Can children be taken from school and detained without their parents’ consent if it's believed they have coronavirus?

Rumours on social media that children can be taken out of school and detained without their parents' consent if it's believed they have Covid-19 have been quashed by the government.

Thursday, 27th August 2020, 2:13 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th August 2020, 2:14 pm

The Department for Education have confirmed children can not be taken away from school and detained without parental consent under the Coronavirus Act.

The confirmation comes after thousands of people shared a social media post directed at parents claiming that their children could be removed from school, without parental consent, and detained for 14 days if they showed signs of having coronavirus.

The post, which addressed parents, showed an example of what could happen from a headteacher, saying that the respondant's child has been taken to a testing centre after showing symptoms of coronavirus.

Can children be taken from school and detained without their parents’ consent if it's believed they have coronavirus?
Can children be taken from school and detained without their parents’ consent if it's believed they have coronavirus?

It says: "I can assure you your child is in safe hands, in the meantime, you need to self isolate with your family for 14 days...I'm sorry, but under the new Covid Act, we have the power to remove your child without consent if we feel they have symptoms."

In response to the letter, the Department for Education (DfE) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said the rumours are simply 'not true.'

The DfE and DHSC said that a parent, carer or legal guardian has to be present for a screening to take place.

It also says they could not detain a child without their parents’ knowledge or consent under the powers in the Coronavirus Act. A child would most likely be asked to self-isolate at home with their family.

“In the extremely rare case that these powers are being used and the even rarer case that a child does not have a parent, carer or legal guardian, a public health officer can decide who is the most appropriate adult to be present for a screening.

"At no point will a child be screened without the most appropriate adult present.”

The departments said public health officers could decide restrictions were necessary and ask for children to self-isolate with their families at home for up to 14 days to stop the spread of coronavirus.

If self-isolation at home is not possible, the public health officer would need to seek alternatives.