Coproduced by WSPCF and Reaching Families

Information for Parent Carers

The information on Coronavirus on these web pages has been written and compiled by West Sussex Parent Carer Forum and Reaching Families using trusted local and national resources. Given the picture is changing daily we cannot take responsibility for the information or any actions taken as a result. We will be adding more information as and when we receive it so please keep visiting these pages to stay up-to-date.

Latest guidance on staying at home and away from others 

On Sunday 10th May, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced some changes to the lockdown in the first stage of their plans.

You should still stay at home, except for some limited reasons:

• To go to work if you cannot work from home
• Going to shops that are permitted to be open, such as for food or medicines, or to collect goods
that have been ordered online or by phone
• To exercise, or from Wednesday 13th May, to spend time outdoors for recreation (From
Wednesday 13 May, the government will also allow outdoor sports facilities – such as tennis
and basketball courts – to open; you can drive to open outdoor public spaces and can
sit/sunbathe/picnic in public; but you should only do these alone, with members of your
household, or with one other person from outside your household, while keeping two metres
apart at all times.)
• For any medical need, to donate blood, avoid injury or illness, escape risk of harm, or to provide
care or to help a vulnerable person.

When you do leave your house, you should follow the advice on Staying Safe Outside your Home
which includes:

  • Maintaining 2 metres distance from anyone not in your household
  • Wash your hands frequently, use alcohol hand sanitiser when that is not possible, especially when entering a building or touching surfaces, and avoid touching your face
  • Consider wearing a face covering if you cannot avoid being in a busy area
  • Washing clothes regularly if you are around people from other households
  • Consider being side-by-side, rather than face-to-face, if you cannot maintain 2 metre distance, this reduces   the risk of being exposed to respiratory droplets
  • Employers have a duty to assess and manage risks to your safety in the workplace. The government has issued guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus. This includes guidance on how to make adjustments to your workplace to help you maintain social distancing

Everyone must comply with these measures. The relevant authorities, including the police, will be given
the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

Separate advice is available for individuals or households who are isolating, and for the most vulnerable
who need to be shielded.

If you work in a critical sector outlined in this guidance, or your child has been identified as vulnerable,
you can continue to take your children to school, nursery or pre-school. Where parents do not live in the
same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes.
This information is from here.

The Family Information Service can offer help and advice with nursery, pre-school and school settings
that are open to meet these needs.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.

We know that families caring for a child with SEND may be particularly worried about the COVID-19 coronavirus. We therefore wanted to share some information for parents and carers that might help.

You can access current UK Government Guidelines and advice here

How to avoid catching and spreading the virus

Currently the best advice is to follow the NHS guidelines. This includes washing your hands with soap and water regularly for 20 seconds – encourage your child to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ whilst they’re doing it, or say the Lord’s Prayer! If you are outside of your home, you can use hand sanitiser gel. Remember to catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue or in the crook of your elbow.

The symptoms of Coronavirus

Most people with Coronavirus have at least one of theses symptoms:

  • A high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest and back
  • A new continuous cough – this means coughing a lot more than an  hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.

The NHS advise that anyone with symptoms should stay at home for at least 7 days. If after 7 days, you do not have a high temperature, you do not need to continue to self-isolate. If you still have a high temperature, keep self-isolating until your temperature returns to normal.  

 If you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), then you must stay at home for 7 days or longer until your temperature is normal, but all other household members who remain well 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. See the explanatory diagram. 

This poster was produced by The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, it may be worth downloading or saving as a quick reference guide.

Vulnerable groups

The government hasn’t given any specific advice on vulnerable children but has said the groups mentioned in this link should be particularly vigilant in social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak:

The government has provided further advice on Extremely Vulnerable groups, and is creating a register of those people who may need additional help to remain isolated during this time (we believe this may mean support with access to emergency food and medication deliveries) – the link to register for this is

For information on whether you fall into the extremely vulnerable group, and what action you should take, check here.

Carers and Visitors

Agree a plan with any carers, including PAs, who enter your home and ensure they are strictly following the NHS guidelines. This includes family and friends who may visit.

The NHS have published a ‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it‘ poster, which you could download and put up around your home if that helps.

Treatment plans and medical appointments

If you can, continue to follow your agreed treatment plan. If you have an appointment at your GP surgery or hospital, please check beforehand if you should attend.


Whilst there is no need to stock-pile large quantities of medicines, ensure you have adequate supplies, especially of prescribed medication. If you run out, find out how to get an emergency prescription here.

There is a lot of conflicting advice around the use of paracetamol and ibuprofen to treat the symptoms of Coronavirus. There is currently no strong evidence that ibuprofen can make coronavirus (COVID-19) worse. But until more information becomes available, NHS England recommend that you take paracetamol to treat the symptoms of coronavirus, unless your doctor has told you paracetamol is not suitable for you.

