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Borough’s teachers, schools staff, parents and carers and pupils praised

Cllr John Joseph Kelly Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Safeguarding has praised the Borough’s teachers, schools staff, parents and carers and pupils themselves for the all that they are doing to ensure children can safely attend school.

Cllr Kelly said: “As with the rest of the region, it is a rapidly changing picture with as many as one third of schools in Sefton having been affected in some way.

“We have had class and year bubbles and the staff who work with them sent home while others are returning following periods of self-isolation.

Rumours

He continued: “Schools have done a great job informing parents and reassuring them that every effort is being made to ensure that children can safely attend school and to quell any rumours that may be being spread.

“Schools have also been also following Department for Education and Public Health England guidelines and we are all doing everything we can to ensure that our children and young people do not miss out on their vital education.”

“I would like to say a personal ‘thank you’ to teachers, schools staff, parents and carers and to the pupils themselves for working with us during this challenging period and also to wish a speedy recovery to anyone who is unwell.”

Symptoms

Cllr Kelly went on to emphasise the importance of anyone with coronavirus symptoms of a raised temperatures, new constant cough or a loss of taste or smell, booking a test as soon as they are able.

He said: “Testing is key to helping prevent the spread of infections and with the current pressure on accessing appointments, we would remind people that they should only book a test if they have the coronavirus

“They should not be trying to book themselves a test because their child has symptoms or has been sent home from school.”

Details of the latest restrictions affecting the region and how people might be affected by them can be found on the Council’s website at www.sefton.gov.uk/coronavirus along with a list of Frequently Asked Questions. These Questions cover a range of areas including people’s households and social life, their support bubbles and childcare, support for vulnerable people and education.

Easy-to-follow guide for parent & carers on COVID-19 procedures for pupils

To help reassure parents and carers who are concerned about what will happen if a pupil or student becomes unwell with COVID-19 at a school or college, Sefton Council has produced a new, easy-to-follow-chart, which maps the process.

Symptoms

It explains that if a pupil is ill with the symptoms of COVID-19 – a new, continuous cough or a high temperature or a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell – they must stay away from school or college.

Parents and cares should inform the school or college and book an appointment for a coronavirus test at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus  or by calling 119.

The child should isolate for at least 10 days from when symptoms start and other members of the household including any brother and sisters should self-isolate for 14 days from when the symptoms began.

If the child is not showing coronavirus symptoms, parents and carers should follow the normal sickness procedure for the school or college.

Positive test result

The chart explains that if the child with COVID_19 symptoms receives a positive test result, they must continue to self-isolate for at least 10 days and their school or college should be informed immediately. After the 10 days are complete, if their symptoms are only the cough or loss of sense of smell or taste, they can go back. If they still have a high temperature, they should continue self-isolating until their temperature returns to normal. Other members of their household should continue self-isolating for the 14 days.

Negative test result

If the child with COVID_19 symptoms receives a negative test result, they can return to school or college and stop self-isolating when they are well and free from symptoms. Other members of their household can stop self-isolating too.

Becoming unwell while at school or college

If a pupil becomes unwell with COVID-19 symptoms at school or college, they will be sent home and should follow the ‘stay at home’ guidance for households with possible or confirmed ‘coronavirus infection’ along with other with members of their household.

While the pupil is awaiting collection, actions to improve ventilation and minimise contact will be taken and once they have been collected, staff will follow hand hygiene processes and will clean any affected area.

The school or college setting will inform parents, carers and pupils if additional actions are required.

When a pupil or staff member has tested positive, parents and carers will be informed about any actions required.

Testing positive after attending school or college

If a pupil or member of staff tests positive after attending school or college, parents and carers will be told if any additional actions are required.

If an outbreak is confirmed in a school, Public Health England advice will be followed. This may include larger numbers of pupils and staff members having to self-isolate.

Anyone who is contacted by Public Health England as a contact of a case, must self-isolate for 14 days even if receive a negative test result.

 

 

 

Back to school blues? Mental health support is available

As children and young people are preparing to go back to school health organisations across Sefton are reminding residents that mental health support is available. Parents, carers, and guardians are being urged to be alert to signs that children could be experiencing anxiety, distress, or low mood as pupils head back to the classroom after months away.

 Dr Susan Gough, mental health lead for NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “It is more important than ever to look out for our children and young people and to help them access the support they need. We know it is not easy to talk about mental health, we would really like to encourage young people to have open conversations about their wellbeing, and to reach out for help if they need it.”

Signs that parents should look out for include:

  • You might find they are more upset or find it hard to manage their emotions
  • They may appear anxious or distressed
  • Increasing trouble with sleeping and eating
  • Appearing low in mood, withdrawn or tearful
  • Reporting worried or negative thoughts about themselves or their future
  • For younger children, there may be more bedwetting.

“If you’re worried about how your child is coping, trust your instinct and reach out for help you can talk to your GP, your child’s school or NHS mental health services.”

This week, The Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust has launched a mental health campaign. Using the hashtag #WellnessWednesday, the trust will share and promote information about local services and resources for children and young people on social media. The trust also has a webpage which hosts useful videos, including hints and tips to help children and parents dealing with anxiety about going back to school.

 Margaret Jones, director of public health for Sefton Council, said: “We’d like to reassure parents and pupils that they can get back to school safely and protective measures are in place. Your child’s school or college will be able to give you more information about the specific measures they have put in place, but the government has also released information and practical guidance to support parents, carers and students returning to school or college.”

