Coronavirus: Announcements from public services

19th March 2020

TAGS coronavirus

  • This page provides important updates from central and local government and the NHS that are relevant for families with disabled children in Sheffield.

    The announcements are listed in chronological order.


    The government has published guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak.


    The local authority has written a letter to parents of children who attend short breaks daytime clubs (SNIPS clubs), informing them that these clubs will close with immediate effect.  The letter also states that the charging policy for SNIPS clubs, which was going to be introduced from 1 April 2020, has been postponed by a year.


    Greg Fell, Director of Public Health for Sheffield, has written an open letter to parents in Sheffield.


    The government has updated the questions and answers about the school closures in relation vulnerable children and young people. This includes additional information on children with Education Health and Care (EHC) plans, and children in alternative provision settings.


    Vicky Ford, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, has written an open letter to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and their parents, families and others who support them.


    We contacted Sheffield City Council yesterday  for updates around school closures, so that families are kept as informed as possible. They told us that they are working with schools to identify where support is needed for children with Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans, and particularly for those who are medically vulnerable. Each child with an EHC plan is being risk assessed by their school. The local authority is aware that families are worried about how they will cope if schools have to stay closed for a long time. They appreciate that this is a very worrying time for families, and are asking families to bear with them while this is being carried out.

    This morning, we checked with Sheffield City Council what the new, stricter measures announced last night mean for those children who still attend school. The council confirmed that the school situation – open for children of key workers and vulnerable children who cannot safely be cared for at home – remains unchanged at this time.

    Social workers are also working through their list of cases, so if your child receives support from social care and you haven’t been contacted yet, this should happen in the next few days. All families whose children receive a service from SNIPS or NHS Continuing Care should have been contacted by these services.


    The government has published an announcement that there will be no new reviews or reassessments across all benefits for three months. This includes Universal Credit, ESA, PIP and DLA. Face-to-face assessments for all sickness and disability benefits have been suspended for the next 3 months, including for any new claims.


    The government has published questions and answers about the school closures in relation vulnerable children and young people. Vulnerable children and young people include those supported by social care, those with an Education Health and Care (EHC) plan, and those in Alternative Provision.


    The government has urged people who face the highest risk of being hospitalised by the virus to shield themselves and stay at home. People with specific underlying health conditions, including some being treated for cancer, will be contacted by the NHS this week. Plans have been unveiled to deliver groceries and medicines for those most at risk from the virus where needed. You can register for support here.


    Sheffield City Council has sent a letter to parents and carers in Sheffield regarding school closures due to coronavirus. You can read it here.


    The government has published information and guidance about the school closures for parents and for local authorities and education settings.

    19/03/2020, 11:30am

    This is a message from Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for parents of children who receive NHS Continuing Care.

    NHS Continuing Care is support provided for children and young people under 18 who need a tailored package of care because of their disability, an accident or illness.

    The CCG is assessing the risk from coronavirus for all children and young people who receive NHS Continuing Care. They are contacting the most vulnerable to ensure that an action plan for emergencies is agreed. They are also working closely with providers to ensure that they are working with the guidance published by Public Health England, and they are planning together with providers so that they can react quickly if anything changes.

    However, if you are concerned about your child’s package of care and you feel that you cannot cope, please contact your social worker (if you have one), or call the generic contact number 0114 3051700 to discuss further. Please note that this number is only to be used for children already in receipt of NHS Continuing Care.

    The CCG would like to keep families of children who receive NHS Continuing Care updated by email. If you would like to receive email updates from them, please do the following:

    • Create an email to the following address:
    • Put the following text into the email’s “Subject” line: Family email contact for [insert your child’s name]
    • In the body of the email, please write: I hereby give you permission to directly communicate with me, using the above email for the foreseeable future. I understand that you will not share the email address with any other parent. You may/may not [delete as applicable]share my email address with the local authority for the purposes of Continuing Care issues.

    18/03/2020, 3.30pm

    This is a statement from Sheffield Council for parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities about schools.

    As a council we are continuing to work to respond to the coronavirus. We are communicating with mainstream and special schools to support them in their responses, particularly where staff need to self-isolate. In particular we are talking about how they support the most vulnerable.

    We understand that parents are concerned and seeking guidance on whether they should self-isolate if their child has a medical condition. We are asking government for clarity and advice on this to best support families and schools. We have advised schools that if a parent wants to keep a medically vulnerable child at home it will be recorded so that there’s no negative implications.

    We are continuing to work on statutory duties such as Education Health and Care plans but understandably the current situation will impact on this.

    Our planning to respond to coronavirus is being updated on a regular basis throughout the day as the situation changes and we recognise that government is providing updates at 5pm each day. We will continue to share updates as situations change.

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