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The Winchcombe School

Improving As One

Updated COVID-19 Guidance March 2022

The Headteacher has sent the following out to parents ahead of the start of school on Monday 28th February 2022:

 

As you will be aware, this week the Government published their updated guidance around the changes they are making to the law for COVID. Below, I have tried to outline the changes and expected changes for the coming weeks until 1 April. As you can imagine, the guidance is not as clear as we would hope, and there are still many questions, so thank you in advance for your understanding and support – as always.

 

Testing

Primary age children have been recommended to test only when there is a positive case in their class or if parents need or choose to. We have always followed this advice, and while LFD tests are freely available, we will continue to recommend this approach to protect children, staff and families linked to our school. For staff, the guidance changed on Monday afternoon, removing the recommendation for staff to routinely test. However, we will continue to recommend that staff test themselves at least once a week.

 

Isolation

From the 24th February, the law changed and it is now no longer a legal obligation to isolate. I am, however, encouraging everyone to follow the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) advice. As we understand it, the UKHSA advice is still to isolate for five full days if an individual is showing symptoms. They should then have two negative tests before ending isolation after day 5 (testing on day 5 and day 6). There is therefore no change in the advice, just to the law enforcing that advice.

 

For schools, this places COVID on the same level as the current policy in place for when children have other infectious or potentially infectious illnesses – such as chicken pox or vomiting/diarrhoea. These require children to be clear of symptoms for a fixed period of time before returning to school (for example, for vomiting/diarrhoea this is 48hours clear).

 

For the time being, we will not change our existing procedure for children with COVID symptoms (high temperature, new continuous cough, change of taste/smell) or testing positive, to remain at home for five full days after the onset of symptoms and/or the test result. If you wish to return them to school sooner, you will need to get a symptomatic PCR (not Lateral Flow) to confirm it is not COVID. This is to ensure the continued safety of other pupils, staff and their families.

 

If your child has no symptoms, but tests positive on a Lateral Flow test, we recommend they remain off school for five full days as well. Although your child may be symptom free, others might not be so lucky and continued attendance while knowingly positive poses a significant risk to others. Several of our families have household members or children with medical conditions that mean COVID could be life threatening – we would hope families will make the right choice and keep their child off school if they test positive. Thank you.

 

Please do continue to provide us with a copy of the email/text message after reporting test results to confirm the absence reason. We will also continue to provide remote learning for COVID absence periods, as we have done previously.

 

As the guidance is made clearer, we will update our policy to match. 

 

Other illnesses?

As before, children do not learn well if they are unwell in themselves. Please avoid spreading illness to others and keep your child at home if they are unwell. This website may be helpful: Is my child too ill for school? - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

 

What is not changing

We will continue to ventilate all spaces used by children and staff in school. Hygiene measures (hand washing and cleaning routines) will also remain in place. We will continue to monitor and report cases as required, and offer advice for families with positive cases.

 

 

I appreciate that the current changes may bring more questions than answers. Some families will be pleased to see the changes, while others will be extremely worried about what it means for them. As always, we will take a balanced approach that aims to enable children to have all the opportunities we can provide, while keeping them as safe as we can.

 

I am proud of the way our school community, children, staff and parents - but particularly the children – have navigated the difficulties and challenges of the last two years, and I’m confident that whatever comes next, we will continue to work as one community.

 

Thank you for your understanding and support. As ever, if you have any specific concerns, please do get in touch and I will do my best to support you with them.