All schools in Bury are being urged to take further action to reduce the transmission of Covid-19 among students and staff.
There has been a number of outbreaks in both secondary and primary schools, leading to a considerable number of children and teachers being required to isolate.
Education and public health leaders are today writing to parents asking secondary school children to wear face coverings when moving around school and to take regular home Covid tests if they live with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.
The measures are to last for four weeks and be reviewed on 1 November.
Isobel Booler, acting executive director of children’s services, said: “Everyone wants our schools to get back to normal after such a long period of disruption, and for students to get on with their learning in classrooms without restrictions.
“However, the coronavirus infection rate in Bury is remaining stubbornly high, and since the start of September, we have had more than 800 cases among our student population.
“Keeping our children safe is our utmost priority, and we so we have reluctantly advised schools to take these measures.”
From Monday, Bury schools will be asking secondary aged children to wear face coverings when moving around the school. Face coverings lower the risk of spreading the virus if someone has the virus but does not have symptoms. Pupils will not need to wear face coverings while sitting at their desks, while eating or when outside.
Adults who are double vaccinated, and children, do not need to self-isolate if they live with someone who has Covid-19.
However, all students and staff members who live with someone who has Covid-19 are now being asked to take a daily lateral flow test (LFD test) before coming into school (unless exempt from testing). Pupils should start this testing from the day their household member either became unwell with Covid-19 or tested positive if they did not have symptoms, and continue this for 10 days.
Children are also being strongly recommended to wear a face-covering when using public transport, or when sharing a car with people they do not live with, and to sanitise their hands at the beginning and end of every journey.
Councillor Tamoor Tariq, cabinet member for children’s services, young people and skills, said: “It’s essential that our schools are safe environments and that we do all we can to protect our pupils and staff from what is a potentially deadly virus. We need to act to reduce the transmission rate in Bury, and I am fully behind the latest call for extra measures and vigilance.”
Parents are reminded:
- If your child tests negative, they can continue attending school.
- If your child has a positive LFD result, they must start isolating, have a PCR test and inform school.
- If they develop Covid-19 symptoms, they should book a PCR test. If your child develops symptoms of Covid-19, they must not come to school and should remain at home.
- If your child is a contact of a case in school, book them in to take a PCR test as soon as possible
Lesley Jones, Bury’s director of public health, said: “We strongly encourage parents to support their children to test at home twice a week and to register their results, even when negative. This important testing helps to pick up the infection early, preventing further spread, keeping families, friends and schools protected from Covid-19 and helping to keep children in school.
“We understand how disappointing and frustrating it is to have to introduce these measures and share these messages again. But we will shortly be coming into winter, a time when we really need to be keeping people safe and reducing the number of Covid-19 infections.”
Everyone is being reminded of the following actions they can take to reduce the risks of contracting and spreading Covid-19:
- wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- wash your hands as soon as you get home
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands), when you cough or sneeze
- put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
- Participate in twice-weekly LFD testing following national guidelines (recommended for 11 years and over). To order LFD tests for your household, visit www.nhs.uk/get-tested. You can log your results here: www.gov.uk/report-COVID-1919-r...
- have the Covid-19 vaccination if you are eligible.
Further information is available at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-COVID-19