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Hoax messages about Sheffield schools testing children for Coronavirus

Hands holding a mobile phone

Sheffield City Council is aware of a round of hoax messages that have been circulating on social media regarding schools having children tested for coronavirus without seeking permission from parents; and children to be taken into quarantine if they tested positive for the virus.

Cabinet member for Education and Skills at Sheffield City Council Abtisam Mohamed, said:

“We understand that this false message may cause serious concern and anxiety among parents and carers around sending their children back to school next week as term begins.

“The circulation of false rumours like this, undermine the huge effort schools in Sheffield have made to fully reopen in preparation for children returning to school in a week’s time. We can reassure parents and carers that all schools in our city have worked incredibly hard to make sure their educational settings are safe and ready to receive pupils.

“We would like to categorically reassure parents that the circumstances described in the rumours will never happen. Schools would always contact parents if a child became unwell at school. The school would never arrange a Covid-19 test of a child without parental consent.”

Director of Public Health Greg Fell, said:

“Our Public Health team has continued to work closely with all schools during the summer months to put in place safety arrangements for the prevention of Covid-19 and to be able to rapidly respond to cases if they arise. It is a near certainty there will be cases as schools go back, but please be assured that we have the right arrangements in place.

“We would like to make it very clear that there is no substance to the circulating rumours and they bear no resemblance to what will actually happen in the event of a young person being unwell.”

We can confirm the Police have been notified and are treating this situation very seriously.

What to do if you think a child is unwell

In the event that a child is unwell and is showing the following symptoms, however mild, please keep your child from school until you are able to get a test:

  • A high temperature
  • A new, continuous cough
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

People should only take a test if they have symptoms of Covid-19. Tests can be arranged by calling 119, can be booked online at nhs.uk/coronavirus or you can walk-in at the local test centre as you can attend without an appointment. Please check our testing centre pages for your nearest centre in Sheffield. 

We can all do our bit to help prevent the spread of the virus by:

  • Staying at home if you have symptoms, even if they are mild (this is what makes the most difference). We know that 50% of people with symptoms don’t stay at home so this is the biggest difference you can make.
  • If you have symptoms, GET A TEST.
  • If you are asked to isolate, it does mean you must stay at home.
  • Keep your distance, 2m where possible.
  • Wash your hands with soap and hot water.
  • Wear a face covering (if you can) when using public transport, entering shops and when you can’t keep a safe distance from others.