If you are already taking ibuprofen or another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) on the advice of a doctor, do not stop taking it without checking first.


Like all areas of healthcare, pharmacies are under enormous pressure to help their communities stay healthy during the coronavirus pandemic. They really are the unsung heroes of healthcare, continuing to provide treatment and advice where GPs and other clinicians can’t.

But it’s important to note that, in order to keep providing a safe service, pharmacies have to introduce new measures to protect patients and staff from COVID-19. Listen to any advice given to you by the pharmacy, as well as the following:

  • Do not visit a pharmacy if you’re experiencing symptoms of coronavirus.
  • Do not over-order your prescriptions or stockpile medications.
  • Be patient with pharmacists.
  • Do not phone the pharmacy unless absolutely necessary.
  • Follow the social distancing measures put in place by the pharmacy – don’t come within 2 metres of another person.

Holidays and travel

If you are planning a holiday, or intending to travel, there is some useful advice on the government website. It also includes guidance for those returning from abroad.

Meetings and events

If you have booked to attend a meeting or event, please check before you set out whether it is still happening.

The health and wellbeing of our families is paramount to WSPCF. We have therefore cancelled all our own events for the foreseeable future, and will not be attending meetings until the situation improves. Our office also remains closed until further notice, but our team are working from home and can be contactable via our email address ( or our Facebook page.

Getting professional help

If you think you’ve been in contact with someone with coronavirus, or if you have any non-emergency concerns about your health, that of your child, or those in your household (including family members and carers), use 111 online. Tell them that you are a parent carer and explain your situation. For emergency situations, call 999 immediately.

Where else to go for information and advice

There are a range of useful sources of information and advice available for those in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

How Reaching Families and West Sussex Parent Carer Forum will support you during this time.


In these times of uncertainty and change, WSPCF remains open for business, despite our office being closed for the foreseeable future. We are working hard behind the scenes to ensure that every parent carer across West Sussex has the opportunity to seek the information, training and support that they need. We are also available to attend meetings with our partners across education, health and social care – remotely of course. The show must go on! 

 We have had to make some changes to the way we deliver our work, and we are using technology to deliver some of our most popular events and activities. 

 Our promise to you follows: 


  • We will research and publish up to date information on Coronavirus, including information that is relevant to parent carers 
  • We will continue to provide up to date information on SEND – digitally where possible 
  • We will signpost parent carers to other organisations who may offer more specialist support 
  • We will continue to provide information and inspiration through a broad range of daily Facebook posts 


  • We will run Virtual Pop Ups hosted by our team of Parent Carer Reps – come as you are and join in the chat 
  • We will support you via telephone, email or Facebook Messenger 
  • We will encourage connection and dialogue between parent carers via our Facebook page 
  • We will be there when you need us 


  • We will develop our website so that members can access our top tips online. Watch this space! 


  • We will remain in contact with our partners across Education, Health and Social Care, attending virtual meetings where possible, to represent the voice of parent carers across West Sussex  

Please feel free to spread the word amongst your friends and families. If you have any questions, or would like any help as you navigate these difficult times, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.         Twitter – @ws_pcf 

Reaching Families

The challenging times we find ourselves in requires Reaching Families to reinvent how it works, use technology and creativity to reach families in need and find new ways of ensuring parents and families in our community can stay connected. Building on our experience providing information, training and peer support we will be adjusting our work to offer parents and families the following wide range of support during the Coronavirus outbreak: 

  1. We will continue to provide up-to-date INFORMATION on Coronavirus including researching and publishing a series of relevant FACT SHEETS for our families. 
  2. We will deliver LIVE CHAT, TRAINING WEBINARS and VIDEOS on relevant subjects like anxiety, behaviour, food issues, resilience, home-schooling and resilience. 
  3. We will provide affordable access to emergency TELEPHONE COUNSELLING for parents struggling with mental health issues. 
  4. We will provide TELEPHONE BEFRIENDING to parents who would benefit from the emotional support and understanding of another parent-carer. 
  5. We will host VIDEO CONFERENCING sessions on Zoom to allow our Umbrellas members to stay connected (new members are very welcome!). 
  6. We will use our FACEBOOK GROUP to enable parents to stay connected and reach out for emotional and practical support including help with shopping, deliveries, etc. 
  7. We will do everything we can… 

 To join our group click here. 

You can still contact our team via 

WSPCF will continue to monitor the situation and we will keep you informed of new advice as it becomes available. To connect with other West Sussex families facing similar challenges, please follow our Facebook page. Remember, we are still here for you, even though we’re having to do that in a slightly different way than usual!



COVID-19 research

Pharmacists are continuing to offer convenient and effective health advice and treatment even during the coronavirus outbreak. But we all need to take precautions to protect staff and ourselves if we have to go to a pharmacy.

Test your knowledge with our coronavirus quiz