Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health, has written to parents and guardians across the Borough to remind them about the arrangements in place for returning to school.
In her letter she explained that before the the start of term, each Sefton school has completed a risk assessment and identified specific measures for their settings.
Sefton’s schools will be following the national guidance. This means ‘pupil bubbles’ and social distancing/mixing measures have been removed and pupils are no longer be required to wear face coverings in school, although it is recommended they be worn in crowded and enclosed places.
Regular hand washing, personal hygiene and ventilation is also being recommended to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Should case numbers in a school or educational setting rise substantially, some control measures need to be temporarily reintroduced.
Although NHS Test & Trace are now responsible for contact tracing of all positive cases, if a child or young person tests positive for COVID-19, their school should still be informed.
Young people are no longer being advised to isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a COVID-19 case, but they will be asked to take a PCR test. If the PCR result is positive, the individual will then be required to self-isolate. All known contacts of positive COVID-19 cases should be reported to NHS Test & Trace, no matter vaccination status or age.
The letter reminds parents and guardians that if a child develops COVID-19 symptoms, they should book an appointment for them to have a PCR test and that the child should not come into school whilst they are awaiting the test results, even if they feel better. If their test result is negative, they can return to school. If their result is positive, they should continue to isolate and follow public health advice.
Appointments for PCR tests can be booked at www.gov.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.
Mrs Jones’ letter also encourages parents, carers, secondary pupils and college students to take regular rapid lateral flow (LFD) tests. Taking LFD tests twice a week remains one of the most effective ways to reduce transmission of COVID-19.
Free rapid tests are available through schools, colleges and nurseries for everyone who attends them or works at them. Primary age pupils in Year 6 or below do not need to do testing if they do not have symptoms or are not a contact of a positive COVID-19 case.
She also reminds readers that vaccination remains the best protection against the virus and encourages everyone eligible to get both doses as soon as possible.
Margaret Jones said:
“We appreciate that this is a challenging time for parents, guardians, pupils and students as well as for teachers and school staff and Sefton Council would like to thank them for their support in keeping the Borough’s helping keep our schools open and safe.
“We also know it’s a lot to take in so we have set up some Frequently Asked Questions on our website which can be found at www.sefton.gov.uk/schools-faqs
“Finally, I like to wish all the Borough’s pupils and students every success in this coming academic year.”