Covid in schools

What happens if a positive case of Covid-19 is identified in my child's school?

We have been working very hard on arrangements to keep our schools as safe as possible under the current guidance. This includes additional cleaning and hygiene routines and limiting the amount of opportunities that children and young people have in wider groups or shared spaces. This means that, if a positive case is identified in a school, Public Health can identify who has been in contact with the person.

If a positive case is identified within one of our schools we will work closely with NHS Lothian Health Protection Team following all national guidance. Schools will have arrangements in place to isolate potentially infected areas, and arrange for the appropriate level of cleaning, in line with Health Protection Scotland guidance. 

Test and Protect will work with the family to identify close contacts both within and outwith the school. Those contacts will then receive information directly from Test and Protect team with guidance advice to self-isolate at home for 14 days. If you are not contacted by Test and Protect, and your child and others from your household are not displaying symptoms of Covid-19, your child can continue to attend school as normal. 


How long does it take between hearing of a positive case and parents being officially informed?

The priority is to very quickly identify close contacts and advise them to self-isolate. This is handled by Test and Protect liaising with the family and the school. As soon as this process has completed, letters are issued and the school community is informed. This process is usually completed in a matter of hours.


What should I do if my child has Covid-19 symptoms?

If your child/young person is showing any symptoms of Covid-19 please do not send them to school. You should inform the school office of their absence in the usual way then self-isolate following guidance from NHS Inform and Test and Protect.

The most common symptoms of Covid-19 are:

  • A new, continuous cough
  • A fever/high temperature
  • A change or loss in taste and or/ smell.

Current guidance is that someone showing symptoms should self-isolate for 10 days while other members of the household should self-isolate for 14 days.

Further information is available at


What happens if my child falls ill at school?

Any child/young person who displays symptoms of Covid-19 will be taken to a room where they can safely remain separate from others and you or another emergency contact will be called to collect them. The priority will be to keep your child comfortable and 2m away from others while they await collection. Staff supporting them will wear PPE which they will then remove before returning to normal duties. Their desk area and any other school areas they accessed (ie toilets) will be cleaned using disinfectant. These measures have been introduced to reduce possible transmission. You should arrange a test for your child online at or call 0800 028 2816 then isolate at home until waiting for the result.

Please let the school know when you receive a test result. If it is positive the school will work with the council and Health Protection team to put appropriate measures in place for its buildings. If it is negative, your child can return to school providing they are well and have not had a fever for 48 hours.


Should a parent contact the school if they find out their child has Covid-19 outwith school hours or over a holiday period? 

Yes, parents should notify their school immediately so there is no delay and our schools can support the track and trace process. Schools have made out-of-hours contact details available on their email inboxes.


If a child in class has parents showing symptoms will all children have to isolate?

The Scottish Government's guidance will be followed in schools, as well as current self-isolation rules. If a child has parents displaying symptoms, then they should quarantine for 14 days.  There is no requirement for anyone else to quarantine, unless they have been contacted by the NHS as part of the Test and Protect Service, or if they themselves have symptoms of Covid-19.


Someone in our house has coronavirus symptoms – should my child come into school?

No. If you or anyone else in your household develops symptoms of coronavirus such as a high temperature or a new and continuous cough or a loss of/change in smell or taste, that person must stay at home for 7 days. In addition, everyone else in the household must stay at home for 14 days. You can find all the information about what you need to do on the NHS Inform website.


How do we receive our Free School Meals if we are isolating?

If a pupil who received Free School Meals is isolating, parents should not collect the meal from the school. Your school will contact the parent to arrange for delivery of the meal(s).


What arrangements will be made for children and young people who were previously shielding or are clinically vulnerable because of an underlying health condition?

If your child was shielding or had been considered clinically vulnerable, and you have any concerns about their return to school, please seek advice from your GP or clinician. Please also contact their Head Teacher, Depute Head Teacher or Guidance Teacher to discuss the best plan to support their return.  As part of each school's risk assessment, particular regard will be paid to those who previously fell within these categories. Any individual risk assessment and relevant control measures to support a pupil will be shared with their parent/carer.


More information

NHS Inform: Coronavirus in schools FAQ

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