With coronavirus rates rising in many parts of England, parents are still wondering when it’s safe to send their children to school.

The autumn period is when children often develop colds and coughs.

Normally, they’d go to school with these sniffles, but this year parents and schools are trying to identify a common cold and what could be Covid-19.

The NHS says the main three symptoms of Covid-19 are:

If your child displays any of these symptoms, the NHS advises parents to:

Anyone else in the household, or support bubble, must also stay at home until the result arrives.

The NHS says to get a coronavirus test in the first five days of displaying symptoms, either at a test site or by ordering a home test kit.

If it’s not possible to get a test within the first five days, the whole household and support bubble must self-isolate for at least 10 days.

Have you tried to get a test and been told none were available in your area? Let us know by emailing  [email protected]

Common cold symptoms

Boy blows his nose
If your child has a cold, they can still go to school

The NHS says a cold can often be treated without the need to see a GP, and clears up in a week or two.

Cold symptoms are often the same in adults and children and can come on gradually. They include:

The NHS website says: “It's fine to send your child to school with a minor cough or cold.

“But if they have a fever, keep them off school until the fever goes.

“Encourage your child to throw away any used tissues and to wash their hands regularly.”

Getting to school

Pupils travelling to school on dedicated transport have been asked to wear face coverings if they’re in Year 7 or above.

A mum walks her little girl to school
Parents and children are being encouraged to walk or cycle to school where possible

Those providing transport have been asked to apply social distancing where possible, provide hand sanitiser and move children in bubbles.

Parents have also been told not to gather at the school gate or go on site if they don’t have an appointment.

Schools have also been urged to encourage children to walk or cycle to school where possible.

Covid test at school

The government says all schools and further education providers have been given an initial supply of 10 test kits.

However, they should “only be used in the exceptional circumstance” when someone develops symptoms and cannot get a test elsewhere.

“The best and fastest way for students or staff to get a test result is to visit a testing site,” the government adds.

Schools have also been encouraged to stagger start and finish times, as well as morning and lunch breaks, to help keep children apart as much as possible.

A number of schools have also set up one-way systems to help meet the government advice to “avoid creating busy corridors, entrances and exits”.

Hand sanitisers are also located around buildings.

Covid outbreak at school

Year eight pupils wear face masks as a precaution against the transmission of the novel coronavirus as they queue in a corridor before attending an English lesson at Moor End Academy in Huddersfield
Face masks should be worn by pupils and teachers in secondary schools when they're not in the classroom

Two or more confirmed cases within 14 days, or a higher sickness absence in an area where Covid-19 is suspected, is classed as an outbreak at school.

If an outbreak is suspected, the government says a mobile testing unit may be sent. At first they’ll test the infected child’s class, followed by year group, and then whole school if necessary.

Sometimes whole year groups or the entire school could be sent home to self-isolate.

Schools are also expected to make sure children can continue to learn from home.

Schools in lockdown areas

A four-step process is in place for schools that are in local lockdowns or restrictions.

Tier 1: Schools remain fully open but staff and students in Year 7 and above must wear face coverings in communal areas such as corridors and staff rooms.

Tier 2: A rota system for secondary schools and colleges, while primary schools remain open.

Tiers 3 and 4: Remote learning for “wider groups of pupils”, with full-time attendance only for “priority groups: vulnerable children and the children of critical workers”.