Date: 23 June 2021
Covid-19 update for parents and carers with children in education
You will be aware that Step 4 of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown has been delayed and England remains in Step 3 restrictions. This is because of rising numbers of Covid-19 cases, including in schools in South Gloucestershire, and concern about how quickly the now dominant Delta variant is spreading. We are expected to move to Step 4 from 19 July, with a review due two weeks before.
We believe this delay is sensible, to give the NHS more time to vaccinate most of the adult population and are pleased that anyone over the age of 18 is now invited to book their first dose of the vaccine.
The delay means we must all continue to follow the Step 3 restrictions, which includes the rule of six indoors and a limit of 30 people meeting outside. There are also practical things we can all do to help us reach Step 4 as soon as it is safe to do so and we are writing to you now to remind you of the simple but vital actions we all need to continue to take.
- Hands, Face, Space, Fresh Air
- Wash your hands regularly, encourage your child to wash theirs especially before and after school.
- Wear face coverings (unless exempt) in all public indoor settings and at school pick up and drop off. If necessary and approved by the director of public health, secondary schools experiencing an outbreak may reinstate the wearing of face coverings by students at secondary school or college in communal areas. When this is the case please encourage and support your child to do so.
- Keep making space for other people in shops, venues and public places as well as when taking your child to or from school.
- Meet others outside when possible. Covid particles disperse in fresh air making it harder for the virus to spread.
- Regular rapid (lateral flow) testing
- Regular rapid tests for parents and carers: Everyone over the age of 16 without symptoms is asked to continue taking two rapid Covid-19 tests a week. This is especially important for parents and carers with children at school. Tests are free and show results in 30 minutes. There are many ways to get test kits – collect them from most libraries in South Gloucestershire, many pharmacies, our mobile test van or our test site. Visit www.southglos.gov.uk/testing for all the details. You can also order them to be sent to your home via www.gov.uk/coronavirus
- Regular rapid tests for secondary and college students: If your child is at secondary school or college they will be given home test kits by their school or college. It is vital they continue testing regularly and report all results, whether positive or negative, to help public health experts get a clear picture of cases and any potential outbreaks. Please help by encouraging your child to take their tests twice a week.
- Pre-school children and primary aged pupils: Children at primary or a nursery setting should not be tested with rapid tests. Children of this age should only be tested for Covid-19 if they have symptoms or are identified as a close contact of a positive case using a standard (PCR) test.
- Standard (PCR) testing
- If your child has symptoms: Even if a rapid test is negative, your child should remain at home isolating and take a standard test that is laboratory tested (not a home test). This is the type of test you need to book via www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.
- If your child is identified as a close contact: Through NHS Test and Trace and our own local Contact Tracing team, we will identify close contacts of people who test positive for Covid-19. This is so we can find more cases, including of people without any symptoms and prompt them to isolate and book a standard (PCR) test.
- If my child takes a test as a close contact and is negative, can they go back to school? No, a negative test result carried out in a period of isolation does not release a close contact from isolation and they must complete their isolation period. This is because the test is only valid at that moment in time and the virus could still be infectious.
- What is a close contact? See our guide to when someone will be identified as a close contact www.southglos.gov.uk/who-is-a-close-contact
The vaccination programme is our best route out of the pandemic and offers the best way to protect yourself and others. Anyone who gets Covid-19 can become seriously ill or suffer long- term effects but research shows vaccines significantly reduce your risk of serious illness or death, reduce your risk of getting symptoms and will help to reduce your risk of catching and spreading the virus. Vaccines are now available to anyone aged 18 and over in England, please book yours if you haven’t already and encourage anyone eligible in your household, including teenagers aged 18 and over, to do the same. It is also important to have both doses as you will be better protected. Book now at www.nhs.uk
There is a chance you might still get or spread Covid-19 even if you have had a vaccine, so it's important to continue to follow all social distancing guidance.
Please be assured that your child’s setting has been advised and updated with all the latest government guidance for educational settings and will continue to work hard to keep your child safe. Our education and public health teams are providing support and guidance and where required outbreak control team meetings are held to ensure a timely and proportionate response in line with national guidance for any outbreaks or spikes in cases within settings.
Finally, we would like to say thank you for your continued support and all your efforts to keep your child and family safe, your child’s school and your wider community. We know this remains a challenging time but we are on the right track – let’s keep going.
Sara Blackmore, Director of Public Health
Chris Sivers, Director for Children , Adults and Health
COVID-19 testing over May half-term
As lockdown eases, taking a rapid COVID-19 test twice a week, even if you do not have symptoms, will help us stay ahead of the spread of the virus, particularly as new strains appear. Around 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 have no symptoms and are spreading the virus without knowing. This includes those who have had their vaccine.
