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Changes to COVID-19 Management in Education

November 2021 Update

Schools and families have done an excellent job maintaining education under difficult circumstances brought about by the pandemic. However, South West local authority infection rates are currently very high and under these conditions this rise is triggering thresholds for additional action in schools to limit transmission.

Cases remain high not only in school aged children but increasingly in adults too. 

Public Health Dorset, Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Council and Dorset Council have written to schools with further guidance agreed by Directors of Public Health in the South West, so they can implement further measures as necessary within the Department of Education’s Contingency Framework.

It is recommended that schools bring in precautionary measures and keep them in place for 14 days after schools return from half term. This will help to minimise the spread of infection and maintain consistent, face-to-face education.

The impact of the measures will be reviewed and further advice will be provided to schools on any action to take after the 14 day period. 

Actions to be considered

The actions to be considered include:

  • Continued good infection prevention control (ventilation/touch point cleaning etc)
  • Promotion of vaccination as best protection for all
  • Continued efforts on testing – examples include:
    • Asking anyone who is a close contact in school or a household contact of a confirmed case to take daily LFD tests whilst waiting for PCR result
    • Recommending daily LFD testing for all close contacts identified by NHS Test and Trace while individuals await PCR results.
    • Promotion of twice weekly asymptomatic testing
    • Staying at home if unwell. If negative for COVID, individuals should still wait until 24 hours post fever to go back into a setting. Colds/non COVID symptoms are circulating but in the first instance symptoms should be treated as possible COVID and a test should be sought.
  • Introduction of face coverings in communal areas e.g corridors when movement occurs between lessons (secondary/college settings)
  • Reduced mixing between groups of students as much as possible, including consideration of pausing whole school assemblies for the time being and any other large gatherings.

With infection rates so high across the South West region, it is considered necessary for all schools in our area to explore these additional actions to limit transmission.

Your school or college will write and explain which measures they have chosen to adopt, which will relate to the age of your child, the set up of the school and their capacity to introduce new measures.

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 at any time, please isolate and book a test, even if you have already taken a test.

The main 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 hear more about this advice to schools from Sam Crowe, Director of Public Health (video from 22 October 2021).

Further advice and guidance about COVID-19 at gov.uk/coronavirus.

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