Across our Foundation Stage, Year 3 and Year 6 classes we now have 9 confirmed cases of COVID. The government have decided that “Close contacts in schools are now identified by NHS Test and Trace and education
settings will no longer be expected to undertake contact tracing.” (DfE Operational guidance) This document goes on to say:
“From 14 December 2021, all children and young people aged between 5 and 18 years and 6 months identified as a contact of someone with COVID-19 are strongly advised to take a LFD test every day for 7 days and continue
to attend their setting as normal, unless they have a positive test result. Children under 5 years who are identified as close contacts are exempt from self isolation and do not need to take part in daily testing of close contacts. They are advised to take a PCR test if the positive case is in their household.”
As Head, I do not know of any Thurlbear pupil/pupil family who has been contacted via Track and Trace as a close contact in school because, I presume, pupils and parents won’t know too much about who-sat-where and they don’t speak to the teachers! I also know of many families who are struggling, like the rest of the country, to get hold of LFD testing kits. If you think your child is a close contact but has not been contacted directly by NHS Test and Trace, then we would advise they undertake daily LFD tests for a period of 7 days. This advice applies to children aged 5 and over. Whilst daily testing for 7 days is your choice, it is strongly encouraged as it helps to reduce the spread of COVID-19
My advice remains the same: for the protection of our pupils, staff and ANY VULNERABLE FAMILY MEMBERS YOU MAY HAVE AT HOME, please try and maintain testing whilst we still experience cases in school. I fully appreciate the media picture of falling cases and ‘an end to COVID’, but we are still seeing its effects, right now, and need your support. It is a subject that might well divide lots of people, but we are untied by our common goal of sustaining the best of protection for vulnerable families, of which we have a number.
The official guidance says: “
There is no need for primary age pupils (those in year 6 and below) to regularly test, unless they have been identified as a contact for someone who has tested positive forCovid-19 and therefore advised to take lateral flow tests every day for 7 days.” Therefore, families in Foundation Stage, Year 3 and Year 6, please monitor your children closely and, if you have the resources, test regularly.
I must thank you all for your continued support, swift communication and understanding as we move forwards. Schools are still waiting for the latest “final contingency framework” to be published.