School and childcare updates: Coronavirus
School and childcare updates: Coronavirus
Updated – 19 July 2021
Roadmap changes from 19 July
From 19 July national Covid restrictions have been eased under step 4 of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown.
This means a number of changes for schools, which are explained here.
It is important to remember that your child should not attend school if they are showing Covid symptoms.
Contact tracing and isolation
Under new guidance, schools are no longer responsible for identifying and contacting pupils who have been in close contact with someone in school who has tested positive for Covid.
This means that if your child is required to isolate you will notified by either the national NHS Track and Trace team or a local team working on behalf of the NHS rather than by the school.
From 16 August, anyone under the age of 18, or adults who are double vaccinated, will not be required to isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive case. They will however be advised to take a PCR test and, if that is positive, they and their household must follow the public health guidance.
The new guidance allows schools to keep certain Covid control measures – such as bubbles and staggered start and finish times – in place for the remainder of the summer term.
Our advice to schools is to keep those measures in place during the final week of term.
We know that this may mean disappointment due to some changes to end of term and Year Six leavers’ activities.
But with high case rates in the city it is important that schools continue to take these precautionary measures to reduce the risk of the virus spreading and minimise potential holiday disruption.
We hope that by keeping these control measures in place it will help to protect pupils, staff and their families and avoid people being ill or having to isolate in the holidays.
Schools have the full support of the council, Public Health and trade unions in keeping these measures in place for the last week of term.
If your child is in secondary school the existing arrangements for face coverings in school will continue until the end of the summer term.
In line with the government recommendation, students are also asked to continue to wear a face covering while travelling on school and public transport.
Covid symptoms, tests and self-isolation – important information for parents and carers
As we move towards the relaxation of national Covid restrictions it remains vitally important that we all continue to follow the guidelines that are there to keep everyone safe and well.
Following the basic Hands, Face, Space guidance remains one of the most effective ways of reducing the spread of the virus and we’re urging everyone not to become complacent in this.
If you’re a parent or carer with children at school, there are a number of additional key points you need to be aware of, particularly in relation to testing, self-isolation and when you need to keep your children off school.
There are two types of test for Covid-19. The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test is for people who have symptoms – a high temperature, a new and continuous cough or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste.
Those identified as a close contact of a positive case are also advised to take a PCR test.
The Lateral Flow Device test (LFD) is for people who do not have symptoms. One in three people who have Covid-19 do not have any symptoms and LFD testing helps to avoid people without symptoms from unknowingly passing the virus on to others.
If your child is at secondary school, it is likely that they will be taking regular Lateral Flow Device tests. This is also the same type of test that parents and carers with school aged children can use at home. Please note however, that LFD tests should not be used by children at primary school or nursery school.
Key points to remember in relation to testing, self-isolation and school attendance are:
- You and the people you live with must self-isolate immediately if you have a positive Covid test result from either a PCR or an LFD test. This mean you must not leave your home or your garden for any reason. If you received a positive LFD test result you must get a PCR test to confirm the result. Only if you have a negative PCR test within two days can you leave self-isolation.
- The self-isolation period for anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19 is at least 10 full days. You will be advised of the actual dates by NHS Test and Trace. See our FAQ's for more information on self-isolating.
- If you or your child has had a positive result from an LFD test then you must arrange a PCR test to confirm the result. To book a PCR test go to https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or telephone 119 (7am – 11pm).
- If your child has been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 they must self-isolate for 10 full days – even if they have had a negative test result. This is because it can take 10 days for Covid to develop. You are also advised to arrange a PCR test before the end of the isolation period. If negative, they can return to school only when they have completed the full 10 day period of isolation. NHS Test and Trace will advise you of the date they are able to return. The rest of the household does not need to self-isolate unless they become ill or someone in the home tests positive.
- Do not send your child to school if they are displaying any symptoms of Covid-19 or if they feel unwell, even if they have had a negative test result.
- If you or your child have one of the three main Covid-19 symptoms you should arrange a PCR test and everyone in the household must self-isolate. You should not use an LFD test if you have symptoms.
- If you need support with self-isolation Newcastle City Council’s Welfare and Wellbeing Team may be able to help you. Visit www.newcastle.gov.uk/welfare or call 0800 170 7001 or 0191 277 8000 (8am-8pm Monday to Friday, 9am-3pm Saturday).
- If you or your child is required to self-isolate, you may be entitled to a Test and Trace Support Payment. For more details see https://www.newcastle.gov.uk/services/public-health-wellbeing-and-leisure/public-health-services/coronavirus-covid-19-6.
- Finally – always follow the Hands, Face, Space rules and help keep everyone safe.
We strongly encourage those eligible to take up the offer of the COVID-19 vaccine when invited by the NHS to do so. The vaccines are safe and effective and provide the best protection against COVID-19. More information can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/
Additional information on the pop up vaccination Centre, drop in vaccine sessions and vaccine bus locations can be found at http://www.newcastle.gov.uk/covidvaccine
Mental Health Resources and Information for Staff, Parents and Pupils
It is vital that we all look after our mental health and wellbeing. Covid has made this more important than ever. Having good mental health helps us relax more, achieve more and enjoy our lives more. There is lots of support to help you and your children with their mental health.
For information, tips and advice visit Every Mind Matters at www.nhs.uk/every-mind-matters
Tyneside and Northumberland Mind offer support to those struggling with their mental health. www.tynesidemind.org.uk or call 0191 477 45 45, option 2 (Mon-Fri 9am – 4pm).
Kooth www.kooth.com is a free, safe, anonymous online support service for young people aged 11-18years. They can chat online to counsellors, weekdays from midday until 10pm and weekends 6pm-10pm
Qwell www.qwell.io is free, safe, anonymous online support service for adults aged 26 and over. Online counselling is available from midday to 10pm weekdays and from 6pm to 10pm weekends. People can drop in for one-to-one instant text-based chats or book a session in advance.
Anna Fraud Foundation - www.mentallyhealthyschools.org.uk
Anxious Minds - www.anxiousminds.co.uk provides free mental health and wellbeing su
Young Minds youngminds.org.uk/about-us provides online support for children and young people’s mental health. Crisis Messenger gives 24/7 text support for young people experiencing a mental health crisis. Texts are free to most mobile providers: Text YM to 85258, open 24/7
There is a free parent’s helpline 0808 802 5544 (Mon-Friday 9.30am – 4pm)
Child line www.childline.org.uk A place a child or young person can talk about something they are worried about. This can be done online or by phone 08001111.