Public Health COVID-19 Updates
Wow, what a busy week it has been for everyone! Schools across the country have been trying their very best to deal with an ever changing world with regards to COVID-19, guidance from the Government, Public Health England whilst keeping up with the education and attainment of our children. It has been complicated...but our school has tried it's best to keep everything as normal as possible.
Following a briefing with Public Health England yesterday, we thought we would update you with some reminders and possibly new information that you might not have had before :
As you know, we have a well established policy to try and contain any outbreaks of illness e.g. stomach upsets, vomiting etc. These have not changed because of COVID-19. If your child has been sick, an upset tummy etc - then they must be kept from school for 48 hours AFTER their last episode. Due to the cleaning regime in the school, the classrooms and all areas will be deep cleaned.
If your child has a cold - i.e. runny nose, sore throat etc - this is unlikely to be COVID-19, as a runny nose and sore throat is not a recognised symptom. You should keep them at home until they feel well enough to deal with a school day. We will monitor them to ensure that they are following the Catch it, Bin it, Kill it system.
Symptoms of norovirus, common colds etc are very different from COVID-19.
Public Health England reiterated the symptoms and need for self isolation in the update.
- a temperature over 37.8c for 48 hours or more. This is more than just feeling warm, flushed or a bit sweaty. It has been compared to being placed in a scalding hot bath and if you are at that temperature, you wouldn't feel well enough to do very much.
- A new and continuous cough - if you have had a cold, you can carry a cough for up to 12 weeks after you've stopped feeling unwell. A COVID-19 cough would start without the symptoms of a runny nose, sore throat etc.
- A loss of taste or smell - this would be very distinctive and doesn't fit with other illnesses such as norovirus.
This has caused some issues in schools, fortunately not here. However, if you are contacted because you may have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, it is important to check that you can say if you:
- have had face to face contact with someone (less than 1 metre away) for 1 minute or less
- spent more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of someone
- travelled in a car or other small vehicle with someone (even on a short journey) or close to them on a plane
Those that have been in close contact will be required to self isolate for 14 days. Public Health England now state that you SHOULDN'T access a test if you are a close contact as the test will be inaccurate, e.g. you could be incubating the virus - you just need to self isolate for 14 days.
If you display symptoms, then you should then seek a test.
We have been told that testing centres will be re-opening shortly within SE London but you can request a home testing kit by going on line. This is far quicker than attempting the published numbers as you will be on hold for a VERY long time.
If you are unsure, please contact us and we will do our best to support.
As a school, we have been given a very small supply of tests to use in emergencies - e.g. if someone suddenly displays symptoms but these are limited and schools have been given strict guidance on how we are to use them.
If we have 2 positive cases of COVID-19 within the building, Public Health England and the local boards will instruct the school on the next steps. This could be to close the class, instigate test and trace etc. We have to follow their guidance.
If we had to send home groups of pupils, then online learning would immediately start and their education would continue. We have to also provide a risk assessment for them - but this will be drawn up with advice from Public Health England and the school team.
As you know, we have our schools cleaned throughout the day. Staff and pupils are following hygiene protocols well and staff are following the 1.5m/2m distance rule with each other. We have previously issued guidance on face coverings and that still stands. If pupils / staff wish to wear them in corridors or on the playground, that is fine. We are following the guidance with regards to them in class - where, due to the distancing we do not have to wear them at present.
We are doing our very best to ensure that we can keep everything as normal as possible, but that does require all of us - parents, pupils and staff, working together to protect each other.
Have a good weekend and keep safe!Meic and the Imperium Team