12 November 2021

Vaccination & Covid-19 Update

How to book a vaccination directly now, if that decision is right for your family.

We are aware that a large number of families have already booked vaccinations via the National booking system. We would encourage you to continue doing so, as it means that vaccinations can be accessed more quickly if you feel that is the right decision for your family. It also means that you can be with your child directly to offer support and can access a vaccination after school or at the weekend, minimising disruption to their education. We would strongly recommend making an appointment for your child directly via the following link:

Book a Covid Vaccination

When are vaccinations scheduled in school?

Vaccinations will take place in school on for one day only on Monday 15th November. The deadline for consent has now passed and we are working with the NHS Immunisation Team to complete our planning. To reiterate, only those with parental consent will receive a vaccine and the teaching day will be completely normal for all other students. The process will be supervised closely by the school’s leadership team.  Please direct any questions about vaccinations to NHS Harrogate and District Trust.

When is the separate flu vaccination scheduled in school?

Flu vaccinations are also being offered in school on Thursday 9th December. The last date for parents to consent is 6th December 2021 at midnight. Please find attached a letter with information regarding the flu vaccination.

Flu Vaccination December 2021

What guidance is being offered by the Local Authority regarding Covid-19?

Jim Murray, Durham’s Head of Education & Skills, and Amanda Healy, Director of Public Health, have written to schools this week recommending a wide range of controls to be introduced in schools if case numbers rise and local Public Health teams offer specialist advice about the need to reintroduce a sliding scale of controls. That is still not currently deemed necessary at Durham Johnston, with cases at Durham Johnston have remained low this week. Between Saturday 6th and Friday 12th November 5 students have had to isolate after a positive test in that period. There have been no positive tests amongst staff members for 4 weeks. It is very important to note that, based upon these case numbers, these measures are not currently deemed necessary at Durham Johnston, and that is true of many other County Durham secondary schools. However, if numbers were to rise, we would seek guidance directly from the Local Authority’s Public Health Team, the specialists best placed to advise schools on matters of public health. Their advice would lead the school to introduce some or all of the measures outlined in the letter if and when necessary. To reiterate, at present none of those measures are deemed necessary and we will continue to monitor the situation in school very carefully, seeking public health advice immediately if we are concerned that a potential outbreak may have occurred. This is in line with their guidance and is the approach being taken by all schools in County Durham. Jim Murray has also noted that, “The measures are not compulsory, and we recognise that headteachers will be best placed to know what may work in their individual settings.” Whilst this is accurate in terms of education and the wellbeing of staff and students, it is important to note that we are not public health specialists and will always seek guidance from those with responsibility for public health decisions in County Durham, as I am sure you would expect us to do.

Are we reintroducing face coverings?

We do not feel that it is necessary to do so based upon current cases at the school. Our advice remains the same from September 2021 onwards. That advice on face coverings states:

Face coverings are no longer mandatory in school settings, but we intend to maintain the position that we have outlined in all communication since March 2021. Wearing a face covering is a personal choice and we will support any students who choose to do so. Our role is to support all families so that they can make choices that are appropriate for their circumstances. Therefore, we support those students who would like to continue wearing face coverings as a personal choice and, equally, all those who choose not to do so. The Department for Education recommendation is now removed, but we will support the personal choices that families and students make. We will continue to reiterate that no member of our school community has the right to question the personal decision made by another student on this subject. Students have referenced peer pressure with regard to face coverings, so please make clear at home too that whilst we are no longer recommending that face coverings are worn in the classroom, it is absolutely fine to continue doing so if that is their personal choice. Some teachers may well make that personal choice too. It would be sensible for students to have a face covering available in their school bag if they would like to wear one in communal space or corridors around the school. This is in line with Department for Education guidance but is not compulsory.   

In summary, we are not advising students to wear masks but it is absolutely fine to do so. This might change if case numbers rise and we are instructed to do so by public health officials.