HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Apologies for having to email on Bank Holiday Monday and to welcome you to 2022 with a COVID-19 related email! However, given the incredibly high case numbers at the moment, I am sure that many of you have been affected by Covid over this break. If your child currently unwell or has had a positive LFD or PCR, please let the office know.
The Department for Education issued updated guidance for schools yesterday morning. While most of the guidance is only relevant for secondary schools, some of the updates are important for you to be aware of and so I ask that you please take the time to read the following carefully.
The Department for Education have made their stance very clear, that it is of the upmost importance that schools remain open and children receive a full education. It is certainly not our desire to return to remote learning, as I am sure it is not yours! The biggest threat to this is a depleted and therefore overly stretched workforce resulting in further absences due to excess pressure. I urge to you to play your part in protecting out staff from Covid. It is widely accepted that the current Covid variant does not necessarily present as the classic cough and high temperature symptoms. Therefore if your child is at all unwell, ensure they have a negative LFD before coming into school. And, although social distancing is no longer in place, please keep a distance from members of staff and wear a face mask if having to come in close contact with them.
Changes to the self-isolation period for individuals who test positive for COVID-19
Since Wednesday 22 December, the 10-day self-isolation period for people who record a positive PCR test result for COVID-19 has been reduced to 7 days for those who have been vaccinated, unless you cannot test for any reason.
Individuals may now take Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests on day 6 and day 7 of their self-isolation period. Those who receive two negative test results are no longer required to complete 10 full days of self-isolation. The first test must be taken no earlier than day 6 of the self-isolation period and tests must be taken 24 hours apart. This also applies to children under 5, with LFD testing at parental or guardian discretion. If both these test results are negative, and individuals do not have a high temperature, they may end their self-isolation after the second negative test result and return to school from day 8.
Anyone who is unable to take LFD tests will need to complete the full 10-day period of self-isolation. Further information is available in the stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed COVID-19 infection.
My understanding at the moment is we cannot ask for proof of these LFD tests but rely on your honesty and high moral stance.
Daily testing for close contacts of COVID-19
Adults who are fully vaccinated and children over 5, identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19, should take an LFD test every day for seven days and continue to attend school as normal, unless they have a positive test result or develop symptoms at any time.
Children under 5 are not being advised to take part in daily testing of close contacts. If a child under 5 is a contact of a confirmed case, they are not required to self-isolate and should not start daily testing. If they live in the same household as someone with COVID-19 they should limit their contact with anyone who is at higher risk of severe illness if infected with COVID-19 and arrange to take a PCR test as soon as possible. They can continue to attend an education or childcare setting while waiting for the PCR result. If the test is positive, they should follow the stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed COVID-19 infection.
Even though the DFE state that Test and Trace will contact close contacts; we will send a letter where we have a positive case in a class to let you know children are a close contact and asking you to take daily lateral flow tests for 7 days if your child is over 5.
Asymptomatic testing and confirmatory PCR tests
There is no need for primary age pupils to regularly LFD test, unless they have been identified as a contact for someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and therefore advised to take lateral flow tests for 7 days. Many of you will use LFD tests with your children and you may wish to administer a test before returning to school on Tuesday.
If any child has symptoms of COVID-19, they should not attend school and they should take a PCR test as soon as possible. Whilst awaiting the PCR result, individuals should continue to self-isolate. If the PCR test is taken within 2 days of a positive lateral flow test, and is negative, it overrides the LFD test and the child can return to school, as long as they don’t have COVID-19 symptoms.
Funded air cleaning units for education and childcare settings
You may have heard reports in the news about some schools being provided with special air cleaning units. There are 7000 units available throughout the country. This is not relevant for Langar at present. CO2 monitors are present in classrooms so that ventilation levels can be monitored on a daily basis.
Classrooms will be well ventilated by leaving internal doors open and opening external doors and windows regularly for at least 10 minute. Please send children dressed appropriately for this - with an extra layer under their uniform or even a spare jumper in their bag.
Learning from Home
Where a child has tested positive for COVID-19 but has very mild or no symptoms, then work will continue to be available on the school website for each child's class. If a child’s class teacher is absent and unwell, parents will be provided with an alternative contact to provide additional guidance regarding schoolwork and feedback.
The above is only relevant when absence from school has been authorised. Additional guidance and feedback will not be provided for periods of unauthorised absence (such as holidays) Where children are unwell with COVID-19 or absent as a result of any other illness, there is obviously no expectation to complete any schoolwork.
Should whole classes or year groups be required to self-isolate, a full timetable of home learning will be published for each day, to include live meetings via zoom. Further details are on the website regarding this.
The wearing of face coverings is not recommended for primary aged pupils. Staff will continue to wear masks in corridors and communal areas of school, but not while teaching.
Additional Control Measures
We will continue to ensure good hygiene for everyone by asking children to clean their hands regularly and adopt the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it approach. Where additional measures need to be introduced as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak in school, these will be communicated to you.
I look forward to seeing you and your children back at school on Tuesday. Thanks for your continued support and here’s to a happy and healthy 2022!