Elmhurst Junior School 19 October 2021
Dear Parents and Carers,
As we approach October half term, I wanted to take the time to write and update you on how the school has been and how it continues to manage the demands and impact of the COVID19 virus.
Across the term, we have had a few positive cases within our pupil community, we are still seen as being in the green zone. Our case numbers have never risen beyond four and currently we have exactly four positive cases. In light of this, we have not felt the need to alter any of our current school restrictions. However, other schools locally who have more cases are and I can imagine that as a parent this may be becoming very confusing for you if you are receiving updates, which differ.
We will continue to make any adjustments after consideration of updates from the Department for Education, the Local Authority and after discussion with other local schools, Public Health or within our leadership team. As always, we remain ready to respond to any requirements for if we are required to return to class bubbles, staggered starts or remote learning. To aid this, it would be very helpful if you could let the office know if you are considered a key worker. We do hope that we will not get to this point again and we hope to be able to implement the plans that we have in place for the coming half term.
Below, I have listed for you the most updated guidance that we have for our children and families at Elmhurst. Please do ask if you have any questions and please continue to keep us up to date with any COVID cases.
Finally, I would also like to reassure you that whilst we remain focused and vigilant to the impact of the virus we are not allowing this to detract from our focus on school leadership and curriculum development. The pupils and staff have made a fantastic start to the new academic year and it is a joy to see our children’s learning progress and their love of learning shine through.
Please be reassured that for most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness. Regardless of severity, for many parents and carers this remains a concerning time. All schools when required are working closely with Public Health Specialists at both the County Council and PHE to monitor this situation and provide you with updates.
Following current guidance, we are continuing to ensure confirmed cases of COVID-19 complete self-isolation at home. Staff are continuing to complete lateral flow tests. All positive lateral flow tests should be followed up with a PCR test. While our school remains open and your child remains well, they should continue to attend as normal.
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 we will continue to put in place the following control measures:
- As per this letter, provide ‘warn and inform’ information to parents
- Provide outbreak information to everyone within the setting
- Encourage testing and provide advice on symptoms and self-isolation
- Continue to ensure ventilation indoors (where this does not affect comfort).
- Continue to complete enhanced cleaning, focusing on touch points and shared equipment
- Provide reinforcement of all hygiene measures
What to do if your child develops symptoms of COVID-19
However mild the symptoms, please book a PCR test for the person with symptoms (even if they have already taken an LFD test). Symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- A new, continuous cough, and/or
- A temperature, and/or
- A loss of, or change to, sense of test and/or smell.
You can book a test here Testing for coronavirus (COVID-19) – NHS (www.nhs.uk) <https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing/> or by calling 119.
If the test result is negative, your child can return to school once they are well and have been fever free for at least 24 hours (without the support of paracetamol of Calpol).
If the test result is positive,
- your child must self-isolate for 10 days (from when symptoms started, or from the date of the test).
- members of your household who have been fully vaccinated (at least 14 days earlier) are medically exempt from vaccination or under the age of 18 years 6 months, instead of self-isolating, are now advised to take a free PCR test.
If the result is negative, they can resume normal activities. If you are concerned about your child’s symptoms, or they are worsening you can seek advice from NHS 111 at <https://111.nhs.uk/> or by phoning 111. For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.
Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable <https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19> should minimise their contact with other people in the household during this period, regardless of whether others have symptoms or not.
Further information is available at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection <http://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection>
How to stop COVID-19 spreading
There are things you can do to help reduce the risk of you and anyone you live with getting ill with COVID-19.
- Wash your hands with soap and water often – for at least 20 seconds
- Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- Wash your hands as soon as you get home
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- Bin used tissues immediately and wash your hands afterwards
- Ventilate indoor spaces as well as possible – let the fresh air in, even if for a short period a day
- Participate in twice weekly LFD testing following national guidelines (recommended for 11 years and over). We encourage you to log your results here: www.gov.uk/log-test-site-covid19-results <http://www.gov.uk/log-test-site-covid19-results>
Recent uncertainty about issues with local testing
Following recent concerns locally, of people receiving negative PCR test results after they have previously tested positive on a Lateral Flow Device, NHS Test and Trace has investigated and PCR test analysis has been suspended at a private laboratory.
NHS Test and Trace is contacting the people that could still be infectious to advise them to take another test. Close contacts and those who are symptomatic will also be advised to take a PCR test in line with normal practice. Anyone with Covid-19 symptoms should book a PCR test. Those with a positive LFD test should get a follow up PCR test to confirm they have Covid-19.The advice, particularly for school aged children, their parents and those working in education, is if you test positive on LFD and subsequently tested negative on PCR, prior to the 13th of October, we strongly recommend you isolate and get a further PCR test to ensure you have not got Covid-19.
Household contacts should isolate if they have tested positive on a LFD, tested positive on a PCR or have symptoms. Household contacts should also isolate and get a PCR test if they have had a positive LFD and negative PCR up to the 13th of October. For further information, please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19 <http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/>