Coronavirus

Advice and Information

Dudley Council the historic capital of the Black Country
Dudley Skyline

Coronavirus advice for parents and families

Coronavirus may feel daunting, especially for families and children. Everyone is having to spend more time at home to help slow the spread of the virus. Keeping up with school and working from home, exercising, limiting screen time, keeping occupied and motivated are all big challenges. This page provides details of support for those families who don’t feel safe; or need some extra help coping. It’s also got lots of ideas for us to stay as healthy and happy as possible during this challenging time.

Schools across Dudley borough are excited to have your children back soon

We’ve all worked hard to make our schools as safe as possible but we need our parents to play their part too. Parents and carers are encouraged to visit www.gov.uk/backtoschool for useful information and practical guidance to help them prepare for their children’s safe return to school.

Together we can play our part, and protect Dudley borough.

Read more in our returning to school section below.

Learning and parenting

Returning to school

Pupils aged between four and 18 will return to schools and colleges across the borough, with many children having been off school since March, due to the pandemic.

From week commencing August 31st it will be mandatory for school age children across England to be back in education and the local authority is working with educational settings to reassure parents and carers that it is safe to return.

Schools looking forward to welcoming back pupils.

We've pulled together a list of common questions asked by parents and carers about their child/ren returning to school in Dudley borough in the document below.

Follow your school's guidance

Each school will have it’s own guidance for parents, carers and children to follow for safely returning to school. Please check your school's website to make sure you’re up to date with your school’s latest advice and guidance, and importantly make sure you are social distancing when dropping off and picking up children from school.

Symptoms & testing

Please do not send your child to school if they show any symptoms of coronavirus:
• a new persistent cough
• fever
• change in or loss of taste and smell
Stay at home and immediately visit: www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119 to arrange a test

Returning from foreign travel

If you have been on holiday abroad you may be required to self isolate for 14 days depending on where you’ve visited, please do not send children back to school until the 14 day period is over.

Reminder for young people

We know that children and young people will be excited to see their friends and will want to spend time with them outside of school.

But remember, we all still have a part to play and it's essential that we keep a safe distance, wash hands regularly and wear a face covering where appropriate. Together we can make a difference.

More information

Our five family centres can signpost you to advice and support.

The Family Information Service has information about childcare provision.

View the latest back to school e-bulletin.

View the recent webinar held by Dudley's Education Psychology and Parenting Service on Emotionally Supporting Children to Return to School in Dudley

To keep up-to-date with the latest schools information, sign up for our e-bulletin.

Travelling to school safely

Get ready to travel back to school

We have been working closely with Transport for West Midlands to ensure that we can provide you with as much information as possible as your children head back to school in September.

We know that travelling back to school will be different. All buses, trains and trams will be out on the West Midlands network, ensuring that our students can get to and from school. However, capacity on board public transport will be reduced to support social distancing measures. This means there may be more of a wait during busy times so the advice is to plan ahead and leave more time for your journey.

Please note that face coverings are required on all public transport, including on dedicated school transport, for anyone over 11 years old, except those exempt with a medical or health condition.

Transport for West Midlands, who manage the West Midlands Network, have created a dedicated website that has the latest information on bus, train and tram services, helping you plan your journey back to school or college this September – wmnetwork.co.uk/schooltravel

Try something different this September

Cycling and walking are great ways to stay active and to complete shorter journeys, such as the journey to school (or college). Cycling and walking can also help cut delays around the school.

There are a number of cycling and walking schemes in place or being put in place across the region. You can check to see if there are any on your route to school here wmnetwork.co.uk/campaigns/roll-stroll/

If you plan to drive, consider parking or dropping off a few streets away from the school gates and walking the remaining short distance. This will limit congestion and keeps the roads safer around the school, reducing the chance of collisions or injuries.

Educational Psychology Community Support Line

This service has been opened up to parents as well as schools during the pandemic and offers support on
• Behaviour
• Learning
• Worries and anxiety
• Motivation
Call 01384 814381 or email epsupport@dudley.gov.uk Mon – Friday 9am – 5pm

Also you can view the recent webinar held by Dudley's Education Psychology and Parenting Service on Emotionally Supporting Children to Return to School in Dudley

Parenting advice

Parenting Service

The Parenting Team is offering virtual support to families in the Dudley borough during this crisis. Find out more information. 

