Local Authority Public Health Update

Thank you for all the work you are doing at this time to support the health of your pupils, staff and communities. You will all recognise to increase in covid cases this month but those numbers are lower than they would have been without your constant application of the control measures and swift action when a case is identified to you.

We recognise the need for education staff to seek second opinions on guidance but can reiterate that the current guidance remains accurate, until the end of the term and beyond that to 16th August with regard to self-isolation rules.

Can we also share the following updates/reminders:

• The reason close contacts have been advised to seek a PCR test DURING the self-isolation period is so covid types can be accurately confirmed. This is to act as a surveillance tool for PHE only and for no other reason. There has been some misunderstanding that the PCR test is being advised to release asymptomatic close contacts from isolation and a mandatory requirement before children are allowed back in to school. This is not the case and as stated in previous correspondence that any close contacts who have a negative PCR at any time during their self-isolation period and have no symptoms should still not be allowed to return to school until they have completed their isolation period. Is it also worth noting anyone who had a previous positive PCR test within 90 days should NOT have a further test as likely to produce a false positive.
• The decision to close part/all of a school is not a Public Health decision to make and must be decided on by schools in consultation with Education colleagues at NCC based on sizes of bubbles, year groups affected and the size of school.
• Some members of the Public Health Team have now been redirected to other community transmission priorities 7 days a week so whilst there is support Monday-Friday there is no additional cover over weekends to answer enquiries which will be picked up on Monday mornings.
• We have been inundated with enquires of similar themes so it may be helpful for you to view the graphic regarding household isolation periods when subsequent family members test positive – see attached.

Any schools with residential enquiries should contact NCC Health and Safety Team (Nigel Chopping) if they have concerns about risk assessments.

Thank you again for your support and best of luck in managing so very difficult scenarios in the remainder of the term.

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