The Local Authority recently asked all County Durham schools to consider introducing additional measures in response to an increase in COVID-19 cases across the county and a rise in the rates in school-age children. It was clearly stated that the measures were not compulsory and it was recognised that headteachers were best placed to know what may work in their individual settings. Having carefully reviewed the information with governors and staff, it was decided that we would not make any immediate changes to our current procedures and continue to monitor the situation both locally and in school.
The most recent figures (https://www.durhaminsight.info/covid-19/ published 16.11.21) show a decrease in COVID-19 cases across the county as a whole and also a drop in the rates for school-age children. Therefore, as the situation stands at the moment, we are not intending to reintroduce the measures which we had in place during the previous academic year such as staggered starts and finishes, staggered playtimes and lunchtimes or class bubbles. We feel that it is vital to try to keep the children’s experience in school as ‘normal’ as possible for as long as we can. Close attention will continue to be given to ventilation, cleaning and respiratory and hand hygiene.
Currently, we are still planning to attend the pantomime at the Gala Theatre on Wednesday 15 December. If this event has to be cancelled, for any reason, a full refund will be provided.
However, in the interests of everyone’s safety, we will continue to take a cautious approach in relation to events for the wider school community. Therefore, the forthcoming parent-teacher meetings will be held via telephone call rather than in person. Unfortunately, it also means that we will be unable to host our normal Christmas performances in school again this year. Nevertheless, we are still planning for the children to take part in an infant nativity and a junior show. Just like last year, these performances will be recorded and the resulting videos will be posted on our website during the last week of term.
Other measures suggested by the Local Authority which we will be promoting are as follows:
- PCR testing for all adults and pupils if they are a close contact of a positive case in their household*.
- Daily LFT testing at home for 7 days for any adult or pupil in key stage 2 (year 3) or above who is a household contact of a positive case and is exempt from isolation and continues to attend school. The testing of primary age pupils is at parental discretion. Testing should start from the day the household member has symptoms or if they don’t have symptoms from when they tested positive*.
*Note: People who have tested positive with a PCR test within the last 90 days should not be encouraged to test unless they develop new symptoms.
Please be reassured that, for most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.
LFD Testing advice
We would recommend you have a supply of LFD testing kits at home in the event you are requested to use them. You can order home testing kits to be delivered to your home here www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests
Or you can collect LFD kits at Community Collect sites across the County. To find your nearest collection point please enter your post code here maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk
If you pick up tests from a pharmacy, you may be asked for a ‘collect code’ this helps the NHS match your details to the tests. To get a ‘collect code’ please visit test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/collect-lateral-flow-kits
Please register the result of your home test at www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result
What to do if your child develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or tests positive for COVID-19
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are recent onset of:
- new continuous cough and/or
- high temperature and/or
- a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)
If your child does develop symptoms, they should get a PCR test and remain at home at least until the result is known. Book a free PCR test at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test . If positive, your child should isolate for 10 full days after their symptoms appeared.
If you are concerned about your child’s symptoms, you can seek advice from NHS 111 at 111.nhs.uk/ or by phoning 111.
If your child has a positive test result but does not have symptoms they should stay at home and self-isolate for 10 full days from the date the positive test was taken. This isolation period will be extended if they go on to develop symptoms by counting 10 full days from the day following their symptom onset.
You must always register the result of your home test at www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result
Help, support, and further information.
To help you comply with the requirement to self-isolate, the County Durham Together Community Hub can provide access to essential supplies, financial support and emotional support as well as other services. Please visit www.durham.gov.uk/covid19help or call the Community Hub on 03000 260260 for further details.
There is also support available the coronavirus section via durhamlocate.org.uk
Finally, we would like to thank you for everything you’ve done to keep your family and community safe, and for your patience in continuing to support our school during this challenging time.
Take care and stay safe.
Mr W. Kirtley (Headteacher)