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Coronavirus

With so much information regarding our response to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, we have attempted to condense everything in to one page for you to easily refer to as - and when - you need it.

 

Displaying symptoms of COVID-19

 

Children, parents and staff should not enter school premises if they have symptoms, have had a positive test result or other reasons requiring them to stay at home due to the risk of them passing on COVID-19 (for example, they are required to quarantine).

 

The main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are:

 

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

 

If anyone in school develops COVID-19 symptoms, however mild, we will continue to send them home and they should then follow public health advice. Children will be taken to the school’s isolation room and parents will contacted to arrange immediate collection. We appreciate that some parents will be working so please consider contingency arrangements that you could access/employ in this situation.

 

 

Government guidance

 

Government guidance now informs schools: 

 

  • Contingency plans (sometimes called Outbreak Management Plans) should be in place that outline what would happen if children, pupils, students or staff test positive for COVID-19, or how to operate if you were advised to take extra measures to help break chains of transmission. 

 

  • It is no longer recommend that it is necessary to keep children in consistent groups (‘bubbles’). This means that bubbles will not need to be used from the autumn term. Contingency plans (sometimes called Outbreak Management Plans) should cover the possibility that in some local areas it may become necessary to reintroduce ‘bubbles’ for a temporary period, to reduce mixing between groups. Any decision to recommend the reintroduction of ‘bubbles’ would not be taken lightly and would need to take account of the detrimental impact they can have on the delivery of education.

 

  • Face coverings are no longer advised for pupils, staff and visitors either in classrooms or in communal areas. 

 

  • Frequent and thorough hand cleaning should now be regular practice. Schools should continue to ensure that pupils clean their hands regularly. This can be done with soap and water. 

 

  • Appropriate cleaning schedules should be put in place and maintained. This should include regular cleaning of areas and equipment (for example, twice per day), with a particular focus on frequently touched surfaces.

 

Schools can seek public health advice when five children or staff ‘who are likely to have mixed closely’ (or 10% of a smaller group) – test positive for COVID-19 in a 10 day period. This is the recommended point at which schools might be expected to implement their Outbreak Management Plans.

 

Tracing contacts

 

Schools only needed to do contact tracing up to and including 18th July. Close contacts will now be identified via NHS Test and Trace and education settings will no longer be expected to undertake contact tracing.

 

As with positive cases in any other setting, NHS Test and Trace will work with the positive case and/or their parent to identify close contacts. Contacts from a school setting will only be traced by NHS Test and Trace where the positive case and/or their parent specifically identifies the individual as being a close contact. This is likely to be a small number of individuals who would be most at risk of contracting COVID-19 due to the nature of the close contact. You may be contacted in exceptional cases to help with identifying close contacts, as currently happens in managing other infectious diseases.

 

Individuals are not required to self-isolate if they live in the same household as someone with COVID-19, or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, and any of the following apply:

 

  • they are fully vaccinated 
  • they are below the age of 18 years and 6 months
  • they have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
  • they are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons

 

Instead, they will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace, informed they have been in close contact with a positive case and advised to take a PCR test. We would encourage all individuals to take a PCR test if advised to do so.

 

Staff who do not need to isolate, and children and young people aged under 18 years 6 months who usually attend school, and have been identified as a close contact, should continue to attend school as normal. They do not need to wear a face covering within the school.

 

Settings will continue to have a role in working with health protection teams in the case of a local outbreak. If there is a substantial increase in the number of positive cases in a setting or if central government offers the area an enhanced response package, a director of public health might advise a setting to temporarily reintroduce some control measures.

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Government guidance for full opening: schools

Covid-19 Pupil Absence Reference Guide

Useful Websites

Coronavirus Symptoms

Recognising Coronavirus Symptoms

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