Government advice that shielding for those people most at risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) has been paused for the moment. This means that most people who have previously been shielding are now able to get out and about more.
There are still some groups of children and young people who should continue to shield – your clinical team will contact you if this is the case. Of course, if someone lives in an area that is now subject to ‘local lockdown’, they should continue to shield and stay at home as much as possible.
The Government updated its guidance for people who are most at risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) at the beginning of August and put ‘shielding’ on pause. This means that most people who had previously been shielding can start to go out and about more. However, you should still be very careful to follow precautions to avoid infection, including strict social distancing.
Your clinical team at GOSH will be in touch if your child needs to continue to shield to explain what that means. We will try to do this before the end of August so you know whether your child can return to school in September as planned.
We know many families are anxious about their child returning to school. Decisions about how your child accesses education during COVID-19 should be made jointly between you and your child’s school. If you have questions or concerns about your child’s schooling, we’d encourage you to contact their school directly.
We know this may be worrying and you may feel that you should keep protecting your shielding child. We need to protect those who may be extremely clinically vulnerable to the virus, but we also know that children have much milder symptoms of COVID-19 and that unnecessary shielding can have a negative impact on their health and wellbeing. If you’re advised that you can stop strict shielding measures, you should feel comfortable doing so.
If you’ve received conflicting advice or are unsure about following guidance, we recommend you speak to your clinical team.
If someone in the household develops symptoms
It is advisable that the carer who is well and does not have symptoms stays with the child and keeps separate from other members of the family if possible. If this is not possible, then taking whatever precautions can be taken is likely to be sufficient.
Advice from your specialty team
It is important to remember any existing advice given to you by your specialty team for your child’s wellbeing, which is not related to COVID-19. This advice should continue to be observed at all times. You can access our specialty guidance here.
It is important not to stop any medication without first discussing this with your specialty team. If your child becomes unwell, and you would normally attend your local hospital, please call them as normal. If they are unable to offer the usual review please contact your GOSH team.
If you’re very worried about your child or your feel their life is at risk, please call 999 or take them to A&E or an urgent care centre as you normally would. They are open for all children who need care and are safe to attend.
If you are due to attend GOSH, and you have difficulties getting to your appointment, or your child has symptoms of COVID-19, please call the relevant specialty team for further assistance before attending GOSH.
If any of this advice changes, we will update this information. We also recommend you keep an eye on our FAQs at gosh.nhs.uk/covid-19-FAQ, which are regularly updated.
Further information and support
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) – translations of this information in languages other than English as well as Easy Read versions are online too.
- Information from the NHS
- Information for children is available on the BBC Newsround website
- Information from the RCPCH website