As you may be aware, national guidance states that once we have 5 linked cases in school, we are to work with Public Health to put in extra measures to prevent further spread.
The new guidance on Covid-19 control prioritises keeping children in school and states that all close contacts of cases need to book a PCR test unless they have PCR tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 90 days. Close contacts that meet the following criteria do not need to self-isolate:
• children under 18 and 6 months
• adults who have been double vaccinated
Children in the same class as someone who has tested positive do not need to self-isolate while they wait for their PCR result.
We are encouraging students to wear face masks in communal areas, such as corridors and the dining hall to limit the risk of transmission as much as possible.
When booking your test please book online at https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test and report that “the local authority has requested that I test”. You are eligible for a PCR test.
This does not change the national guidance that if you have a cough, change or loss in smell or taste, a high temperature or if you test positive by LFT you must self-isolate and get a PCR test. If that is negative, you can return to usual activity.
Testing: At Home Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests.
• Families are invited to get on board with the national programme for testing households of primary and secondary school children to help tackle community transmission without symptoms. We advise for this to be twice a week when your child has been a close contact. Please order home Lateral Flow Devices (LFD) which are plastic cartridge home test kits, they can be used twice a week (3-5 days apart) and reordered weekly. These can be collected locally from:
o PCR walk in centres, some supermarkets and pharmacies, you can find your nearest collection site here: https://find-covid-19-rapid-test-sites.maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk
o You can have these delivered to your home by royal mail, usually within 24hrs. These can be found from this website. https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests
• All results from at-home LFD tests require registering online and any positive results require a confirmatory PCR test within 72 hrs following a positive LFD, if it is negative, they can stop isolating immediately.
Note: Those that have tested positive for Coronavirus by PCR are exempt from a further PCR or LFT/D test for 90 days, unless they develop new symptoms.
This does not change the national guidance that, if you are unwell with a cough, high temperature or a loss or change in taste or smell, you and your household must self-isolate for 10 days from the date of first symptoms unless there is a negative PCR test result.
Be aware of COVID in your home.
• Please note, that while COVID-19 usually presents with a new or worsening cough, high temperature and loss or change in taste or smell. COVID-19 can present as cold symptoms such as; sore throat, severe fatigue/ feeling unwell for no clear reason, poorly tummy, severe headache and muscle
aches. Looking out for these lesser symptoms is especially important for those with a child/ren who are close contacts of cases.
• If your child or even members of your household become unwell, although it may be a seasonal cold, please consider this could be COVID-19. We would also prefer PCR than home LFT test kits as PCR is more accurate when there are some signs of illness.
• Anyone wishing to book the PCR test can book online or with 119 by stating you do not have top three symptoms online but “Public Health has requested you book a test”, you are permitted to have a test with lesser symptoms, the household legally do not need to isolate. Your household do not need to isolate whilst this is undertaken (unless anyone has a cough, temperature, loss or change in taste or sense of smell).
• Just because someone in your household has COVID-19 does not mean that this needs to pass to other members of the household. It may be difficult for some people to separate themselves from
others and not all these measures will be possible if you are living with children or have caring responsibilities but follow this guidance to the best of your ability. Wherever possible, avoid using shared spaces such as kitchens and other living areas while others are present and take your meals back to your room to eat. Wear a face covering when spending time in shared areas inside your home. Increase cleaning of touch points, not sharing towels, using hand sanitiser, ensuring that handles of cups, trays, and cutlery are cleaned appropriately between uses.
We understand that this new information may be challenging to put in place, but we believe it is necessary to ensure that we can maintain education provision for your child(ren). We want to keep you, your families, your setting, as well as your local community safe.
Mr D Irish