We want to thank all of the staff in our Academy for supporting us to keep our pupils and staff safe over the last 18 months. Now that we have started back in the new school year, there have been some changes to the guidance around COVID-19 for schools, and we wanted to share with you a bit more information about what this means and why it’s crucial to keep our school open and safe.
ASYMPTOMATIC TESTING (LFT TEST)
Testing remains important in reducing the risk of transmission of infection within schools. Staff and Secondary school pupils should continue to test twice weekly at home, with lateral flow device (LFD) test kits, 3 to 4 days apart. Testing remains voluntary but is strongly encouraged. (Wednesday and Sunday evenings)
Staff and pupils with a positive LFD test result should self-isolate in line with the stay at home guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. They will also need to get a free PCR test to check if they have COVID-19. Whilst awaiting the PCR result, the individual should continue to self-isolate.
If the PCR test is taken within 2 days of the positive lateral flow test, and is negative, the pupil can return to school, as long as the individual doesn’t have COVID-19 symptoms.
WHEN TO SELF-ISOLATE
Self-isolate straight away and get a PCR test (a test that is sent to the lab) on GOV.UK as soon as possible if you have any of these 3 symptoms of COVID-19, even if they are mild:
- a high temperature
- a new, continuous cough
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
You should also self-isolate straight away if:
- you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 – this means you have the virus
- someone you live with has symptoms or tested positive (unless you are not required to self-isolate – check below if this applies to you)
- you’ve been told to self-isolate following contact with someone who tested positive – find out what to do if you’re told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app
TRACING CLOSE CONTACTS AND ISOLATION
Close contacts in schools are now identified by NHS Test and Trace. NHS Test and Trace will work with the positive case 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 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.
LIVING IN THE SAME HOUSEHOLD AS SOMEONE WITH COVID-19
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.
Exemptions from self-isolation for contacts by Test and Trace
You are not required to self-isolate if you are notified you have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 and any of the following apply:
- you are fully vaccinated
- you are below the age of 18 years and 6 months
- you have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
- you are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons
You are fully vaccinated 14 days after your final dose of an MHRA-approved vaccine that was administered in the United Kingdom. This is to allow for an antibody response to develop. If you were fully vaccinated at the time you had close contact with a positive case, you will not be required to self-isolate.
NHS Test and Trace will contact you to:
- let you know that you have been identified as a contact
- check whether you are legally required to self-isolate
- provide you with advice
Even if you do not have symptoms, you will be advised to have a PCR test as soon as possible. Children aged 4 and under will not be advised to take a test unless the positive case was someone in their own household.
You should not arrange to have a PCR test if you have previously received a positive PCR test result in the last 90 days, unless you develop any new symptoms of COVID-19, as it is possible for PCR tests to remain positive for some time after COVID-19 infection.
For further information click here NHS Test and Trace: what to do if you are contacted – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Schools COVID-19 operational guidance 27/9/21