 Dr Hilal Mulla, mental health lead for NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said:

“As many children start to return to school, it’s vital we continue to give them the support they need to maintain their mental health and wellbeing and deal with any feelings of uncertainty or worry they may be experiencing.

“The NHS offers a large amount of mental health support for children and young people, and if a child needs urgent mental health support or advice, check the NHS website for services in your area, including 24/7 crisis support.

“Parents should contact NHS 111 online or a GP immediately if they notice any physical injuries on a child, such as deep cuts or burns.”

Local mental health and wellbeing support and helplines available:

·       Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) – there are a number of local mental health support and advice services available to young people and their families at this time. For more information and to find your local service visit: South Sefton CCG CAMHS or Southport and Formby CCG CAMHS

·       Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust 24/7 CAMHS Crisis Care Team – if a child or young person requires urgent mental health support the team can be contacted 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 0151 293 3577 or free phone on 0808 196 3550.

  • Kooth – This free online service for young people aged 11 to 18 years offers self-help materials and a safe online community 365 days a year.

National helplines and support available:

  • Childlinecall 0800 1111
  • The Samaritanscall 116 123
  • YoungMindsCrisis Messenger: text YM to 85258
  • Papyrus Hopeline UKsuicide prevention helpline: call 0800 068 4141 or text 07860 039967
  • The Mix a support service for young people. You can talk to with the online community, on social, or through the confidential helpline or our counselling service. Call 0808 808 4994 (Sunday to Friday, 2pm to 11pm)
  • If you identify as male, you can call the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)on 0800 58 58 58 (5pm to midnight, every day).

Useful links for children and young people’s mental health:

·       For information about the Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust Back to School Resources, visit: https://covid19.alderhey.nhs.uk/back-to-school-resources-for-parents-and-children/

·       To view the Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust Mental Health Help video series, visit: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4zniovSeRnCh_aHl7C7U_8lc7vjphc

Children’s return to school is safe says Sefton’s Director of Public Health

“It is safe for children to return to school,” was the key message from Margaret Jones, Sefton’s Director of Public Health when we spoke to her about pupils returning to schools this week.

Not being at school, she said, is harmful for children’s overall well-being.

We asked Margaret about the measures being put in place for the new term to help maintain social distancing and reduce contact. These include reduced class sizes and ‘bubbles’, staggered start finishes and break times.

Margaret also stressed the ongoing need for thorough hand-washing and the importance of people showing COVID-19 symptoms – a raised temperature, new persistent cough or a loss of their sense of taste or smell – isolating and getting a test.

Here’s our interview with Margaret.

Joint plea to public to continue to be sensible and respectful at Sefton’s beauty spots

A number of organisations across Sefton are joining forces to remind people to continue to be sensible and respectful if they choose to spend time outdoors during the warm weather.

The agencies who make up the Sefton Coastal Landscape Partnership include Sefton Council, Merseyside Police, Merseyside Fire and Rescue, British Transport Police, HM Coastguard, National Trust Formby, Natural England, the RNLI and other key partners.

Today (04 August) the partnership launches a campaign covering many of the issues faced on the Sefton coast.

Since restrictions were lifted allowing people to spend more time outside, we have seen a rise in the number of people using local beaches, parks and beauty spots including Formby nature reserve and many of Sefton’s beautiful beaches.

The advice remains that everyone should maintain social distancing at all times.

People also should check in advance of visiting places like National Parks and beaches to make sure they are prepared for visitors.

We are also asking people to remain respectful and protect our public spaces.

During the recent nice weather, the partnership has received reports of excessive littering and fires and BBQs being lit as well as people parking illegally and inconsiderately by blocking driveways and residential roads.

Mark Shaw from Sefton Council’s Green Sefton service said:

“Our beaches are tempting but they are not able to cope with high level of visitors at the moment.

“For those few who do visit our coastline at this time, they are advised that stringent parking restrictions are in place, all rubbish must be taken home and BBQs are strictly prohibited along the entirety of the Sefton coastline.

“At this time, we need people to think about their safety and the safety of others, as well as the wellbeing of our communities and Council staff.”

Sefton Chief Inspector Mike O’Malley from Merseyside Police said:

“We continue to work closely alongside our partners to deal with all issues on Sefton’s beautiful coastlines, and this August – with many choosing to holiday in this country due to travel restrictions – will be no different. We want all visitors to enjoy a safe, relaxing and enjoyable time, and show consideration for those who live in these areas.

“During spells of good weather this year we have had reports of excessive littering and fires and BBQs being lit as well as people parking illegally and inconsiderately by blocking driveways and residential roads.

“Anyone acting antisocially should expect to be dealt with by police in a robust manner, and we will also support other agencies in their work.

“I want to reassure those affected by anti-social behaviour, underage drinking and other issues affecting the communities of Sefton that we will again make a co-ordinated effort to prevent such incidents from occurring.

“Throughout August, officers will be on foot, in vehicles and on quad bikes across the Sefton coastline including Formby, Ainsdale and Crosby beaches, as well as parks and beauty spots including Formby nature reserve.”

PC David Baier from British Transport Police said:

“Everyone wants to enjoy this gorgeous weather and may head to the coast but it’s really important that people continue to social distance and wear compulsory face coverings when using public transport.

“These may be strange times, but the same rules apply regarding anti-social behaviour – we won’t tolerate any abuse of passengers or rail staff and we’ll continue to take a robust approach to anyone who breaks the rules.”

ENDS

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