COVID-19. Guide for schools and educational centres

Published on 10 March 2020

This guide is aimed at schools and educational establishments with the objective of providing information and

advice to the education community on:

1. Infection with the new coronavirus COVID-19

2. Preventing respiratory infections, including COVID-19 infection

3. What to do in case of suspected COVID-19 infection in schools or educational institutions

4. What to do if a case of COVID-19 infection is confirmed in schools or educational institutions

1. Information on COVID-19

COVID-19 disease is caused by a new type of coronavirus that can affect humans and was first detected in December 2019 in Wuhan city, Hubei province, China.

The incubation period is between 2 and 14 days and the most common symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Infection in children is usually asymptomatic or has mild symptoms. More severe cases usually occur in older people or those with other illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease or immune disorders.

It is recommended that schools disseminate information following the recommendations of official sources, which can be supported by materials developed by their Autonomous Community or by the Ministry of Health.



2. How to prevent COVID-19 infection

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus.

There are general principles that anyone can follow to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

- Sick people with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should not attend educational establishments and should avoid close contact with healthy people.

- Pupils, students, teachers and staff of educational establishments and visitors should take extreme hygiene measures and wash their hands frequently with soap and water, especially after coughing, sneezing and touching or handling handkerchiefs. Special attention should be paid when leaving and arriving home, on arrival at school, after using the toilet, after breaks and sports activities, before preparing meals or before eating any food.

If soap and water are not available, a hydroalcoholic solution can be used.

- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands as much as possible.

- Cover your nose and mouth with a handkerchief when coughing and sneezing, and throw it away. If you do not

If handkerchiefs are available, cough and sneeze into the crook of your elbow to avoid contaminating your hands.

- The use of masks to protect against infection is not recommended.

- It is recommended that schools ensure daily cleaning with special emphasis on frequently handled surfaces (e.g. handrails, knobs, computer keyboards and mice, tables, etc.).

Schools should ensure that the necessary resources are available to follow these recommendations and that they are adequately disseminated.

For more information, please visit

3. What to do in case of suspected COVID-19 infection in schools or educational institutions

In the event that a pupil, teacher or school professional presents a clinical picture compatible with the disease (see point 1) and there is a suspicion of having been in a risk area1 or exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, it is recommended:

- Contact the emergency number 112 and report suspected COVID-19 infection. The medical services will assess the patient's clinical situation and pidemiological history and inform on the course of action to be taken.

- Pending assessment by the medical services, separate the sick person from other people in the school, at least two metres away. If possible, isolate this person in a separate room (in the case of small children who need a companion, try to maintain a distance of at least 2 metres). If possible, keep the room ventilated with the window open.

- Advise them to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.

4. What to do if a case of COVID-19 infection is confirmed in schools or educational institutions

In the event that a pupil, student, teacher or staff of the school or educational centre is laboratory-confirmed for COVID-19, the Public Health Service of the Autonomous Community will contact the educational centre to report the confirmed case for COVID-19, investigate the case and identify contacts and recommend precautions and actions to be taken.

The educational establishment together with the Public Health Services will carry out a risk assessment and determine the actions and measures to be taken. In general, it will not be necessary to close schools and educational centres where COVID-19 confirmed cases are identified, although the situation will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Contacts of the confirmed case when it had symptoms of the disease will be identified and categorised according to the degree of exposure:

Close contacts:

Close contacts are considered to be pupils, teachers or school professionals or other relevant contacts if:

- They have been within 2 metres of the confirmed case for more than 15 minutes at a time.

- Have been in direct contact with infectious secretions (coughing or sneezing or material

contaminated - used handkerchiefs) of a confirmed case.

- Persons living in the same household or sharing a room in a nursing home or college with the confirmed case.

- People with immune disorders or other risk factors.

The Public Health Services will assess each contact individually to determine the degree of exposure and risk and will give them specific instructions. In general, they may continue to attend school and active surveillance will be carried out as established in each Autonomous Community during the 14 days following the last exposure with the confirmed case.

Casual contacts: other students, teachers or professionals at the school. The school management will inform all students, teachers and school staff of the existence of the confirmed case. Casual contacts will perform self-monitoring of their health status (passive surveillance) during the 14 days following the date of the last exposure with the confirmed case in which they will be alert to any symptoms (fever, malaise, cough, etc.). In case of symptoms compatible with COVID-19, the case will be considered as a case under investigation and will follow what is indicated in section 3 of this document "What to do in case of suspicion of COVID-19 infection in schools or educational centres".

1 Risk areas:


Download the PDF documentation