Family Centres

Our five family centres can also offer advice and support on all things family

View the recent webinar held by Dudley's Education Psychology and Parenting Service on Emotionally Supporting Children to Return to School in Dudley

30 hours childcare update

The government has introduced some temporary measures that may affect you if you’re applying for, or already accessing tax-free childcare or 30 hours free childcare. More information on extra time for threes and fours 

Learning at home resources

We have put together a learning resources web page which includes information on online and offline learning, useful websites, arts crafts and discovery activities, that you can do with your child at home.


The government has issued a list of online resources for home education 
and also guidance on supporting your children’s education during coronavirus 

Closures (and reopening) of schools, childcare and other educational settings


Government guidance: What parents and carers need to know about schools and other education settings during the coronavirus outbreak which includes information on the reopening of schools for some school children.

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Learning Support Service

Do you have a child with special educational needs?

Dudley’s Learning Support Service can offer advice and support to parents during the Coronavirus pandemic.

We can offer parents and carers valuable information and advice on what could work best for your child whilst learning at home.


Our expertise can help you identify the right apps, games & support to help your child reach their potential

Learning Support Service - support line

Dudley's SEND Local offer

The local offer supports children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities to live independent and fulfilling lives. Visit their webpages

 

Family Fund

The Family Fund can provide support with on line learning and other support.

Adult Community Learning online

Fancy learning a new skill whilst at home?

Dudley’s Adult Community Learning Service is offering many classes through online learning. Please contact Glen on 01384 816471 for more information or to enrol on a course.

We are also offering an employability support package for residents and
businesses and one -to-one support for those seeking employment or volunteering.

Awarding of GCSE, AS and A level

Ofqual has published guidance for teachers, students, parents and carers following the decision to issue results using centre assessment grades or calculated results where higher.

The guidance aims to provide teachers, students, parents and carers with answers to some immediate questions about how grades are now being awarded in summer 2020.

Staying happy and things to do

Parents and families are having to live work and play together more than ever before. Our sense of well-being is being tested during this pandemic. In this section we have listed information and services where you can get support on things to do and how you can stay informed.

Lets-get resources

With everyone forced to increase the amount of time they stay at home while the coronavirus takes it course, the public health team has uploaded pages on its Let Get website to support and nourish the bodies and minds of children, young people and their carers.


Pages for parents of primary school-aged children, 11 – 16 year-olds and 16 – 19-year olds have been set up at www.lets-get.com in the ‘starting well’ section.

Readers can then select the right age section.
Under the banner of ‘information and ideas to support children while staying home’ age appropriate topics include:

  • Childcare for key workers
  • Things to do while home
  • Talking to children/young people about coronavirus
  • Staying healthy (physically and mentally)
  • Staying safe
  • Bereavement
  • Places to find support

#stayalert and Dudley Council E-Bulletin

It’s not always been easy to keep our spirits up over the past couple of months but we’ve been encouraging people to keep busy and share how they’re passing the time with us by posting on our social media channels.

  • Twitter:@Dudleymbc
  • Facebook Dudley Borough

We’ve seen trampolining, paddling pool fun and lots of arts and craft activities.

Subscribers to our ebulletin have also been signposted to a whole host of home based entertainment for families.



Discover Dudley on-line

Dudley’s tourist attractions may offering limited opening times but there’s a wealth of information on their websites. Learn a new skill, delve into the borough’s history or if you need something to keep the kids entertained and educated, here’s a few ideas

Dudley Council: find out about the Dudley Collection & heritage, local fossils, glass & geology, and the Castle Dig finds

Black Country Museum: learn about the area’s history and explore its 80,000 item collection

Canal & River Trust: take virtual trips along our canals, enjoy photographs and take part in quizzes

Dudley Canal & River Boat Trust: find out about canal geology, local history and micro ecology

Dudley Zoo & Castle: download animal and castle themed activities and enjoy a wordsearch

Lace Guild: learn how to make simple lace creations

Black Country Geopark: find out about the Black Country’s geology and our bid as an aspiring global geopark

 

Visit our Discover Dudley website for more details.

 

Dudley's Cultural and Educational Partnership (DCEP)

The DCEP website has online activities and information on a number of projects including the Dudley Fountain, Market Place in Dudley 

Dudley's Museums

You can also visit the Dudley Museum website  where you will find activities for the family to take part in 

 

Discover libraries on-line

As of Monday 6th July, library and archive services in Dudley will begin to reopen in a phased manner.

You can still access a world of books, music and other resources from the comfort of your own home.

Library members can access the online catalogue of e-books, renew their books, access magazines and journals as well as listen to all of the latest music.

More information is available on our Libraries' pages.

