We are looking forward to seeing everyone return to school for face-to-face education this week. We appreciate that there is some anxiety about the Omicron variant and difficulties that this might present. Attending school in person is the best way for our children to learn. We continue to prioritise this whilst balancing the ongoing risks presented by Covid-19. With that in mind please read and take note of all these important reminders and updates about the return to school this term.
If your child has any Covid-19 symptoms
Please do not send your child to school if they are showing any symptoms of Covid-19. Instead you must self isolate and follow the latest national guidance.
At home testing
After testing at school, students should continue to test at home twice a week. As you will be aware there are national supply issues with these kits, please bear this in mind when using the kits. All test results should be reported on the NHS track and trace service here.
Self isolation rules have changed
From Monday 17 January, students who are self-isolating with COVID-19 will have the option to reduce their isolation period after 5 full days if they test negative with a lateral flow device (LFD) test on both day 5 and day 6 and they do not have a temperature.
For example, if they test negative on the morning of day 5 and the morning of day 6, they can return to school immediately on day 6.
The first test must be taken no earlier than day 5 of the self-isolation period, and the second must be taken the following day. All test results should be reported to NHS Test and Trace. Contact tracing is triggered once a positive LFD test is reported.
If the result of either of their tests is positive, they should continue to self-isolate until they get negative results from two LFD tests on consecutive days or until they have completed 10 full days of self-isolation, whichever is earliest.
Daily testing for close contacts of COVID-19
People who are fully vaccinated, or children and young people aged between 5 and 18 years and 6 months, identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19, should take an LFD test every day for seven days and continue to attend their setting as normal, unless they have a positive test result or develop symptoms at any time.
Temporary suspension of confirmatory PCR tests in schools
Confirmatory PCR testing following a positive result on a lateral flow device (LFD) is temporarily suspended. This means that for all education and childcare settings, staff and students who have tested and reported a positive LFD result will no longer be advised to get a confirmatory PCR test.
We therefore don’t need to ask people to do a confirmatory PCR unless they:
- have symptoms (in which case they need to follow the stay at home guidance, self-isolate and order a PCR test)
- wish to claim the Test and Trace Support Payment
- have been advised to take a PCR test because they are in a clinically vulnerable group
- have been advised to do so as part of a research or surveillance programme
Updated guidance on the use of face coverings in education settings
From Sunday 2 January, the DFE recommended that face coverings be worn in classrooms where pupils in year 7 and above are educated. The advice is short term only, to support pupils and teachers as they return to school this term. This recommendation will be in place until Wednesday 26 January, at which point it will be reviewed by the DFE. If you are concerned about your child wearing a face mask please contact the school office and one of our pastoral team members will contact you.
As we are unable to safely manage canteen queues and the dining room facility whilst the new face covering guidance is in place, students may not sit and eat meals in the canteen. This will be reviewed following the DFE review on face coverings.