COVID-19

What you need to do:

There are three simple actions we must all do to keep on protecting each other

  • Wash hands – keep washing your hands regularly
  • Cover face – wear a face covering in enclosed spaces
  • Make space – stay at least 2 metres apart – or 1 metre with a face covering or other precautions

 

Updated Advice – February 2022

 

On Monday 21 February, the Prime Minister announced the removal of measures put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic as we learn to live with the virus. This includes changes for schools and colleges such as no longer recommending regular testing for pupils and staff without symptoms and removing the legal requirement for people to isolate following a positive test – this includes school pupils, further education and higher education students and all staff in mainstream education and childcare settings.

Here is what you need to know and what this means for education settings.

Testing

The latest changes to testing rules do not mean the end of testing altogether. Regular testing is still advised for specialist special educational needs and disability (SEND) settings, alternative provision, and SEND units in mainstream schools or the equivalent in colleges.

All settings may be advised by their local public health team to recommend lateral flow device (LFD) tests to manage an outbreak.

What if staff or students want to continue testing regularly?

Although this will no longer be recommended, staff in education and childcare settings and students and pupils can still access test kits by ordering them online or through their local pharmacy if they wish.

Self-isolation

From 24 February, the Government will remove the legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive test. In addition, the Government will no longer ask fully vaccinated close contacts and those aged under 18 to test daily for 7 days and routine contact tracing will end.

Adults and children who test positive will continue to be advised to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for at least 5 full days and then continue to follow the guidance until they have received 2 negative test results on consecutive days.

Staff, children and young people who are contacts should attend their education settings as usual.  This includes staff who have been in close contact within their household, unless they are able to work from home.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) published updated guidance on 24 February.

Should parents send their child to school if they think they have COVID-19?

If a child has any of the main symptoms or a positive test result, the public health advice remains unchanged and is to stay at home and avoid contact with other people.

Anyone with any of the main COVID-19 symptoms should order a test and is advised to stay at home while waiting for the result.

If they test positive, they are advised to follow public health advice.

Why have you made these changes?

At present, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is the dominant strain. Following the latest public health advice, we know that Omicron presents low risk to most children, young people and fully vaccinated adults.

Most people will only experience mild or asymptomatic illness (meaning they show no symptoms at all), which combined with our successful vaccination programme and its high rate of take-up, allows us to bring the education testing regime in line with wider society and bring greater normality back into the school day.

Throughout the pandemic, we have adapted the measures in place in schools to strike the balance between protecting education and reducing transmission.

It remains our absolute priority to do everything we can to protect students in face-to-face education.

The measures we recommend in education settings, such as encouraging vaccine take up, hygiene or ventilation measures, are always based on the latest scientific advice.

How can you continue to prevent the spread of COVID-19 across education settings?

Good ventilation, hygiene and encouraging vaccination uptake, as well as following any additional advice from local directors of public health, are the best measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in education settings.

Ventilation

We have provided over 360,000 carbon dioxide (CO2) monitors to all state-funded education settings, including early years, schools, and further education providers, backed by £25 million. The new monitors enable staff to identify areas where ventilation needs to be improved and provide reassurance that existing ventilation measures are working, helping balance the need for good ventilation with keeping classrooms warm.

Many classrooms and communal areas in schools are already well-ventilated, and we have also made up to 9,000 high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cleaning units available for the small number of settings where poor ventilation cannot be quickly rectified.

Vaccination

Vaccines remain our best weapon against this virus. By getting vaccinated, children and young people can increase their protection against COVID-19.

Being vaccinated minimises the need for children and young people to have time-off school and college and helps them to continue to carry out their hobbies, attend social events and live their lives to the full. It therefore supports their emotional wellbeing and happiness.

While most children infected usually have mild symptoms from COVID-19 some may go on to develop more serious symptoms. Doctors are still learning about these long-term effects but we know that vaccination helps to protect against these risks.

More information the latest COVID-19 advice is available on: COVID-19 Response: Living with COVID-19 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Documents

Covid letter to parents from Public Health

Advice for Parents March 2022

Documents

DfE - Returning to School

September 2021

Orient Gene Rapid Covid LFD Testing Leaflet

September 2021

Back to Primary School Toolkit

September 2021

Transport for Greater Manchester

Return to school - September 2021

Documents

Information from Public Health Manchester on the Delta Variant

Wider Symptoms of the Delta Variant

Guidance on how to isolate

Documents

Stay at Home Guidance

For households with possible or confirmed Cornavirus infection

Isolation Guidance

Documents

Important Information for Visitors during COVID-19

Handwashing advice

It is essential that everyone washes their hands more often, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Hand washing with soap employs mechanical action that loosens bacteria and viruses from the skin, rinsing them into the drain. Drying hands afterwards makes the skin less hospitable to the virus. Hand sanitiser can be effective if soap is not available or the situation makes using soap less feasible (i.e. when outside) but using hand sanitiser provides none of the virus-destroying friction that rubbing your hands together and rinsing with water provides.

Department for Education coronavirus helpline

The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:

Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours:
8am to 6pm – Monday to Friday
10am to 4pm – Saturday and Sunday

Documents

DfE Step by Step Guide

If your child is struggling with understanding Covid 19 and lockdown, one of our favourite illustrators, Axel Scheffler, illustrator of the Gruffalo, has published a free information book explaining the Coronavirus to children. Please click the image below to view:

Documents

Talking to your child about Coronavirus

Coronavirus Easy Read

Coronavirus Support Sheets

Useful Links

We are sure many of you will know of the TV show, Get Well Soon with Dr Ranj, on CBeebies. They have launched a new episode to explain Coronavirus and they sing a song about washing hands which you can view here

Information for parents from the government regarding the closure of educational settings can be found  here

Government guidance on supporting your children’s education can be viewed here

"Stay Home Protect the NHS Save Lives"