 

Things going on in your community and Family Information Service

Things going on in your community
Dudley Council’s Community Information Directory is an online resource that provides information about local groups, support services, activities, and health and care services for individuals and families. Explore your Dudley today, visit:  Dudley Council’s Community Information Directory

Dudley's Family Information Service  has also compiled a list of resources, which are worth checking out. It includes ideas to keep children fit and active!

Ever thought about fostering?

Having a lot of time at home recently has meant many people are natuarally taking stock of their lives and careers, many have been furloughed, some have lost their jobs, others are thinking about changing their career completely.

Despite these unprecedented times we still need new foster carers. We know that fostering isn’t easy but the difference you can make to a child’s life is profound.

The Fostering Service is encouraging people to take the first steps in to fostering and transforming a child’s life by finding out more on their website.
Find out more by visiting our Fostering website

Sycamore Adventure

Play leaders at Sycamore Adventure are offering exciting ideas, including games and fun play, on how to keep children busy during the coronavirus lockdown.


Content is being shared on the centre’s Facebook page @adventureplay as part of the #DudleyStaysHome campaign, which encourages people across the borough to share ideas and activities on social media.

Dudley Performing Arts

Dudley Performing Arts (DPA) is supporting more than 500 youngsters aged six to 18 to continue with their weekly music sessions through a virtual portal as #DudleyStaysHome due to the coronavirus crisis.

Schools across the borough are working with DPA to keep children and young people engaged with music throughout the crisis. Options include one to one lessons for existing students and a range of purpose made videos that anyone can access.

At present, the online lessons are only for existing pupils, but anyone can view and use free videos on the group’s YouTube channel ‘Dudley Performing Arts’, which has received more than 9,000 views this month.

People can find out more about DPA at @arts_dudley on Twitter, @dudleyperfomingarts on Facebook or at their website

Keeping families healthy

Here are some things to consider to help you maintain your family's health and well-being.

Check if you or your family have Coronavirus symptoms and what to do

Visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus for more information on checking symptoms and what to do.

Testing for Coronavirus

Everyone in England*, who is showing coronavirus symptoms is eligible to book a swab test to find out if they have the virus.

People can register for a test at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

*In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, you can only get a test for your child if they are aged 5 or over

Coronavirus and children

In England, you can ask for a test for a child who lives with you, whatever their age. 

The NHS has published specific information on what to do if you think your child has coronavirus. Visit their website

NHS Health Education England has published a series of books and information sheets directed specifically to children

 

Looking after your health and wellbeing

Our www.lets-get.com website is a fantastic resource for parents and families and contains a whole raft of information and advice on how to stay healthy and to make healthy lifestyle changes.

Under the banner of ‘information and ideas to support children while staying home’ you’ll find age appropriate topics.

There is also a dedication section on looking after your health and wellbeing throughout the coronavirus pandemic 

Tips for looking after your physical well-being

  • Be prepared, but only buy what you and your family need (personal, food and household essential items)
  • Order repeat prescriptions at the right time, about a week before you run out – do this over the phone.
  • Order the right amount – there is no need to add items to your prescription that you have not been taking regularly or recently.
  • Make sure you keep warm at home, keep the heating on if necessary. The ideal temperature for a living room is 21 degrees and the bedroom 18 degrees. Regular ventilation is also recommended. If you do have a fever, be careful not to overheat.
  • If you are able to, keep moving around, even when stuck indoors. Move every hour to keep joints and muscles working and to boost circulation
  • Take regular exercise
  • Eat regularly and try and have at least one hot meal a day and hot drinks, drink plenty of water

Pregnancy

Are you pregnant?

All you need to know if you are pregnant during the Coronavirus pandemic is available on our vulnerable people dedicated page

See also the government's guidance on pregnancy and coronavirus 

Mental Health

If you or your family are experiencing issues with your mental health there are a number of useful resources and websites that you can have a look at:

Lets-get website  - looking after your health and wellbeing throughout the coronavirus pandemic 

Dudley Mind  during the pandemic their telephone line 01384 442938 is open Mon - Fri 8am - midnight and Sat-Sun 10am - midnight

NHS Every Mind Matters

Give us a shout 

Young Minds

Kooth - A free, safe and anonymous online mental wellbeing community and support for young people

The Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust mental health support helpline is available 24 hours, seven days a week for adults, older adults, and children and young people during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Telephone 0800 008 6516 and press 2 for Dudley residents.

Stopping smoking – Quit for COVID-19

Dudley Council’s public health team is reminding people that support is available to help smokers quit.


Smoking can lead to a weaker immune system therefore putting people at greater risk of developing a severe complication from the COVID-19 virus.

