Schools have been told to send children with a cough home to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The government has updated its guidance to say all educational settings should remain open for now unless advised to close by Public Health England.
It has also changed the information to tell schools to send home anyone who becomes unwell with a “new, continuous cough or a high temperature”.
If kids cannot be collected immediately, teachers are being urged to usher them into a room on their own where they can be isolated “behind a closed door”.
The government advice says “ideally” there should be an open window, and that they must try and use a separate toilet to the other kids before being collected.
This must then be cleaned and disinfected before anyone else can use it.
Teacher who help them are told to continue as normal, unless they take ill themselves.
The guidance also states that, in most cases, school closures will not be needed – but this will be a local decision based on factors such as establishment size and risk of further spread.
If there is urgent public health action to take, the local Public Health England Health Protection Team will contact the school and undertake a risk assessment.
It says PHE will “rarely advise” a school to close, but adds: “This may be necessary if there are so many staff being isolated that the school has operational issues.”
Regularly touched objects should also be cleaned, the advice states, and disinfected more than usual using standard cleaning products, while young children should be supervised to ensure they wash their hands for 20 seconds using soap and water.
The government says the guidance, which covers childcare, schools, further and higher educational institutions, may be further updated in line with the changing situation.
The change comes as thousands of schoolchildren were reportedly preparing to refuse to turn up to lessons to protest the government's refusal to close schools.
A Twitter hashtag sparked a walkout movement among young Brits who are worried about catching the deadly virus that has killed 35 people in the UK so far.
The hashtag #Covid19walkout inspired thousands to stay at home on Friday while the government insisted shutting the doors of schools will be a last-resort option.
School heads and teaching unions are holding talks with Education Secretary Gavin Williamson today as the pressure grows to to close classrooms for at least a month.
An online petition also demanding closures has reached almost 600,000 signatures.
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