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Suspension of Confirmatory PCRs - January 2022

From 11th January in England, people who receive positive lateral flow device (LFD) test results for coronavirus (COVID-19) will be required to self-isolate immediately and won’t be required to take a confirmatory PCR test. This is a temporary measure while COVID-19 rates remain high across the UK. Whilst levels of COVID-19 are high, the vast majority of people with positive LFD results can be confident that they have COVID-19.

Lateral flow tests are taken by people who do not have COVID-19 symptoms. Anyone who develops 1 of the 3 main COVID-19 symptoms should stay at home and self-isolate and take a PCR test. They must self-isolate if they get a positive test result, even if they have had a recent negative lateral flow test – these rules have not changed.

Start of Term - January 2022

5th January 2022

Dear Parent/Carer,

Happy New Year

In preparation for the new term, the Department for Education has emailed Head teachers with an update which I am sharing below.

Current Practice

The majority of guidelines issued do not apply to primary-aged pupils and as such, there are no significant changes to our practice.   We have an outbreak management plan which has been shared with parents and can be found on the school website, and in the event of an outbreak we will implement different aspects from this plan.

I would request that parents / carers and children do not enter the school grounds before 8:45am (unless attending breakfast club).  If your child is a lone walker please make sure they are leaving home at an appropriate time and not arriving at school before this time.  This will mean pupils will be able to go straight into class with no lingering on the school site.

Positive Cases and Isolation

In December, changes came into force relating to the isolation period for confirmed positive Covid cases. The previous ten-day period of isolation has now been reduced to seven days, providing they can return a negative lateral flow test result on day six and day seven. The first test must be taken no earlier than day six and the two tests must be taken 24 hours apart.  Anyone who is unable to carry out a lateral flow test should complete the full ten-day isolation period. 

We will continue to log positive cases in school and use the information provided by you to track absence and also update the local authority, when appropriate. For this reason, please let the school office know if your child is not going to be in school and also the reason for the absence. The office team will be following up any unexplained absences on a regular basis, so providing full information on symptoms helps reduce the number of phone calls being made each day.

Children (and fully vaccinated adults) who have been identified as a close contact of a positive case, are asked to test daily (LFTs) rather than isolate, and as long as they deliver negative results, they should continue to attend school. If they return a positive result or have symptoms, they should isolate and request a PCR test. Depending on the outcome they can follow the timings for isolation as above.

Remote Provision

This hasn’t changed significantly. Pupils who are not attending school for Covid reasons and who are well enough, will be able to access remote provision via TEAMS. Your child’s teacher will make contact to make sure you have everything needed for the time they are off.  If a child is off school because they are generally unwell, then this provision should not be accessed. As soon as they are well enough, they should return to school.

The Government has made it possible in this latest set of guidance to switch to remote provision for a class or group of pupils should a school not be able to adequately (and safely) staff the teaching in school. This would be for as short a period as possible and of course, will very much be a last resort.  We hope that if families adhere carefully to the above advice then it will avoid staff testing positive, as the new variant seems very contagious therefore can impact on staffing levels.

Please see the below flowchart which the Government have issued which helps explain the rules around self-isolation.

I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow.

Yours sincerely,

Emma Fordham
Head Teacher

New rules on self-isolation - December 2021

Dear Parents and Carers,

Following the government’s announcement regarding Plan B, I am writing to update you on the changes that will impact us. Today will see another change moving forward under the Government’s Plan B. From today, the rules around self-isolation will change for those people who have been in contact with someone that has tested positive with COVID-19.

The press release states:

From Tuesday 14 December, people who are fully vaccinated and identified as a contact of someone with COVID-19 – whether Omicron or not – should take an NHS rapid lateral flow test every day for 7 days to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

People will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace by phone, email or text or they will receive a notification from the NHS COVID-19 app to tell them they are a contact of someone who tested positive and what action they need to take.

They will be advised to get a box of 7 lateral flow tests free of charge from NHS Test and Trace either through pharmacies or home delivery by ordering online. People are encouraged to use the tests they already have at home before ordering more. People should take these tests from the day they are notified as being a contact and report their results to NHS Test and Trace on GOV.UK or by calling 119.

Daily rapid testing applies to all contacts who are:

  • fully vaccinated adults – people who have had 2 (or 3) jabs
  • all children aged 5 to 18 years and 6 months, regardless of their vaccination status (this is a change from previous guidance)
  • people who can prove they are unable to be vaccinated for clinical reasons
  • people taking part, or have taken part, in an approved clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine

Under 5s are exempt from self-isolation and do not need to take part in daily rapid lateral flow testing.

It would be advised (if you have them) to use the newer, nasal only, testing kits with children, rather than the older version which requires a throat and nose swab which could be used for adults in the household.

If you, or your child, have a positive lateral flow test, then you should arrange a PCR test and isolate until the results come through. If they are negative, you should continue to do a daily lateral flow test and you can move about as usual. If it a positive result, you should isolate for ten days.

Track and trace will contact you and let you know if you need to self-isolate. However, it is very important to let us know of any positive LFT or PCR tests so we can monitor numbers across the school and inform any extremely vulnerable pupils and staff that they may be close contacts. If numbers increase, we will need to activate our ‘Outbreak Management Plan’ (below) – we will let you know what this means for everyone should this be put into place.

You can pass on this information by calling the office during school hours or by emailing if it is after or before school.

Many thanks for your support and understanding.

Emma Fordham

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January 2022

Summary of Almond Hill's outbreak contingency plan: