February 2022 Headteacher Update:
Whilst these are no longer required, we’d recommend parents/carers wear them in crowded spaces – such as pick up and collection times. Staff are no longer required to wear them in communal spaces unless they choose to do so. Visitors and parents/carers are no longer required to wear masks indoors unless they choose to do so.
Primary age children have only been recommended to test if they are symptomatic, when there is a positive case in their class or if parents needed/chose to. We have followed this advice, and while tests are still freely available (until 01/04/22), we will continue to recommend this approach to protect children, staff and wider families linked to our school. For staff, the guidance changed on Monday afternoon, removing the recommendation for staff to routinely test. However, we will continue to recommend staff test at least once a week. Most of our staff (if not all) are keen to keep this for their own peace of mind.
From yesterday (24th February), the law changed and it is no longer a legal obligation to isolate. Instead, everyone should follow the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) advice. As we understand it, the UKHSA advice remains to isolate for five full days if an individual is showing symptoms. They should then have two negative tests before ending isolation after day 5 (testing on day 5 and day 6). There is therefore no expected change in the advice, just to the law enforcing that advice.
For schools, this places COVID on the same level as the current policy in place for when children have other infectious or potentially infectious illnesses – such as Chicken Pox or vomiting/diarrhoea. These require children to be clear of symptoms for a fixed period of time before returning to school (for example, for vomiting/diarrhoea this is 48hours clear).
At this point, and until the official UKHSA guidance is confirmed, I am unable to say what this policy will be definitively. However, we anticipate the period of time will be similar or the same as was required by law. School policy will be in line with UKHSA advice.
For the time being, we will not change our existing procedure - for children with COVID symptoms (high temperature, new continuous cough, change of taste/smell) they must take a Lateral Flow test, for children testing positive they must remain at home for five full days.
If your child has no symptoms, but tests positive on a Lateral Flow test, we recommend they remain off school for five full days as well. Although your child may be symptom free, others might not be so lucky and continued attendance while knowingly positive poses a significant risk to others. Several families have household members or children with medical conditions that mean COVID could be life threatening – we’d hope families would make the right choice and keep their child off school if they test positive.
Please do continue to provide us with a copy of the email/text message after reporting test results to confirm the absence reason.
As the guidance is made clearer, we will update our policy to match. Thank you for your understanding and patience.
As before, children do not learn well if they are unwell in themselves. Please avoid spreading illness to others and keep your child at home if they are unwell. This website may be helpful: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/is-my-child-too-ill-for-school/
What is not changing
We will continue to ventilate all spaces used by children and staff in school. Hygiene measures (hand washing and cleaning routines) will also remain in place. Our one-way system around school site at drop off and collection times will also remain. We will continue to monitor and report cases as required, and offer advice for families with positive cases.
I appreciate that the current changes may bring more questions than answers. Some families will be pleased to see the changes, while others will be extremely worried about what it means for them. As always, we will take a balanced approach, that aims to enable children to have all the opportunities we can provide, while keeping them as safe as we can.
I am proud of the way our school community, staff and parents/carers but particularly the children have navigated the difficulties and challenges of the last two years!
Resources for Parents/Carers:
- NHS Symptom checker - https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms/
- Get a test / test and trace guidance - https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/
RCPCH COVID-19 - resources for parents and carers - https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/resources/covid-19-resources-parents-carers
E-bug resources - https://e-bug.eu/page.php?name=Information-about-the-Coronavirus
Wellbeing and Support:
- Please visit our 'Well-being during Covid-19' page HERE.