Covid Update 4th January 2022 Newsletter
May we take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy New Year. Both children and staff have made a swift and positive start to the new term. We hope that you had an enjoyable Christmas break.
Covid Update including New Guidance from the Department for Education (DfE)
You may have already seen in the press that the DfE issued new guidance regarding Covid and schools over the Bank Holiday weekend. The majority of the guidance does not affect primary schools but parents need to be aware of the following changes.
The main messages from this guidance are:
- nationally, education and childcare settings are open, and attendance is mandatory for schools
- the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has made it clear that the overwhelming majority of children and young people still have no symptoms or very mild illness only
- if the number of positive cases substantially increases in nursery or school, you might be advised that additional measures should be introduced
Information on the 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 in most circumstances, unless you cannot test for any reason.
Individuals may now take 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 you do not have a high temperature, you may end your self-isolation after the second negative test result and return to your education setting 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.
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.
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.
Vaccinations for 5 to 11 year olds
On Wednesday 22 December, the government accepted advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) that a primary course of vaccination should be offered to children aged 5 to 11 years old who are in a clinical risk group, or who are a household contact of someone (of any age) who is immunosuppressed. The NHS is working through updated guidance and will set out how this is going to be operationalised shortly.
The NHS will communicate how eligible children and young people can get their boosters shortly.
Updated guidance on the use of face coverings in education settings
Health advice continues to be that children in primary schools should not be asked to wear face coverings.
Please see the latest DFE guidance for Parents and Carers:
How parents can help at Blanford Mere Primary and Nursery School?
The DfE recognises that the high rates of COVID-19 will cause difficulties with the availability of staff. Our shared priority is to keep education settings open and children continuing face-to-face education.
- If your child has any of the main Covid symptoms, please do not send them into school and arrange for a PCR test
- If a member of your household tests positive, then please follow the guidance above
- Please wear masks when dropping off/collecting your child from school – many of our children are collected by grandparents or adults who are vulnerable and are trying to avoid contracting Covid. Your support with this would be appreciated as we are trying to keep everyone safe
- Please socially distance at the gates and keep your child by your side at all times.
- Arrive and leave at your child’s designated arrival/departure times and avoid congregating around the school. This is particularly relevant on the pathway near to the park.
- We have a large number of children who regularly arrive late – this adds to our workload in an extremely busy period and disrupts teaching and learning.
- Order your child’s school lunch daily.
- Please send your child into school with all of the items they need at the start of the day (coats, packed lunches, PE kits, clothes for after school sports clubs etc). This will minimise the number of people needing to come to the school office.
Please bear with us. We will do our very best to keep school open - the children’s education and safety for everyone is our priority. Closing year groups would be a last resort. However, like many schools, we already have staff shortages with staff being required to self-isolate. We will need to be flexible in our staffing arrangements.
We thank the many parents who do their best every day to follow the guidance and help us to keep the children, staff and community as safe as possible.
Mrs Miller and Miss Stanton