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Is your child well enough to go to school - and when do they need a coronavirus test?

When should you keep your child home from school if they have a cough or cold – and how can you tell if it could be coronavirus?
Social distancing measures are in place - but sniffles and coughs can still be picked up in schools (Picture: PA Media)

Those back-to-school sniffles are a sure sign that summer is over, but this year they are causing additional concern. After being apart from friends for much longer than usual due to lockdown before the summer holidays, youngsters coming together – even with hygiene and social distancing measures in place – can mean the spread of bugs and colds.

The NHS website does say that children seem to get coronavirus less often than adults and it's usually less serious – but kids would need to be kept off school if they have any of the main symptoms.

Self-isolation for the whole household should begin if your child is feeling ill with a high temperature, a new and continuous cough, or a loss of change to their sense of smell or taste. A test should be booked, but only the people exhibiting symptoms need to be tested. Unfortunately, the current high demand for tests means that many in Peterborough are being sent long distances or unable to book a test at all.

Peterborough residents have shared their frustrations about the lack of testing available on Facebook, with many saying they're seeking tests for their sons or daughters who have been sent home from school with symptoms. One woman said the closest she could get this morning, September 15, was in Bedford. Another said the options yesterday were Birmingham or Aberdeen – and she didn't feel it wise to travel all that way with a poorly child confined in a car.

Any children feeling ill with other symptoms, such as a sore throat, runny nose or headache – as long as they are not accompanied by the Covid-19 symptoms – can be treated in the same way as they would have been prior to the pandemic.

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."

Children should also not be sent to school if any of the other household members begin displaying Covid-19 symptoms, until that person has returned a negative test.

Schools should be informed if children will not be in attendance.

For further advice about coronavirus and whether to send your child to school, visit the NHS website.