19 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:
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 below a letter with information regarding the flu vaccination.
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 13th and Friday 19th November 5 students have had to isolate after a positive test in that period. One staff member has tested positive in that period too. 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. 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.