The DfE announced that there are currently over 640,000 students in self-isolation from schools. As you will be aware, there are growing numbers of COVID-positive results in Plymouth and this is impacting on all schools; Eggbuckland is no exception. We fully understand how frustrating it is for parents and carers to have their child self-isolating because they have been judged to be in close and prolonged contact with the student who tested positive. In conversations with Public Health England we have constantly argued that, in order to limit the numbers of students self- isolating, we would be happy to test every student every morning before they arrive at classes. Currently this is not accepted PHE policy. However, the Government has announced that things are changing for schools as we move to ‘Step 4’. Whilst we await specific details, Gavin Williamson (Secretary of State for Education) announced the changes summarised below:
From 19th July:
The government is ending ‘class and year group’ bubbles.
From 12th August:
Those under the age of 18 will no longer have to self-isolate if they are contacted by NHS Test and Trace as having been near to someone with coronavirus. Instead, they will be advised to take a PCR test. Only if this is positive will this individual need to self-isolate.
NHS Tests and Trace is the only official way people will be informed of their ‘close and prolonged’ contact with someone who is Covid positive. This will no longer be the responsibility for schools.
As students return after the summer break, the school should organise two lateral flow tests, three days apart. Anyone who tests positive should then take a PCR test.