9 July 2021
UPDATE REGARDING LATERAL FLOW TESTING, COVID-19 & THE FINAL WEEK OF TERM
Dear Parents and Carers,
Durham County Council have used a consistent message since May, with all of their posters encouraging people not to take risks and to ‘Save Our Summer.’ That message has never been more important as we enter the last week of the school term. If there are positive cases linked to the school from this point on, students, families and staff members may have to self-isolate in the summer holiday. We are very aware that many parents and carers have booked holidays for the first week of summer. Many of those holidays will probably come at significant expense. Since September 2020, the school has had to follow Public Health guidance on identifying close contacts and asking students to self-isolate. Based on local case numbers there is a very real possibility that we will have to call families with that unwanted news next week. Therefore, our consistent advice about testing and not attending school if unwell is more important than ever. I would request that all parents, carers and students act upon the following very clear guidance:
- Testing & Symptomatic Children - If your child is symptomatic over the weekend, complete a lateral flow test and book a PCR test immediately. Do not return to school until you have received the result of a PCR test. If positive, you will be told how long your period of isolation lasts. If the PCR result is negative, you can return to school.
- Be Cautious Regarding Illness - Do not send your child to school if they are unwell. If you need to self-isolate the school will support your decision to do so. This will be recorded as isolation on your child’s record and does not count towards absence totals.
- Testing at the Appropriate Times - If your child is not symptomatic you should complete a lateral flow test after 4.00 p.m. on Sunday or on Monday morning before your child attends school. If the result is negative, they should come into school. If positive, please book a PCR test immediately and inform the school.
- Notice to Self-Isolate – Students under the age of 16 should not have the NHS App on their phones. However, if contacted by Track and Trace and guided to self-isolate students should always act upon that advice.
There has been constant media coverage of ‘freedom’ day, green lists for holiday destinations, the removal of Covid restrictions and the need to self-isolate. For many people this may well have given the impression that it is now possible to socialise more freely and that there is no issue within schools. We have been very fortunate to this point that our case numbers have been low in comparison to the difficulties that other local schools are experiencing, but as noted on several occasions, we are not immune to the same thing happening at Durham Johnston and the national picture regarding transmission and self-isolation amongst British schoolchildren is genuinely worrying.
We have had 6 cases linked to the school this week, with 3 of those leading to other children being identified as close contacts. It is very likely that we will have other cases as there are local spikes in schools linked to England’s games to this point in the European Championships. Please follow the above advice to help us minimise the impact on the wider community and your families as we prepare for the summer break. Based upon the experience in Durham schools since late June, it is very important that parents and carers exercise real caution.