We want to thank you for your continued support in testing. Over 40 million tests with staff and students have now been conducted as part of the education testing programme.
Please continue to encourage your staff and secondary school or college students to test twice-weekly over half-term and test before returning to school or college after the holiday. The result of a rapid test could be positive, negative or even void. But whatever it is, it should be reported straight away, every time. Recording all test results helps scientists stay ahead of the virus by spotting new outbreaks quickly and advising how to respond.
Reporting results is easy. Go to report a COVID-19 lateral flow test result or call 119 free from a mobile or landline. Lines are open every day, 7am to 11pm. Support is offered in 200 languages as well as British Sign Language and Live Video Assistant
Winter Grant Scheme
The Winter Grant scheme aims to help meet immediate needs and really support those families who are struggling to afford food and utility bills (heating, cooking, lighting) and water for household purposes (including drinking, washing, cooking, central heating, sewerage and sanitary purposes), or other related essentials, such as blankets and which may include white goods.
Parents and Carers contact CAB on 01454 334961 or the Council on 0800 953 7778 Quoting Winter Grant funding.
Test and Trace Support Payment
Parents and carers of children who have been advised to self-isolate by the school or by NHS Test and Trace are now able to apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment for a discretionary payment of £500, if they meet the eligibility criteria. The extension of theTest and Trace Support Payment scheme, ensures that parents receive the financial support they need if they are unable to attend work due to childcare responsibilities.
Lateral Flow Device (LFD)
Rapid home testing for pupils
All pupils at Culverhill School will be able to participate in a simple and quick LFD test for Covid-19 at home from Sunday 14th March, without the need for a laboratory. Testing is voluntary and pupils are strongly encouraged to participate to prevent the virus being spread to others.
This asymptomatic testing programme does not replace current guidance for those with symptoms or those identified as a close contact of a positive case. Anyone with symptoms, whether they are involved in this testing programme or not, should book a free NHS test and follow government self-isolation guidance until the results of their test are known. Testing also does not replace basic preventative measures such as regular handwashing, PPE and social distancing.
Pupils will need to carry out and complete twice weekly testing at home as follows:
- Sunday evening or first thing on Monday before 7am,
- Wednesday evening or first thing on Thursday before 7am.
The test should take no longer than 5 minutes to undertake, with a 30-minute wait for results.
Please read more information below about the testing process, and if you would like your child to participate in the home testing, and have a LFD testing pack, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Upon receipt of an email from a parent/carer requesting their child’s participation in home testing, a LDF test pack will be allocated to the pupil to take home if they are currently in school, or the test pack can be collected from the school office by the parent/carer. The individual LFD lot number will be recorded in a school log against the pupil’s name.
- The test will come in packs of 7 and should be enough for 3 - 4 weeks, when the school will receive more for distribution.
- Tests are only for the use of the pupils assigned the kits, they should not be taken by anyone else.
Families and households with primary school, secondary school or college-age children, including childcare and support bubbles, are encouraged to test themselves twice every week from home. Children of primary school age (and below) without symptoms are not being asked to take a test.
Testing for families and childcare bubbles of students, pupils and staff is now available via home test kits for collection at testing sites Covid Test Finder (test and trace) or through an online ordering service. More information on ordering home test kits can be found here
Schools can only give test packs for use by pupils, and cannot give packs for use by parents, carers or household members.
- Please follow this link to a step by step guide to Covid-19 self-testing. We have been advised that the instructions in the box are incorrect, but the most up to date instructions will come in a separate document (V1.2.3) issued with the test kit.
- If a test is void, you will need to take another test. If you receive two void tests in a row, you should book a Free NHS Test.
- It is a requirement for parents/carers to report their child’s test result, whether positive, negative or void, to both:
- NHS Test and Trace online here. This is a statutory requirement
- School via email by 7am on Mondays and Thursdays at email@example.com
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for positive home lateral flow device (LFD) tests
From 31st March, NHS Test and Trace is reintroducing confirmatory PCR testing for all staff, and pupils who get a positive LFD test at home. The PCR test should be booked immediately either online or by calling 119 and should be undertaken within 2 days.
Staff and pupils who had a positive LFD test result, and their close contacts and other members of their household, should self-isolate immediately in line with NHS Test and Trace guidance and while awaiting the PCR result. If the PCR test is negative, it overrides the LFD test and the staff member or pupil can return to school, and their close contacts can end their self-isolation.
Parents/carers must read and understand the School Privacy notice to understand data protection for testing, and the questions and answers sheet.
- The school has been in touch with health care colleagues who will be supporting the school in signposting resources for pupils to help with understanding the process, and we will share these links as soon as available.