Alongside our local authority public health colleagues, we have updated the support and guidance for schools and settings which is recorded in the attached flow chart. It explains what to do for symptomatic and confirmed Covid 19 cases and also includes support for responding to any other queries you may have. The first task for symptomatic and confirmed cases is to inform the LA Public Health Team via the linked webform. The flow chart also contains guidance to help you to begin to manage cases yourself when time is short.
Early Lessons Learned
The schools who have had confirmed cases of COVID-19 on their sites have all managed the situations exceptionally well. They have also fed back some of their learning. When a positive case is confirmed the school must identify all the ‘close contacts’ of that person. There are three categories of close contact:
1) Direct face to face contact for any length of time
2) Within 1m for 1 minute or more
3) Within 2m for 15 minutes or more.
Identified close contacts must self-isolate for 14 days. As a result, social distancing, where possible, continues to be vital at all times, particularly between staff. It should therefore be rare for staff to be deemed a ‘close contact’ with other staff.
Bubble sizes are also a challenging area. Methods for keeping bubbles separate, even outdoors at breaktimes, need to be reviewed to keep any possible close contact list as small as possible. In secondary schools where social distancing could be maintained in a classroom or on school transport, seating plans could be vital when identifying those who are close contacts and also importantly those who are not.
Overall, the control measures in school are doing a great job in keeping pupils and staff safe. In addition, further consideration around minimising and being able to identify each individual’s’ close contacts’ will minimise the disruption to learning and to home lives that positive COVID-19 test results can bring.