MHS update 7-6-2021
A ‘bonus’ blog today, but not for the best of reasons. 10 days ago I wrote my ‘end of term’ blog genuinely convinced that we had seen the last of Covid disruption in school. By that point we’d had 11 weeks since a confirmed case leading to groups having to isolate, and I was looking forward to a very positive summer half term where we could make some real progress and then start again strongly in September. But then….
The spike in cases that had been limited to Bolton/Blackburn has moved to Stockport. The rate is rising quickly and all secondary schools I have heard from have reported cases over the half term break, MHS included.
As it stands we have had five positive cases reported in the last week leading to three groups of students isolating, numerous instances of students self-isolating as they are themselves contacts of non-MHS cases and a number of staff are having to do the same. Given we only had 26 cases from September 2020 to March 2021, five in a week over a half term break is a big jump and perhaps a sign that the new variant is very infectious.
I therefore think it is reasonable to state that Covid is back and we may well face disruption again this half term. Of course it may be that now the more vulnerable members of society are protected the Government may look to change what happens when cases are reported in school. But, at the moment there is no change to what we have to do and so we have to be prepared for the worst.
How families and students can keep infections down to a minimum
I cannot stress how important it is that families and students stick to the following rules. It is the only way we can keep people safe and keep disruption to a minimum, especially where the need for contact tracing is avoidable.
1) If a student has any of the three main symptoms (New cough, fever or loss of sense of taste or smell): Inform school on email@example.com immediately, keep the child off school and book a PCR test. Report the result to school on firstname.lastname@example.org and only send the child back to school if the test is negative
2) If anyone in the household has a positive coronavirus test or is waiting for a test result having had symptoms: The household should isolate and students should not come to school. Where a household positive result is received then inform school on email@example.com
3) If a student has a positive PCR result: Inform school on firstname.lastname@example.org immediately, and only send the child back to school when the isolation period is over. Having a follow up negative test of any kind does not cut the period of isolation short.
4) If a student has a positive LFT: Inform school on email@example.com immediately, keep the child off school and book a PCR test. Report the result to school on firstname.lastname@example.org and only send the child back to school if the test is negative. If it is positive, then having a follow up negative test of any kind does not cut the period of isolation short.
5) Students should continue to do LFTs twice a week. These are ONLY for people with no symptoms, if a child has symptoms then see point 1 above. If a child has a positive LFT then see point 4 above
6) If at any point a parent/carer is not sure what to do, please keep the child off school and contact us on email@example.com. This email address is monitored constantly and we will get back to you asap.
I appreciate that the situation is complicated and so I am happy to keep repeating the above advice. The fact is that every Covid case in school disrupts children’s education, puts staff at risk and puts everyone’s families at risk too. Of the 31 cases we have had between September 2020 and now, more than a handful would have had no impact on school life had the 6 steps above been followed. I therefore urge everyone to be familiar with the guidance and above all ask us for advice if you’re not sure.
School actions when cases are reported:
- If a positive PCR test result is reported during the school day, school staff will seek to contact trace immediately. Close contacts will be identified, parents informed and the students asked to leave site and isolate for the given period. School will put in place hybrid lessons via teams as soon as possible, usually within 24 hours of the isolation period starting. Where hybrid lessons are not in place then work will be provided on Satchel One.
- If a positive Lateral Flow Test (LFT) result is reported during the school day, school staff will seek to contact trace immediately. The same process will take place as above, but if the initial person who had the positive LFT then has a negative PCR result the whole group will be able to come back to school immediately. This is because a positive LFT result on its own is not secure enough and needs to be confirmed by a PCR.
- If a positive case is reported outside of school hours then we will most likely have to ask the year group to stay at home the following day whilst contact tracing takes place. This is because we cannot accurately contact trace remotely and so all potential contacts must stay at home while the tracing is complete.