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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Gibson MSP

Guidance on Children with Cold-like Symptoms

Education Secretary John Swinney MSP has asked local authority directors of education and head teachers to share more information on coronavirus to parents and carers.

In addition, Scotland’s National Clinical Director Dr Jason Leitch has written an open letter for parents with answers about when children need to be tested.

Cold-like Symptoms

  • We recommend testing only for those with a continuous cough, fever, or loss of or change in the sense of taste or smell. Senior clinicians continue to keep the symptoms for case definition under review and will continue to use evidence to adjust these if it becomes necessary.

COVID-19 Symptoms

The key symptoms to be aware of are:

  • A new continuous cough

  • fever/high temperature

  • loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste

If a young person or child in your care develops any of the above symptoms, they should self-isolate and you should book them a test as soon as possible using the online portal at, or by calling 0800 028 2816.

Unfortunately, the UK Government-operated system which includes drive-through testing centres at Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen airports and the Highlands and Islands University campus in Inverness, has suffered from problems that have seen residents from Ayrshire referred to places such as Carlisle instead of Glasgow.

People classed in the top priority group – mainly frontline healthcare and care home staff, patients and residents – are generally tested by NHS Scotland through a referral system.

Other key workers can also access an NHS test, but if there is a capacity they can apply for a test under the UK Government programme using its booking website.

Kenneth Gibson MSP said:

“I have been contacted by a number of concerned parents who, despite their children only displaying cold-like symptoms, have been asked to keep their children off school until they have been tested and received results.

“In combination with the failings of the UK Government’s booking system which has seen them getting into their car only to be turned away at testing centres, this had led to considerable distress for both parent and child. I hope this guidance exactly when the school can ask you to have your child tested.”

The Sunday National approached the UK Government for a response on this issue of members of the Scottish public being rerouted far from home but had not received a response before publication and neither has the SNP Government.

Read National Clinical Director, Dr Jason Leitch’s letter here.

Information has also been published on the Parent Club website.

The link to the relevant NHS Inform web page.


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