Coronavirus advice

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - update, advice and guidance for parents and carers


Are schools and settings in Hackney open?

On 18 March 2020, the government advised partial closure of all schools and settings from Monday 23 March and the cancellation of all exams.

The government has, however, asked that schools, colleges, nurseries, childminders and other registered childcare settings remain open for children of critical workers and vulnerable children where they can.

The Government is asking schools and settings to start to plan to reopen to more pupils, from the week commencing 1 June at the earliest. This would include:

  • Early years settings
  • Reception and Year 1
  • Year 6
  • Year 10 and 12 for some face to face time
  • Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Your school will be in touch with you to share more information as they have it.

The Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville and Deputy Mayor Cllr Anntoinette Bramble have released a statement regarding the proposed phased reopening of schools.

There is no change to the offer for children and young people who are classed as vulnerable and/or are the children of critical workers, who continue to be welcome to attend schools and settings (as they have been doing since March).

See the guidance on the closure of educational settings which sets out what this means, who is counted as a critical worker and who is classed as vulnerable. It also provides information about free school meals.

Please see our school closures page and also refer to school websites for more information on their status.

Will my child still get free school meals?

New guidance has been issued by the government for a national voucher scheme for free school meal provision where schools are unable to make local arrangements. The value of a free school meal voucher has now been set at £15 per week nationally. Each school will make arrangements for the distribution of the vouchers, usually by email or text, but if this is not practical for you please contact your school office. More information on the scheme can be found on the GOV.UK website.

New applications for free school meals will still be processed in the same way as before. If you think you have recently become eligible please contact your school office.

Find out more about the provision of free school meals during the coronavirus lockdown.

Some families who have no recourse to public funds may also be eligible for free school meals under a temporary extension to free school meal eligibility. Please contact your school for more information and to apply under this extension.

If you do receive free school meal vouchers, find out more about healthy and easy recipe ideas

Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health - Advice for parents during coronavirus

Whilst coronavirus is infectious to children it is rarely serious. If a child is unwell it is likely to be a non-coronavirus illness, rather than coronavirus itself.

Whilst it is extremely important to follow Government advice to stay at home during this period, it can be confusing to know what to do when a child is unwell or injured.

NHS 111, GPs and hospitals are still providing the same safe care that they have always done. A downloadable poster with advice is available from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health website. 

What to do if you or your child has coronavirus symptoms

Stay at home for seven days if you have:

  • a high temperature;
  • a new continuous cough; or
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia).

If you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms.

Read the stay at home guidance which sets out when and how to self isolate.

You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them that you are staying at home. Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

  • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • your condition gets worse
  • your symptoms do not get better after 7 days
  • Only call 111 if you cannot get help online

Advice and guidance

Please note that this information is regularly updated and you should, therefore, refer back to it for any changes

In addition, the NSPCC has created a number of resources to support parents and carers during this difficult time. Topics include:

  • Talking to a child worried about coronavirus
  • Parents working from home
  • Children staying home alone
  • Lockdown and separated parents
  • How to cope with tantrums and other difficult behaviour

This advice can be found on the NSPCC website.

What other action you should take

A UK-wide campaign has been launched to provide clear advice on how to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Please help to support the campaign which promotes basic hygiene practices, such as regularly washing hands and always sneezing into a tissue (and then immediately disposing of it), to stem the spread of viruses.

See the NHS advice about washing your hands

This page was last modified on: 20 May 2020