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School Test & Trace

Over the last few weeks more children have been able to go back to school but it is going to take a while before everything is back to normal. The return to schools needs to happen very carefully. It is important the risk of spreading the virus to staff, children and their families is kept as low as possible.

Children and staff are in contact with people other than family during the school day. This makes it important that when either children or staff have symptoms, schools act to stop the virus spreading to others.

Schools have procedures to try to keep the infection of others as low as possible. They will need everyone to work together to do this; staff, parents and children can help make this happen by sticking to the guidelines and following instructions. 

This might feel a bit worrying but your child’s school will give clear instructions of what staff, children and parents need to do, in different circumstances, to stop the virus spreading.

It is important to remember that most people who catch COVID-19 have mild symptoms and get better quite quickly. It is very, very unusual for children to be badly affected.

Things You Can Do To Help

Schools will do all they can to keep the school community well. It might feel a bit overwhelming and confusing but schools are there to support you and keep you informed.

Make sure your child's school have your up to date contact details – phone number, email and address so that they can keep in touch easily.

You may have questions or worries about how they will be managing the coronavirus; remember you can email or call your child's school for support and advice.

  • If your child or anyone in your household begins to show COVID-19 symptoms you should;

    • Self isolate You should all stay at home and not go out for at least 10 days; *click here* to check latest guidance. Those without symptoms should stay home for at least 14 days.
    • Let school know as soon as possible the reason your child is not attending school. (If they are unwell with symptoms of a non-Covid illness you should still inform school as soon as you can).
    • Order or book a coronavirus test. *Click here* to read our page on completing a home test.

    School can then act to reduce any risk to other children and staff.

    Symptoms of coronavirus;

    • A high temperature 38°C or above*Click here* to find out how to check your child's temperature.
    • A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual).
    • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.

    Most people with coronavirus have at least 1 of these symptoms.

    If you are unsure about your child's symptoms you can use this symptom checker to help you decide if you need to keep your child off school.

    Once you have the results of your tests;

    • If the test is negative your child can go back to school and the rest of the household can go back to school / work too.
    • If it the test is positive you must carry on with the self isolation. A track and trace health professional will be in touch to see if they need to ask any other contacts to self-isolate.
    • Tell school the results, negative or positive, straight away. If the test is positive they will need to ask others that have been in close contact from school to self-isolate too.
  • If your child gets ill at school with COVID-19 symptoms they will call you. It is very important that you;

    • Go and collect your child as quickly as possible.
    • If you have children at other schools let them know so staff can get them ready to be collected as well.
    • Once you have collected your child/children, go straight home.
    • Let all other people you live with know they need to make their way home straight away. You should all follow the guidelines on self isolating.

    It is important that your children are picked up as soon as possible. They will be kept in a separate room at school until you get there with a member of staff to supervise them.

    Collecting them as soon as you can lowers the risk of spread to others. It also allows school time to carry out the extra cleaning necessary to decontaminate the area.

    When you get home;

    • Order a coronavirus test. *Click here* to read our page on completing a home test.
    • *Click Here* for information about national drive through testing. 

    Once you have the results of your tests;

    • If the test is negative your child can go back to school and the rest of the household can go back to school / work too.
    • If it the test is positive you must carry on with the self isolation. A track and trace health professional will be in touch to see if they need to ask any other contacts to self-isolate.
    • Tell school the results, negative or positive, straight away. If the test is positive they will need to ask others that have been in close contact from school to self-isolate too.
  • Schools are trying to keep to small groups of children and staff spending the school day together. This limits the number of people they are in contact with. It is a good way to reduce the risk of the virus spreading but also to limit the number of people who get it.

    However careful schools are it is likely that cases of COVID-19 or suspected cases will happen. It is easily passed around; that is why the virus is such a problem.

    Schools will be open and honest and will let you know if there is a suspected case in school. They will not tell you who is unwell – this is to protect the person’s privacy.

    • You will get a letter / email telling you there is a possible case. School will not close.
    • School will continue to follow the high standard of hygiene and social distancing advised.
    • School will ask you to be alert to the beginnings of symptoms of the virus in your household.

    It is a good time to remind your child and the whole family to follow the guidance by;

    • Social distancing from people you do not live with.
    • Washing hands with soap and water often, and always as soon as you get home.
    • Covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze (put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards).

    Once they have the results from the person’s test, school will get back in touch to tell you if the test was positive or negative. They will let you know any next steps if needed.

  • If a pupil or staff member has a positive test, school will check who they may have had ‘close contact’ with in school. If they think this applies to your child they send you a letter / email to explain what you need to do next.

    Close contact is when a person has;

    • Had face-to-face contact (less than 1 metre away).
    • Been coughed or sneezed on by a person with confirmed COVID-19.
    • Had physical contact without any protective equipment (skin to skin).
    • Been closer than a metre, for more than a minute, to someone with COVID-19.
    • Spent more than 15 minutes closer than 2 metres.
    • Travelled in a car with a person confirmed as having COVID-19 – however short or long the journey.

    Although this does not mean that your child will definitely have caught the virus the chance is increased.

    School will stay open but your child must self-isolate for 14 days. Go straight home and stay there for 14 days. The rest of the family can carry on as normal UNLESS they or your child gets COVID-19 symptoms during the 14 days. If this happens the whole household must;

    • Stay home and self isolate for at least 10 days if they have symptoms or 14 days from when the symptoms appear for those that don’t. *Click here* to check latest guidance.
    • Order or book a test kit for the person who has symptoms.

    Let school have the results as soon as you get them. If it is negative your child can return to school but if it is positive you must all continue to follow self-isolating rules.

     

  • Because COVID-19 is easily passed around it is likely that some schools will have more than one child / staff member catch the virus at a time. If more than 2 pupils or staff that have been in close contact test positive for the virus it is called an ‘outbreak’. School will write to you and tell you about this.

    Once again, they will ask you to be watchful for signs of COVID-19, and to follow the guidelines to reduce risks of it spreading.

    You should keep your child home from school, self isolate and order or book a test if they develop symptoms.

    School are likely to stay open if an ‘outbreak’ occurs. However they will ask for expert support and advice from public health services. On some, hopefully rare, occasions schools may be asked to close temporarily. This will stop an outbreak if other methods have not worked.

  • *Click here* to read a quick guide for schools and parents or click on the symptom checker below to help you to decide if you need to keep your child off school.

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. 

      

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