Covid Update

Dear Parent / Carer,

As we’re coming to the end of our first week in school we thought it worthwhile giving a quick Covid update:

Lateral flow test kits

Testing continues to work well for those testing in school and at home and we thank you for your continued support with this.

Kits for those testing at home are being sent home this week.  Could we please remind you that results should be logged with school and the NHS Track and Trace:

If your child tests positive please contact school to advise us of this asap; please do not bring your child into school.

We will continue to facilitate testing in school for those who have requested this.

Close contact of positive cases

Government guidance for educational settings changed significantly over the summer recently removing the requirement for bubbles, social distancing and the use of face coverings. However the Foundation have taken the decision to continue with these measures, for the time being at least, given the increased vulnerability of the pupils we support.  A Foundation wide risk assessment is in place and regularly reviewed along with a localised risk assessment for Percy Hedley School; both of which are available on the school website.

We have also chosen to adopt a more stringent approach to managing close contacts which mirrors the arrangements in our residential settings (covered by  a different set of guidance) and again provides additional control measures to support our most vulnerable students. Whilst we are fully aware Covid 19 restrictions are relaxing in wider society  we feel that this is best practice given we are a setting supporting some very vulnerable children and the fact that  we can see another increase in covid cases across the UK. We will continue to review these extra measures over the coming weeks and adjust if we feel we are able to relax them.

Our measures for close contacts of positive case therefore are as follows:

  • Those who are double vaccinated (must be 14 days past your second vaccination) or children and young people under the age of 18 and six months, are exempt from isolation however the Foundation would also advise:
    • The close contact should seek a PCR test and not come into work/school until a negative PCR result has been received
    • For the 10 days following the last contact with the positive case and on receipt of a negative PCR, an LFT should be taken each morning prior to coming into school
    • If the close contact has had Covid within the last 90 days, they can remain in work / school whilst completing daily LFTs.
    • Close contacts should ensure social distancing as much as is possible and staff will be asked to wear additional PPE
  • Where the close contact is not willing to complete a PCR test a separate individual risk assessment will need to be completed to determine if the individual can return to school.
  • Staff who are not fully vaccinated will need to isolate for the full 10-day period following their last contact with the positive case.

Clinically Extremely Vulnerable category (CEV)

We sent a form earlier this week asking parents to advise us whether their child was in the CEV category.

If your child was classed as CEV you would have previously received a letter from the NHS or from your GP telling you this. You may also have been advised to shield in the past.  Whilst Shielding guidance has been paused we still need to know if your child is classed as CEV or if you feel we should class your child as CEV.

Whether you would like your child to continue to be treated as CEV is your choice. 

It is very important that we know which pupils are CEV as government and local authority guidance clearly states that any close contacts of a positive case MUST NOT work with CEV pupils. We have therefore asked for parents to complete the above form so that we can arrange staffing accordingly on an individual basis when needed.

Please be aware that if you do consider your child to be CEV and we are unable to safely allocate staff who are trained for your child’s specific needs, then we may need to ask that your child remains at home and accesses remote learning during this period.

If you have completed the above form to advise your child is CEV but on the above information no longer wish this to be the case, please recomplete the form asap.

Whilst we appreciate our measures are over and above those contained within the government guidance, we would like to reiterate that DfE guidance is written for mainstream settings.  Please be reassured that at all times we are continuing to liaise with and work closely with our local and National Public Health teams.

Best wishes,

School Senior Leadership Team

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