Frequently asked questions about self-isolation for parents and carers:

Frequently asked questions

Self-isolation is when you do not leave your home, except for essential purposes such as a COVID-19 test or an urgent medical appointment. This helps to stop infection from spreading.

It is a legal requirement to self-isolate if you have been asked to by NHS Test and Protect. Your child must stay at home until the end of their self-isolation period.

No. The purpose of self-isolation is to prevent infection from spreading.

Your child should avoid contact with others during this time, including visiting friends and family and attending clubs.  They should stay at home as they could be incubating the virus, or could be infectious without symptoms (asymptomatic).

We understand that many children are unable to self-isolate alone in the home, especially younger children.

If this is the case, it is recommended that one parent stay at home and self-isolate with the child for the duration of their self-isolation as a precaution.

We recommend that one parent is nominated to take care of the child at home in order to avoid both parents having to self-isolate and having to stay off work.

Schools will get advice based on their own situation, for example whether they have an outbreak (high number of cases), and how infectious the virus is.

In an outbreak situation, stricter measures may be put in place, such as asking the siblings of contacts to self-isolate. This is because the virus is more easily spread within the household and if siblings continue to attend school they may contribute to further spread within the school.

It is possible that advice may change if an outbreak develops at a school.

Once an outbreak develops, further control measures may be used, such as asking siblings of school contacts to isolate.

Sometimes advice is initially given based on one case in a school, which then becomes an outbreak and the advice changes as a result.

A different approach would be used for these two situations.

This is to prevent further outbreaks in education settings.

Your child may be asked to do this if the type of virus is very infectious, if their school has an outbreak, and there are a few outbreaks in local schools.

It helps to prevent more outbreaks by making sure children who are infectious (but perhaps without symptoms) are not attending school. Sharing a household is one of the main ways that the virus is spread and then the infection can be brought into school.

If your child is old enough, and it will not be detrimental to them, they can choose to self-isolate within their room. This involves:

  • staying on your own in one room as much as possible and keep the door closed
  • avoiding using shared spaces (such as the kitchen) at the same time as other people - eating your meals in your room
  • using a separate bathroom - otherwise, use the bathroom after everyone else and clean it each time you use it, for example, by wiping the surfaces you've touched.

If your child adheres to the above guidance, the rest of the family do not have to isolate unless your child is a case or becomes symptomatic.

If they develop symptoms, they should book a PCR test.

As a precaution, siblings should fully self-isolate. This means staying at home for the duration of their siblings self-isolation period.

If the sibling of the contact has also been asked to self-isolate, they should stay at home for the duration, and not attend school.

Yes. The self-isolation dates would be the same.

If you are a member of staff who has been asked to isolate, you may receive a follow up letter that asks that any school or nursery aged children who live within your household should isolate too.

This would only happen if there was an increased number of cases within your area and the school as considered to be an outbreak.

If you are able to completely self-isolate away from your children (for example, staying in another room away from your children during your isolation period), then your children would not need to isolate and could continue to attend school/other activities.

However, if you developed symptoms, you should book a PCR test.

If you or someone in your household needs help and support to self-isolate please contact:

If you have further questions, please call this number 01292 559880 option 1 or alternatively call the National Assistance Helpline on 0800 111 4000. 

Contact Information


Council Headquarters
London Road
East Ayrshire
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Telephone: 01563 554400
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24 Hour Emergency Helpline: 0345 724 0000 (local rate)