This page explains some of the changes that children and parents may experience in school during the current Covid-19 situation. All measures taken to reduce the risk of infection and ensure that the school is safe, are in-line with the latest government guidance.
COVID-19 Risk assessment summary (Sep 21)
The newly updated guidance sets the tone for the new way we are operating in schools.
‘ As COVID-19 becomes a virus that we learn to live with, there is now an imperative to reduce the disruption to children and young people’s education - particularly given that the direct clinical risks to children are extremely low, and every adult has been offered a first vaccine and the opportunity for 2 doses by mid-September.’
System of controls to minimize coronavirus risks
- Ensure good hygiene for everyone.
- Maintain appropriate cleaning regimes.
- Keep occupied spaces well ventilated.
- Follow public health advice on testing, self-isolation and managing confirmed cases of COVID-19.
All staff, visitors and children will sanitise on arrival (staff need to support and encourage children to do this). Throughout the day staff, visitors and children need to continue with regular handwashing and sanitising. There is hand sanitiser in all classrooms, entry and exit points and throughout the school. Staff should continue to promote hand sanistisation with children at regular points throughout the day.
Schools will continue with enhanced cleaning including cleaning of toilets and door handles within the school day. Anti-bacterial cleaning materials are available in all classrooms and shared areas.
Occupied spaces well ventilated
Doors and windows to remain open as much as possible (and maintaining comfort). Particularly in shared spaces like staff rooms and halls.
Testing, self-isolation and managing confirmed cases of COVID-19
Testing – all staff to continue to self-administer lateral flow test twice weekly.
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 – if the school becomes aware of a confirmed case of COVID-19 then this will be recorded via Sims. The school will follow up to date Public Health England advice and guidance. If the number of cases rises to 5 positive cases that can be linked within the school, then this is classed as an 'outbreak' and additional measures to reduce transmission will be introduced - this could include a short period of remote learning.
Siblings of confirmed cases of COVID-19 - as per public health advice close contacts of confirmed cases should seek a PCR and the negative result should be sent to school.
Mixing and ‘bubbles’
There will be no bubbles and children and staff will be mixing fully.
Assemblies will resume fully and there is no need to make alternative lunchtime arrangements.
The curriculum can be delivered as we believe best for our children including the use of different ways of grouping and deployment of staff.
Our contingency plan (outbreak management plan) will include the re-introduction of bubbles as appropriate.
There is no requirement to wear face coverings, if members of staff would like to wear face coverings that is their choice.
Is part of our additional measures are will be introduced as/when appropriate.
Managing children who are unwell
In order to keep ‘bubbles’ open and our children in school for as long as is physically possible, we require evidence of a negative PCR Test Result before any child (sent home for showing symptoms of COVID) will be welcomed back into school.
- Headaches (a good indicator for those, particularly adults, that do not NORMALLY suffer with headaches)
- Loss or change to sense of smell or taste
Managing and communicating the risk
Each school will monitor the situation throughout the day of suspected and confirmed COVID cases. They will use the Red, Amber, Green system for classes to indicate which measures should be in place.
Tracing close contacts and isolation
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, but it is expected and recommended that these are worn when travelling on public or dedicated transport.
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 (see Stepping measures up and down section for more information) 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.