This picture demonstrates how just socially distancing yourself and others can have a dramatic effect in stopping the spread and protecting others. It has been suggested that given we do not yet have a vaccine and we need to slow the spread of the virus, maintaining a physical distance is effectively the next best thing in helping break the person to person infection. Children/young people will pester to go out and socialise with their friends, they are kids and will want to do what kids do in their normal daily lives. However, over the coming weeks you need to make sure that the only physical social contact they have is with immediate family. We know this isn’t going to be easy. It’s really important that you think about your own stress levels as you address this with your children and choose a good time to talk it through with them when you are both feeling calm and rational. It is likely that children of all ages will need to revisit the discussion time and time again as they try to understand the message. It’s important that you recognise this is normal, it’s the way they process information. Continue to connect with them, listen to their worries and concerns. These might at times seem small compared to other worries going on in your family, but are very important to them. If they have their worries acknowledged, (even if you can’t fix them) and a young person feels heard, it will help them to move on and help them to understand what they need to do and why.
However we understand this is often hard to read and take in so we have tried to provide you with information that hopefully will be more easily understood by children and young people.
How to explain to primary school age children:
Try talking to your children about the virus for example; ‘There is a virus called Covid19 that makes some people poorly, most people are fine but some can get very poorly and need to go into hospital. Children can carry Covid-19 but not know they have it. So we can’t visit Nana for a little while in case we give her the virus. The good thing is that we can talk to her and (where possible) see her via our mobile phone’.
You can also help stop your friends from getting ill by being a ‘Super Hero’ and protecting them, this is how;
If you have to go to school as your mummy/daddy/carer is also a ‘Super Hero’ then make sure you stay 2 metres away (show this distance by using a ball game with them, stand them 2m away and throw the ball) listen to the staff &
teachers in school they know how to keep you safe.
If you are in school you will find that things are different as there will be less children and young people and you will be doing different activities. You will get the chance to make new friends but it might feel a bit strange to start off with
You can’t play with your friends how you used to, this includes holding hands,giving each other piggy backs, sharing food, drinks or sharing secrets! You can however talk to your friends on the phone or video call them
Always stay 2m away from anyone who does not live in your home. Imagine your super hero cape is very long or you have an imaginary force shield around you; you can’t possibly walk around safely if people are too close!
Check out our new characters 2 Metre Rita and 6 Feet Pete. Look out for them on Facebook.com/oursheff
You can go on your bike, walk the dog, go outside but at the moment you
can’t do this with your friends, If you do see other people whilst you are out
then wave and shout to them but remember the 2m ‘Superhero’ rule
Try to show children how they are helping others by their actions. You are showing them how to protect their friends and family but also being kind to them by keeping in touch.
Finally this is a worrying time and many young people may be feeling anxious about Covid-19. They may be worrying about friends and family getting ill as well as their own health. It is ok to feel upset or anxious, this is normal. Encourage young people to talk about how they are feeling. There are lots of online resources and Apps including virtual exercise classes.
Try and ensure everyone in the house gets plenty of sleep, continues to eat healthy and stays connected with friends/family via social media and telephone. If young people are regularly using social media talk to them about their social media use and make sure they are taking regular breaks.
The Sheffield Healthy Minds leaflet may help you
www.kooth.com – is a free online counselling service for young people aged 11-18 years old if they are feeling anxious and worried
Have a look at www.epicfriends.co.uk
We hope this information is useful. We know these are difficult times and talking to your children about what they do not understand can really help. Finally we think you are doing an amazing job. Some parents/carers are having to work and home school and for that we applaud you. Be kind to yourselves as parent/carers. Your children will not remember how good you were at algebra but they will remember how you listened and helped make them feel safe.
New guidance for households with symptoms
Yesterday, the Government introduced new guidance on whole household isolation in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak:
- if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started
- if you live with others and you or another member of the household have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. It is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
- for anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period.
The symptoms are:
- A high temperature (37.8 degrees and above)
- A new, continuous cough
The full stay at home guidance for households with these symptoms can be found here:
The Prime Minister’s statement from Monday 16 March can be found here:
Preventing spread of infection
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus.
There are general principles anyone can follow to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
- washing your hands often - with soap and water, or use alcohol sanitiser if handwashing facilities are not available. This is particularly important after taking public transport
- covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in a bin. See Catch it, Bin it, Kill it
- people who feel unwell should stay at home and should not attend work or any education or childcare setting
- pupils, students, staff and visitors should wash their hands:
- before leaving home
- on arrival at school
- after using the toilet
- after breaks and sporting activities
- before food preparation
- before eating any food, including snacks
- before leaving school
- use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfacesSsee further information on the Public Health England Blog and the NHS UK website.
Face masks for the general public, pupils or students, or staff are not recommended to protect from infection, as there is no evidence of benefit from their use outside healthcare environments.
The most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves is to wash their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and travelling on public transport.
Watch this short NHS film for guidance: