Return to School During COVID-19 - Secondary
From 8th March, every secondary school pupil will have access to fast home coronavirus tests. These tests are to help keep students and staff as safe as possible at school. It is really important that children and staff have the opportunity to be tested regularly to stop the spread of Covid-19.These tests are not compulsory. You and your child can choose if you would like to use them.
The first 3 tests for your child will take place at school so they can be taught how to use the test and feel comfortable using them. After this your child will be able to test themselves twice every week from home.
You will receive information about how to support your child with testing at home. Rapid testing detects cases very quickly. This can be the difference between children being able to stay in school, or a class being sent home due to an outbreak at school. This will improve attendance and make sure your child has as much face to face teaching time as possible.
If you're a member of a household, childcare bubble or support bubble of a pupil or member of staff, you can also get twice weekly testing kits. These are available by;
- Visiting a Local test site
- Collecting a home test kit from a test site
- Ordering a home test kit online.
Some employers are also offering testing to employees.
If anyone in your household tests positive using a lateral flow test you should tell your child's school and then;
- Self-isolate immediately
- Order or book a coronavirus test. *Click here* to read our page on completing a home test.
- Follow the stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection.
Your child has already had to get used to some of the changes that coronavirus has brought to all of our lives at home and at school.
Many young people will have found this tough. Not being able to see friends or keep up with usual activities. It has not been easy for them. This might mean that they are really keen to get back to school life. Some may feel more anxious because they have got out of the ‘going to school habit.’
Talking About Their Feelings
Spend time with your child and ask them how they are doing. Knowing that you realise this is a tough time for them and you are there to listen is really important – even if you don’t have the answers and can’t ‘fix it’ for them. They may have worries about the virus.
*Click here* to look at our page on talking to children of different ages.
All schools have managed to adapt to the pandemic differently to take into account the layout, staffing and the number and age of children attending.
- Make sure school has your current email, home address and contact numbers so they can keep you up to date with plans.
- Complete any home activities school provide to help get your child ready.
- If you have any worries or questions get in touch with school for more information.
- If you are finding it stressful talk to other parents, friends and family for support – try not to let your child pick up on any worries you may have.
Your child may be anxious about going back to school. Remember the staff are experienced at helping children settle into high school. You can help it seem more familiar to your child by;
- Letting your child try on their school uniform and gather the equipment they will need. Encourage them to feel positive and excited about their fresh start.
- Get back into school day routines in plenty of time. *Click here* to look at our page on back to school preparation.
It might seem a strange time for your child be going back to school after such a long period off. Your child is still going to have the chance to enjoy their time at school and get used to the people and routines again. Try and look forward to the new experiences ahead.
Remember that children have a very low chance of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19. Schools are following all the advice to keep the risk as low as possible and protect the children in their care.
Handwashing helps prevent catching the virus. Remind your child to regularly wash their hands for at least 20 seconds each time. This is always important but even more so at the moment. Your child should be washing their hands often, especially when they arrive somewhere new and when they arrive home. Schools will have regular handwashing time too.
Hand sanitisers can be used when you can’t get to wash your hands with soap and water but your child should still wash their hands a soon as they can. Set a good example and show them that you take handwashing seriously too - it is a very important way of preventing germs spreading.
Keeping at least one metre, and ideally 2 metres, away from people we do not live with reduces the risk of the virus being spread. This is hard for high school age children as friendships are very important to them.
Reassure your child that although it makes it harder it does not mean that they can’t spend time with their friends, it just means following the rules. It is important they know that we all have a responsibility to do what we can to stop the virus spreading.
Schools understand that young people need to have the chance to socialise and will make this as safe as possible. They are finding ways to keep the number of different staff and other children they are in touch with low.
- Talk to the school to find out how they will be managing this so you know how it will work for your child.
- This might mean they cannot be with best friends in the school day – encourage them to use social media and socially distanced contact out of school to keep in touch.
- Make sure your child has a picture of how far one and two metres is in their head – look on a tape measure, get them to picture the distance when they are with others.
Remind them that they just need to try their best. If they do get closer than this they should just move away as soon as they can.
Who Can Help?
You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.
If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.
You can speak to other Norfolk parents and carers by clicking our online community forum below.