To access local services and for more information, call the Let’s Get Healthy Dudley team on 01384 732402 or visit: Lets-Get website

Seek help if your child is unwell or injured

Families are also urged to ensure they still seek medical help if their child is unwell or injured.

Remember that NHS 111, GPs and hospitals are still providing the same care that they have always done.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has a range of advice for parents and carers on children accessing treatment and attending medical appointments during the coronavirus outbreak.

Go to Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health's website  for more information as well as tips on stay at home activities for children and young people.

 

Healthy Eating whilst staying more at home

Our Lets-Get Dudley website has lots of information on how to eat healthily during spending more time at home as well as advice on Vitamin D.

Healthy Home working

For many people working from home is completely new. It can feel strange and takes some time to adjust to.


There is support available to help manage these changes and to support the development of a healthy work life balance during this difficult time.
Mental Health at Work has a range of resources to support working well at home, as well as guidance on how everyone can support their own and colleagues’ mental health throughout the outbreak.


It is really important to set a routine, take regular breaks, stay connected with colleagues and most importantly for all of us be kind to ourselves. The Leaper’s Little Guide to working well from home under self-quarantine for Coronavirus can help with this as it provides top tips for working well at home.

Mental Health First Aid have produced an animation, including a British Sign Language (BSL) version and fact sheet with top tips for staying well while working at home.

Anyone who is struggling with working at home should know that is okay, but remember it is important they speak to their manager (or a colleague) about any concerns they are having to make sure they get any additional support they may require.

Vaccinations in babies and the under 5s

Lets Get Dudley has a wealth of information on immunisations for your baby and child.

The NHS have also just updated its publication: A guide to vaccinations from two years old until starting primary school - Pre-school immunisations.

Social distancing guidance for young people

Managing your money and essential food supplies

We appreciate that money may be tight for some during the Coronavirus pandemic.  Below you will find information to support you if you need help.

Dudley Food and Support Service

Residents of all ages who are staying at home as they are more vulnerable to the impact of Covid-19, self-isolating and have no family or community support, or are struggling financially can get support from The Dudley Food and Support Service.

Debt advice

If you are in debt or having money worries, there are a number of information and advice services about debt available who can help. Visit our debt counselling pages for more information.

In addition national charity StepChange offers free impartial help and advice.

Benefits advice

Council Tax
Some council residents could be eligible for council tax relief as the council has been allocated £3million from the government’s hardship fund, which aims to provide council tax relief to help vulnerable people and households most affected by coronavirus.


The government has said it can be used to reduce the council tax bills of working age people already receiving council tax reduction and to provide further discretionary support to vulnerable people.

The council is in the process of looking at the detail and at how these additional reductions can be applied to bills as soon as possible. If you are entitled to the extra help you do not need to contact the council, we will be in touch with you shortly.

The council’s benefits staff are working to ensure the maximum flexibility in the system is applied to you if coronavirus affects your financial circumstances. This means that for some people debt recovery will be temporarily suspended. If you have a repayment arrangement in place, it can continue.

Benefit information
People applying for Universal Credit, Employment Support Allowance or other benefits should not go to a jobcentre but apply for them online.

People will continue to receive their benefits as normal, but all requirements to attend the jobcentre in person are suspended. These changes will be in place for 3 months from 19 March 2020

Face-to-face assessments for all sickness and disability benefits have been suspended. This affects claimants of Personal Independence Payment, those on Employment and Support Allowance and some on Universal Credit, as well as recipients of Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. These changes will be in place for 3 months from 17 March 2020. The suspension of face-to-face assessments also covers new claims to those benefits.

Support for carer benefits
If you are a Carer, welfare benefits officers are providing a telephone helpline during this pandemic on Wednesdays. The number to call is 01384 818723.

General benefits advice
A Benefits Advice Line has been set up for other Dudley Borough residents affected by Covid 19. The number to call is 01384 815002 01384 815002, available Tuesdays and Thursdays 9.30am - 1.00pm and 2.00pm - 4.30pm.

Council tenants can contact the Council Rent Income team on 0300 555 0010 for help and advice.

 

Energy advice line

We are all spending more time at home right now into keep safe and well and to protect our NHS. This means we are using more energy in our homes. Make sure you are with the right energy supplier, on the right tariff for your home and save money with expert advice from Dudley Council’s Energy Advice Line.

