I just wanted to send out a COVID update from our school point of view, as I know we have had conversations, today, with families regarding testing, isolating and protocols moving forwards. It is very difficult for people to understand at the moment – when we see crowds for football, horse racing and large social gatherings – but we are seeing an increase in the number of positive cases reported (this is straight from Somerset Public Health England) . We are also seeing an increase in the number of cases within school settings (only last week, there were 3 local primary schools closing bubbles due to cases) and I am sure you will agree we want to do everything we can to minimise the disruption to our children’s education. The very best way we can do that is by doing everything we can to prevent the infection from coming into our setting in the first place.
In terms of testing, the current advice remains:
1. Twice weekly LFD testing for parents/households and staff – this is asymptomatic testing. LFD should NOT be routinely done on primary aged pupils and should also not be used on anyone with the symptoms of COVID. a. If positive, seek a PCR and isolate while waiting for results b. If positive – we would take precautionary approach and isolate close contacts while waiting for result (again, PHE advice, not our school decision)
2. PCR testing for anyone with symptoms of COVID – isolate (with household) while waiting for the test result. The current symptoms are a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature) A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual) A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
3. There is new guidance now that people identified as close contacts of a confirmed case should also get a PCR test – this is for ‘case finding’.
The key message is that COVID has not gone away and that we all have a role to play in ensuring children can continue to attend school as we would want them to. We are simply asking you to keep working with us, keep the communication we have built over this time and trust that we are making decisions based on our latest guidance, rules and protocols that exist, still, in schools. We would never, ever send your child home without legitimate reason and we know you all respect our decisions, even when it causes you disruption. We try and take a common-sense approach to everything we do, and always within the guidelines and staff are maintaining their own disciplined approach to personal testing at home, twice weekly, in order to protect our Thurlbear family. Let’s keep going together.