20.4.22 Message from the Director of Education re COVID and other matters
FAO: All Schools / All Phases
I hope you were able to have an enjoyable and restful Easter break. I am writing to provide you with some further updates from the Public Health team regarding COVID guidance and also to update you on the headteacher/principal meetings coming up. COVID of course is still around and there was a considerable spike in cases in schools at the end of last term – with the reduction in testing, it is quite unclear as to what the summer will bring.
i) COVID Guidance – Universal testing for the general public (including education staff as well as pupils) is no longer available. Government guidance on COVID has changed. Please see the full guidance in the link below.
Advice for education staff/ adults -Staff should be advised that if they have symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as COVID-19, and have a high temperature and do not feel well enough to come to work or carry out normal activities, they are strongly advised to stay at home and avoid contact with other people until symptoms improve. If staff have taken a COVID test and the result is positive they should not come into work for 5 days after the day you took your test. Please see the guidance - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/people-with-symptoms-of-a-respiratory-infection-including-covid-19#what-to-do-if-you-have-a-positive-covid-19-test-result . You do not need to report single cases of COVID or other respiratory illness.
The latest advice and guidance can be found at Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance and support - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). We recommend you review this regularly and follow the guidance relevant to your setting.
Advice for children
It is no longer recommended (by the government) that children under 18 are tested for COVID. However, if a child does happen to have a positive test it is recommended that they stay at home for 3 days after the day they took the test (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/people-with-symptoms-of-a-respiratory-infection-including-covid-19#Children )
When to contact the Enfield Council to receive Public Health advice
Please continue to contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are aware of rapidly increasing COVID cases within your school community, severe disease, or a cluster of cases and require support in addressing this.
Please see below the following message from the London Coronavirus Response Cell
Most infectious diseases, including respiratory and COVID-19 in education and childcare settings, can be managed by following the advice provided the updated version of the Health Protection in schools and other childcare settings and ensuring children, young people and staff follow the recommended exclusion periods.
• A death within staff/pupil due to respiratory infections, including COVID-19
• An acute respiratory infection outbreak, including COVID-19 in a SEND school with medically vulnerable children i.e. immunocompromised or school carrying out Aerosol Generating Procedures (AGPs)
• A new or ongoing outbreak in SEND school or boarding school, without medically vulnerable children (but where school have seen a rapid increase in case numbers)
• A SEND school with difficulties in applying the outbreak control measures due to residential setting or increasing complexity e.g. hospital admissions
If a pupil or staff member is hospitalised (due to respiratory infections, including coronavirus (COVID-19), this does not routinely need to be reported, but if you would like advice, including with regards to communications you may also contact LCRC for support.
ii) Updated risk assessment template - with the removal of COVID restrictions, please find attached an updated risk assessment template which includes a focus on ventilation – we hope you find this useful.
iii) Primary Offer Day information – I have attached the outcomes of the primary offer for parents across London and for Enfield which presents a very positive view of parents being able to get a primary school place for their child/children.
iv) White & Green paper Headteacher meeting – this Friday 22nd 9:30am to 11:30am – this is a reminder of this online meeting taking place this Friday. The first part of the meeting on the White Paper will provide an overview of the content and then 4 headteachers have been asked to give their perspective from their schools point of view (a maintained school, a church school, a standalone academy and a MAT). There will be an opportunity for debate and discussion. The second part of the meeting will look at the consultative Green Paper on SEND and again your views will be welcome. I have attached a White Paper summary which I hope is helpful.
v) Headteacher Briefing - 6th May at 1:30 - this is a reminder of this meeting which is taking place just after the local elections. I will be at the count all night so should be able to feedback on the outcome (if I can stay awake of course!!). We will have a short input from public health, an update on PREVENT, a short presentation from the Museum service and feedback from a number of inspections. I will send a fuller agenda closer to the time of the meeting.
vi) Ukraine - At a recent local authority meeting, it appears that we may have at least 90 Ukrainian children coming into our schools over the next month or so and of course this number may rise. They will go through the normal admissions process to gain a school place and there is additional funding promised by the government to schools that take these children – we are awaiting further detail on this and hopefully we will be answer any questions on this (and on Afghani pupils) at the Headteacher briefing.
I hope you and your staff and pupils are looking forward to the summer term although of course this is the term for exams and SATs. Good luck to all those young people who are taking their GCSEs and A-levels as well as vocational qualifications. Spring at my allotment is full of the beauty of tulips and daffodils which are stunning this year and also of planting which I know many schools are engaging in too – as we know this is a very useful destressing activity not just for children. I also find banging a ball around the tennis court also takes mind away from too much stress!! Happy to take on any challengers of course.
Have a great term – Best wishes.
Director of Education
Direct line: 020 83795492