We will help you:

  • Find the cheapest energy supplier for your home, getting you switched and sorted
  • Apply for energy grants, discounts and benefits for you
  • Give you guidance if you have fuel debt and help arranging repayment plans
  • Provide free home insulation and replacement boilers for qualifying home

Call Energy Advice Line for a free home energy assessment on 01384 817086

Women's resilience fund: Smallwood Trust

Smallwood Trust can provide grants and support for women on low incomes who have specific needs and are struggling to make ends meet or trying to overcome financial problems.

 

Family Fund for families raising disabled or seriously ill children

Family Fund provides grants for essential items to parents raising disabled or seriously ill children.

Gambling Awareness

Despite the cancellation of sports events, due to the current lockdown measures many of us are continuing to spend more time at home, which has resulted in an increase in risks for accessing online gambling such as online slots, casino games and virtual sports.


These risks and triggers to online gambling include, feeling isolated, bored, stressed and seeing gambling adverts.


Help for problem gambling is also available on the NHS website

The following organisations have a range of resources, support materials, forums, telephone helplines and online groups available to support you through this difficult time:

  • GamCare are offering online and telephone support, plus an online video treatment. You can contact the National Gambling Helpline which is operated by GamCare on 0808 8020 133 or visit their website which offers a Live Chat support service
  • Gambling Therapy has a downloadable app to support gamblers
    Gamblers Anonymous are offering skype meetings in place of face to face meetings.
  • Step Change is a debt charity who offer specific financial advice for gamblers.

Emergency Assistance Grant

The Local Authority Emergency Assistance Grant for Food and Essential Supplies is to support people who are struggling to afford food and other essentials due to financial hardship and/or hardship caused by COVID-19. This scheme is temporary.

COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Grant

Staying safe

During these challenging times, partner organisations are working harder than ever to keep Dudley a safe borough.

Safeguarding: Are you worried about the safety of someone?

If you are worried, concerned, or scared about the way you, or someone you know is being treated, or is treating themselves, don’t keep it to yourself, tell us.
For any concern you consider to be an emergency call 999.

If you want advice and guidance or if you want to report your concerns please contact the Dudley Safeguarding People’s Partnership report-it or call

  • For children 0300 555 0050
  • For adults 0300 555 0055

Are you a carer as well as a parent?

The Dudley Carers' Hub helpline is available Monday to Friday, between 9am and 5pm to provide information and advice.

Carers are also advised to create a contingency plan so that care continues to be provided should they fall ill. We have also produced a guide for carers during the coronavirus outbreak, or you can request a copy by calling 01384 818723.

 

For more information visit our Carers' Hub pages 

Staying safe online

As we all adjust to a new way of life, turning to technology for work, learning, shopping, socialising and fitness, staying safe online becomes even more important.

It’s also a good idea to talk to your children about how they can stay safe online especially when using social media.

Dudley’s Community Safety Partnership Safe and Sound has published useful information including how to be safe when social networking on our help hub.

You can also keep up with the latest community safety advice on twitter by following #safeindudley

Domestic abuse

Victims of domestic abuse, their families and professionals can access all available support services by dialling one single point of contact (SPOC) – 01384 455411.

For more information about domestic abuse visit Dudley Safe and Sound

Avoiding scams

While many people are looking out for others in the community, a small minority are looking to profit from coronavirus.


In recent weeks Action Fraud has seen reports about coronavirus themed scam emails attempting to trick people into revealing sensitive personal and financial information.


Protect yourself by making sure you:

  • Don’t click on links or attachments in suspicious emails
  • Don’t respond to unsolicited messages asking for personal or financial information
  • Research a company before making payments online and always use a credit card not a debit card
  • Keep in contact with loved ones

If you are concerned that you or someone you know may have fallen victim to financial scams, contact the Trading Standards’ scams team on 01384 818871 or via email trading.standards@dudley.gov.uk

Avoiding bogus callers

  • DO NOT let people into your home unless you are 100 per cent sure you know who they are
  • People who are genuine will in most cases call ahead to book an appointment first and will carry ID with them
  • Anyone who suspects a bogus caller is operating in their area should call 999 in an emergency or contact the dedicated bogus caller hotline on 01384 812045

Home safety

The council’s three key tips are:

  • Ensure windows are not left open where children can reach or climb up to them
  • Keep cleaning products, garden chemicals and medicines locked away or well out of reach
  • Supervise children at all times near water, including paddling pools and garden ponds, and particularly if you live close to a canal

Further detailed advice can be found on the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) website 

 

In this section we have listed information and services where you can get support and help with parenting and helping your child to learn whilst at home. We would also suggest that you have a look at the age specific information on the Lets-Get website under the section starting well.