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Warwickshire County Council
Warwickshire County Council

Outbreak plan guidance


This outbreak management plan guidance and is designed to support school leaders in developing their responses to single cases, clusters and outbreaks of COVID-19 from September 2021 onwards. Please see attached word document, which contains both the Outbreak Plan Guidance, but also a proposed Template Outbreak plan, which you can choose to use.

Providers should refer to the government guidance for national guidance which comes into effect from 16 August 2021.

The below national COVID-19 operational guidance explains the continuing actions school leaders should take to reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) in their school.

New guidance has also been published explaining self-isolation rule changes for some close contacts from 16 August 2021 onwards.

Where there is an outbreak (see definitions below) further actions will need to be taken.

The Department of Education 'Managing coronavirus (COVID-19) in education and childcare settings' contingency framework describes the principles of managing local outbreaks of COVID-19 (including responding to variants of concern) in education and childcare settings.

Please note that the above contingency framework refers to measures that could be taken in a range of outbreak scenarios from small to larger or more significant outbreaks (see definitions below).

All education and childcare settings should have outbreak plans outlining how they will operate if additional measures are recommended in their setting or area. This includes how they would ensure every child, pupil or student receives the quantity and quality of education and care to which they would normally be entitled. A template outbreak management plan is included below.



Two or more test-confirmed cases of COVID-19 among individuals associated with a specific non-residential setting with illness onset dates within 14 days, and one of:

  • identified direct exposure between at least 2 of the test-confirmed cases in that setting (for example under one metre face to face, or spending more than 15 minutes within 2 metres) during the infectious period of one of the cases
  • when there is no sustained local community transmission - absence of an alternative source of infection outside the setting for the initially identified cases

Please note that outbreaks can differ significantly with regard to scale and significance from 2 linked cases in a class, to multiple cases across multiple year groups, to outbreaks linked with new variants of concern. Whilst the measures used to manage outbreaks will be the same, the number of measures and extent of measures taken, alongside the degree to which they become necessary requirements will vary.

Definitions of infectious periods and of close contact can be found through GOV.UK - Guidance for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person.

Symptoms of COVID-19

  • New continuous cough
  • High temperature
  • Loss or change in taste or smell

Anyone with one or more of these symptoms (irrespective of how mild) should isolate with their household and book a PCR test.

Settings should also be aware of the range of less common symptoms of COVID-19 (particularly if you have an outbreak in your setting or you are seeing higher numbers of cases):

  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Blocked/runny nose
  • Diarrhoea and vomiting 

Expectations of settings

It is expected that settings will continue to:

  • Promote full vaccination of all staff and parents
  • Ensure good hygiene for everyone.
  • Maintain appropriate cleaning regimes.
  • Keep occupied spaces well ventilated.
  • Follow public health advice on testing, self-isolation and managing confirmed cases of COVID-19.