The following information has been taken from the Department of Education Parent and Carer guidance.
For the full guidance use the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/what-parents-and-carers-need-to-know-about-early-years-providers-schools-and-colleges-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/what-parents-and-carers-need-to-know-about-early-years-providers-schools-and-colleges-in-the-autumn-term#process-in-the-event-of-outbreaks
How everyone can help make schools and colleges as safe as possible
Each school or college will do their own health and safety risk assessment as part of their planning for the autumn term and the return of all pupils (This will be published on our website).
As part of this, there are certain approaches that the government has asked schools and colleges to implement which are essential to reduce health risks. Parents and carers can support this by:
- ensuring that anyone who has coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, or has someone in their household who does, does not attend school or college - this means if your child, or someone in your household, has symptoms you should not send them to school or college
- engaging with the NHS Test and Trace process so that cases can be identified and action taken - this means if your child develops symptoms, you should arrange for them to get a test and you should inform your school or college of the results of that test
Alongside this, the government is asking schools and colleges to ensure they are:
- managing confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the school or college, in line with current public health guidance - this means your child may be asked to self-isolate for 14 days by their school or college (based on advice from their local health protection teams) if they have been in close, face-to-face contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus
- ensuring everyone at the school or college cleans their hands more often than usual, including when they arrive at school or college, when they return from breaks, and before and after eating - this can be done with soap and running water or hand sanitiser
- ensuring good respiratory hygiene, by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach
- enhanced cleaning, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces more often
- minimising contact and maintaining distance, as far as possible - schools and colleges will decide how best to do this, as it will be different for each setting, but in broad terms, it will involve asking children to stay within specified separate groups (or bubbles), and through maintaining distance between individuals. The government’s guidance to schools recognises that younger children may not be able to maintain social distancing so it is likely that for younger children the emphasis will be on separating groups, and for older children, it will be on distancing.
- It will be really important that parents help schools and colleges to implement these approaches by following the advice set out here and wider public health advice and guidance.
Process in the event of outbreaks
If a school or college experiences an outbreak, either because they have 2 or more confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) among pupils or staff in their setting within 14 days, or they see an increase in pupil or staff absence rates due to suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19), they will need to contact their local health protection team. This team will advise if additional action is required, though the closure of the whole school or college will generally not be necessary.
Where an outbreak in a school is confirmed, a mobile testing unit may be dispatched to test others who may have been in contact with the person who has tested positive. Testing will first focus on the person’s class, followed by their year group, then the whole school, if necessary.
If your local area sees a spike in infection rates that is resulting in localised community spread, decisions will be made on what measures to implement to help contain the spread. The government will be involved in decisions and will support individual schools and colleges to follow the health advice.
In all cases, where groups of pupils need to self-isolate or where a larger restriction of attendance at school or college is needed, your child’s school or college should seek to ensure children and young people’s education can continue remotely.