COVID-19 Response from 24th February 2022
The UK Government has confirmed that all domestic legal restriction relating to COVID-19 have ended with effect from 24th February 2022 as we are asked to begin to treat COVID like other infectious diseases. For all students, families and staff, this means the following:
- The legal requirement to self-isolate ends. Until 1 April, the government still advises people who test positive to stay at home. Adults and children who test positive are advised to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for at least five full days and then continue to follow the guidance until they have received two negative test results on consecutive days.
- From April, the Government will update guidance setting out the ongoing steps that people with COVID-19 should take to be careful and considerate of others, similar to advice on other infectious diseases. This will align with testing changes. Self-isolation support payments, national funding for practical support and the medicine delivery service will no longer be available.
- Routine contact tracing ends, including venue check-ins on the NHS COVID-19 app.
- Fully vaccinated adults and those aged under 18 who are close contacts are no longer advised to test daily for seven days and the legal requirement for close contacts who are not fully vaccinated to self-isolate will be removed.
What the changes mean for schools
The Department for Education sent an email update to schools and education settings yesterday. The main points are:
Changes to Testing
- From Monday 21st February, the Government is removing the guidance for staff and students in most education and childcare settings to undertake twice-weekly asymptomatic testing.
- Staff and students of secondary age and above in SEND settings, alternative provision settings, and SEND units within mainstream settings or equivalent in further education colleges are advised to continue twice-weekly testing.
- Staff and students are also able to access test kits from their local pharmacy or online.
It is very important that results of test are reported online straight away, even if the result is negative or void. It’s easy to do at www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result
Results can also be reported via telephone by calling 119 (free from mobiles and landlines). Lines are open every day, 7am to 11pm.
It is important to keep a note of test results and share positive results with school, by phoning the school absence line on 01254 505700 (and select Option 1) and emailing a screenshot of your test result to firstname.lastname@example.org
If a student decides to isolate, remote learning will take place using Google Classroom. If a student does not have the equipment to access Google Classroom please contact their Pastoral Manager, who will endeavour to provide equipment from school.
Expectations for Remote Learning
A comprehensive guide to Remote Learning and associated policies can be found HERE
- Access Google Classroom to retrieve resources for each lesson (note the resources provided may be allocated to a series of lessons)
- Access and remain in Google Meet for each lesson
- Ensure resources are uploaded in advance of a lesson/series of lessons
- Engage students in ‘live lessons’ where possible. This might not always be possible depending on staffing
The School will:
- Provide a free school meal for all eligible students. Order forms can be completed online. Meals can also be picked up at reception
- Provide a tutor or teacher for each remote lesson to engage the students and answer queries. This may not be possible in extreme circumstances
- Complete a register of students accessing Google Classroom for each lesson
- Report any absences to parents
There is no longer a requirement for staff or students to wear face masks in any part of the school. Of course, staff or students can choose to wear a facemask if it makes them feel more comfortable. The school have a stock of face masks available for all students and staff at the Main Reception although this may be withdrawn as stocks are depleted.
Students are expected to wear full school uniform, which parents should wash regularly. No other items of clothing should be worn.
The Blackburn with Darwen Help Hub continues to offer support with any issues that arise as we come out of the Coronavirus outbreak. You can phone 01254 588111 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday or 9:00am to 12:00pm Saturday and Sunday. You can also fill in the online form at www.blackburn.gov.uk
Other sources of support:
- Kooth - online support and counselling for young people
- Childline - counselling support for young people. Call 0800 1111
- Mind - mental health information and support
- Healthy Young Minds - mental health information and support
Vaccinations for 5-11 year-olds
The NHS is currently offering vaccines to at-risk children and those who live with immunosuppressed people in this age group. Parents and guardians of at risk 5 to 11 year olds should wait for the NHS to contact them, with local NHS teams already contacting those who are eligible.
On Wednesday 16 February, the government accepted the advice from the independent JCVI to make a non-urgent offer of COVID-19 vaccines to all children aged 5 to 11 in England. The JCVI advice follows a review by the UK’s independent medicines regulator, the MHRA, which approved Pfizer’s paediatric vaccine, as safe and effective for children aged 5 to 11.
Children without underlying health conditions are at low risk of serious illness from COVID-19 and the priority remains for the NHS to offer vaccines and boosters to older age groups and vulnerable children, as well as to catch-up with other childhood immunisation programmes.
The NHS will prepare to extend this non-urgent offer to all children during April so parents can, if they want, take up the offer to increase protection against potential future waves of COVID-19, as we learn to live with this virus.
The updated JCVI advice for vaccinating 5- to 11-year-olds, which was published on Friday 18 February by the NHS, confirms that community pharmacy-led local vaccination services and vaccination centres should be the primary delivery models for this cohort.