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How to manage respiratory infections, including COVID-19 and flu in special educational settings.

First published:
14 September 2023
Last updated:

Personal protection

  • Staff working closely with vulnerable learners should be trained in the use of face masks, face protection and other relevant PPE. This is particularly important if they are caring for a learner on a respirator.
  • Staff should wear facemasks when caring for vulnerable learners who have suspected COVID-19 and flu. 
  • Consider whether symptomatic individuals can wear face masks (if they are able to).
  • If there are cases or outbreaks at the school, consider facemasks for visitors and other areas.


  • Staff with symptoms of a respiratory tract infection or with a high temperature should stay at home. They should notify their employer as soon as possible.
  • If staff feel better and are ready to return to work they should discuss this with their employer first, so risks can be minimised.
  • Learners with symptoms of a respiratory tract infection should also be advised to stay at home. They should not to return to the setting until they no longer feel unwell and no longer have a high temperature.


  • Vaccination can reduce the impact of acute respiratory infections. It is important that those who are eligible take up their offer of a vaccination against COVID-19 and flu. This includes staff working in special schools.
  • Vaccination can help us protect the resilience of the health and social care system. By taking up the offer of vaccination, you can help to protect it from becoming overwhelmed. Find out more about our COVID-19 vaccination programme

Contact details for your regional health protection team

Aneurin Bevan Health Board

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

Cardiff & Vale University Health Board

Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board

Hywel Dda University Health Board

Powys Teaching Health Board

Swansea Bay University Health Board

Further advice and guidance