together.

  • Talk to your child - it is important to talk to children and young people about the Coronavirus outbreak so that they don’t imagine the worst and become overly anxious. There is more information below on how to approach this.

  • Connect with other people - although we need to maintain our distance from others, it is still possible to help keep your child in touch with family and friends.  Apps such as Zoom, What’s App, or FaceTime are useful and you can always pick up the phone.

  • Routines - Keep as many regular routines as possible so that your child feels safe and that things are stable. The Bridge Outreach Service have provided some templates to help you create visual timetables.

  • Keep active - Add a daily physical activity into you and your child’s routine. If possible, go outside for a walk or a bike ride or try an online activity indoors. Cosmic Kids Yoga and PE with Joe Wicks are both available for free on You Tube.

  • Home learning - some home learning every day will help your child to maintain and develop their skills so that they haven’t forgotten them when they get back to school. See below for more information on home learning.

Talking to your child about Coronavirus

If your child is worried or anxious about coronavirus, here are five tips to help you.  You may also find this NHS poster for children useful:

  • Try not to shield your child from the news.
  • Talk to your child about what is going on.
  • Try to answer their questions and reassure them in an age appropriate manner.
  • Reassure your child that it is unlikely they will get seriously ill, and if they do feel ill you will look after them.
  • Give some practical tips to your child about how they can look after themselves e.g. show them how to wash their hands properly.

Reaching Families animation below is designed as a tool to help parents talk to their children about coronavirus and the 'new normal' we are all trying to adapt to.

Support from the School Health Service

The School Health Service is still available for help and support during the COVID-19 Outbreak. They are offering support directly to parents and their children and young people around keeping healthy whilst home isolating, emotional wellbeing, general health, and help to access other health services whilst at home. See School Health Service Leaflet.

You can contact the team by telephone or email and a School Nurse will call or email you back.

Alternatively, you can book an appointment to see a School Nurse at twice weekly clinics which begin on the 5 May 2020:

Contact the School Health Service by telephone (020 3316 8021) or email (whh‐tr.IslingtonSchoolNursing@nhs.net).

Supporting children and young people’s mental health

The Government have produced Guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

It explains that children and young people may react in different ways according to their age, and gives some practical advice for parents/carers on how to help support their children to cope with stress during this time.
  
There is also specific information for/around:

  • Children who are accessing mental health services
  • Children with learning disabilities
  • Autistic children
  • Children with physical health issues
  • Children who are young carers
  • Bullying
  • Money worries

It includes where to get further help and advice and has links to Helplines and websites. 

There is also an easy to read version of this guidance that explains ‘Looking after your feelings and your body’.

Islington's Educational Psychology Service continues to support schools and settings and the children, young people, families and staff related to them.  They offer psychological support to settings in the event of a critical incident. This support is available to all Islington schools.

Support for Home Learning

Here are some resources and links to help you with the challenges of supporting home learning during the coronavirus crisis and temporary school closure:

The Government have brought together an initial list of online educational resources to help children to learn at home. These websites have been identified by some of the country’s leading educational experts and offer a wide range of support and resources for pupils of all ages. The list includes SEN Resources which have been recommended by special education headteachers.

ChatterPack is a voluntary organisation who have produce have a wide and growing range of free, downloadable resources to support home learning for children and young people with SEND ‘to ease the burden on schools and families during this undoubtedly worrying time’ (Claire Ryan, Founder).

All links to google drive documents were shared publicly for re-use by others.

  • BBC Bitesize - Lots of material already available, and beginning Monday 20 April, BBC Bitesize will publish daily online lessons for all ages. There will also be a new dedicated TV channel full of learning content, podcasts on BBC Sounds and lots of educational video on iPlayer.

The above information is not provided as advice, and parents remain responsible for deciding the relevance of content to their own circumstances.

Back to School Resources

Salvesen Mindroom Centre is a Scottish charity dedicated to supporting, informing and empowering all those living with learning difficulties. In consultation with colleagues in the research community, in schools and in the third sector they have published a free Back to School toolkit providing resources to support children with SEND in mainstream school.

Some of the resources are aimed at parents and families to help prepare children for their return to school.

Support available to keep your child safe online

As most people are confined to their homes during the Coronavirus pandemic, we are using the internet and online services more than ever. Being online is providing a lifeline for everyone from the young to the old, learners and workers, the vulnerable and those seeking an escape from boredom. It is therefore important that parents and carers are reassured that their children are safe when online. Below are some useful links to help with this:

  • Thinkyouknow (advice from the National Crime Agency to stay safe online)
  • Internet matters (support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online)
  • Parent info (support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online)
  • LGfL (support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online)
  • Net-aware (support for parents and carers from the NSPCC)

Further Support

We are Islingon

Islington Council is working with other groups to provide support. This may include help with getting food or medicine, online group activities, or legal advice. We are Islington is on 020 7527 8222 or weareislington@islington.gov.uk Minicom: 020 7527 1900 all open 9am to 5pm.

Islington SEND Community Support Service

The Islington SEND Community Support Service is currently providing advice to families of children and young people with SEN by telephone or email. If you need free, legally based, impartial, confidential and accessible information, advice and support on any matters relating to special educational needs and disabilities you can contact the service on 020 3031 6651 / 020 3031 6652 or islingtonsend@family-action.org.uk. They are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

The Department for Education Coronavirus Helpline

The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Parents and young people can contact this helpline on 0800 046 8687. They are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm and Saturday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm.

Government Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp

The Government's new, free to use, service aims to provide official, trustworthy and timely information and advice about coronavirus, and further reduce the burden on NHS services.

To use the free GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp, simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.

Kooth

Kooth is a free, safe and anonymous online counselling and emotional well-being platform available to all children and young people in Islington. Counsellors are available to chat online at www.kooth.com between 12pm and 10pm, Monday to Friday and 6pm and 10pm, Saturday and Sunday.   

Health Services

If you are worried about your child, you should access health services in the same way you would normally:

  • Refer to NHS online: for general information, to check symptoms and the right steps to take
  • Use 111 online: you can also call 111 for further advice but please be aware that this service is busy
  • If necessary call your GP to discuss your concerns and seek help
  • If your concerns related to coronavirus you can also check the NHS symptom checker
  • If you need immediate assistance dial 999 or attend an accident and emergency department

At present, Accident and Emergency services for children are based at North Middlesex Hospital, Royal Free Hampstead and Whittington Hospital.