Friday 21st May 2021
You will have seen the national announcements and government revisions in arrangements from the 17th May, which continues to move to further easing of restrictions but asks us to take this next step carefully. These latest changes have meant very little change to the national schools’ guidance, however, Dudley Council have asked schools to write to parents and carers to highlight the need to remain vigilant and continued expectations in relation to Covid-19 on school sites.
In order for us all to help keep children and young people in schools for the remainder of the Summer Term, we need to ensure that we manage the risks and remain vigilant, with some measures remaining in place to keep infection rates down. This is particularly important in light of new and emerging variants of the virus and international travel.
Face Coverings in Schools
Primary age children are not required to wear a face covering in school.
Parents are expected to wear a face covering as distancing is not possible at pick up and drop off times.
Symptom Free (Lateral Flow testing (LFT) for children & staff
There is no national recommendation for primary-age pupils to have a LFT.
Staff in primary schools are still offered twice weekly LFT. This continues to be the national and local expectation as an important tool in managing infection rates and reducing opportunity for further spread. It regularly identifies people with no symptoms, therefore reduces transmission and the number of children and young people that may need to isolate.
Symptom free twice weekly testing for parents and carers
We would like to encourage parents and carers to carry out twice weekly symptom-free (LFT) tests so we can identify positive cases at the earliest opportunity and help to stop transmission
Residents can access symptom free tests in a number of ways:
- Collect kits from local pharmacies
- Collect kits from local sites
- Get a test done at a local testing site
- Via the post
You will need to register the result of your test on the government website. For more information go to www.dudley.gov.uk/symptom-free-testing.
Vaccine for parents and carers
From Thursday 20th May all adults aged 34 and over in Dudley will be eligible to receive a covid-19 vaccination, we encourage all eligible people to have the vaccine when offered.
You will be notified directly from the NHS or from your GP as to when you can book your slot. For more information go to www.dudley.gov.uk/coronavirus
Schools will be continuing with their system of controls to manage infection rates such as staggered start and finish times, one-way systems and expectation that parents remain socially distanced and wear face coverings when dropping/collecting children. Schools will also be continuing to arrange children and young people in groups/bubbles. Dudley Council may also, at times, ask for the introduction of extended measures for pupils or staff in response to localised outbreaks, including variants of concern.
Can we please ask parents and carers to continue to do the things that you have been doing to keep our education settings safe. These are:
- Not sending your child to their nursery, childminder, school or college if they are showing coronavirus symptoms or someone within the household is showing symptoms
- Arranging a test if you or your child develops symptoms*(see below) – no matter how mild – and informing the nursery, childminder, school or college of the result
- Keeping your child at home where they have been identified as having contact with a confirmed case either in school or elsewhere
- Ensuring that the whole household isolate where a household member is awaiting a result, and continued isolation if test result is positive
- Reinforcing with your children the importance of washing/sanitising hands, make space and minimise contact
- Supporting schools by understanding and reinforcing the measures and procedures expected by your school; hands, face, space, test
- Continuing to adhere to the national guidelines
Be aware of symptoms and arrange a test
The 3 classic covid-19 symptoms are;
- a new, continuous cough
- a high temperature
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
Anyone with the above symptoms must isolate (and their household) and arrange a PCR test.
Other symptoms which may be linked to Covid 19:
- aches and pains
- tummy ache in children
- sore throat
- runny nose
- feeling very tired for no good reason
Anyone feeling generally unwell or with these symptoms is asked to take a PCR test to check if it is covid-19 or seasonal illness.
If you would like any more help and advice around COVID-19, please go to: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
The next government changes are expected on the 21st June. Dudley Council will continue to review this position in line with the national guidance and local infection rates including variants to prevent any spikes in infection rates prior to the Summer holidays.
We look forward to and are hopeful that schools will be able to resume more normal arrangements from September 2021. We will of course, write to you again, to confirm the position in schools.