As we break up for the Christmas holiday, I wanted to share some of the information that I have received in school about keeping safe between now and when we return to school for the new term in January.
Notification of Coronavirus Test Results
The Department for Education (DfE) sent information to headteachers last week setting out the expectation, in agreement with Public Health England (PHE), that schools should remain contactable during the Christmas break in order to assist with contact tracing where necessary.
If your child develops symptoms during the holiday, please book a test and email your results to firstname.lastname@example.org All results will be treated sensitively and in confidence. If we receive notification of a positive case, we will identify close contacts of the child or staff member, and advise close contacts to self-isolate in line with current government guidelines. Notification of a positive case will be through a Parentmail text or email.
Tier 3 Restrictions
It has been announced that from Saturday 19th December, Luton will enter ‘Tier 3: Very High’ alert level. This reflects the very high levels of infection and hospital admissions in the town and means that we all need to keep doing all that we can to keep ourselves and each other safe. The full list of restrictions for Tier 3 areas can be found on the government website https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-3-very-high-alert and our school website.
The festive period is an important time for many people. The UK Government have said that they recognise some people will want to be with their friends and family over Christmas, particularly after an incredibly difficult year. You will be aware that for this reason, the government is changing some social contact restrictions for a short period of time with the forming of Christmas bubbles.
The safest way to celebrate Christmas this year is with your household or existing support bubble in your home. The more people you see, the more likely it is that you will catch or spread coronavirus. You and the other people in your Christmas bubble need to consider the risks carefully before agreeing to form a bubble and discuss alternatives, such as the use of technology, to avoid bringing households together or travelling between different parts of the country. If you do decide you need to form a Christmas bubble, you can do so between 23rd and 27th December with people from no more than three households.
While Christmas bubbles are still allowed despite the current increases in infection, the government have asked that each one of us takes personal responsibility this Christmas. As a school community we would urge you to think very carefully about the risks of meeting others and only do so if you feel you absolutely need to. We must limit the spread of the virus and protect our loved ones, particularly if they are vulnerable.
Returning to School
Children return to school on Tuesday 5th January, and Luton Borough Council are urging families who are not showing any coronavirus symptoms to take the rapid lateral flow test before returning. Our closest testing centre is at the Lewsey Community Centre on Landrace Road. Rapid Testing sites are walk-up with no appointment necessary and are open 8am-8pm although parents should note that centres are closed for rapid testing from Thursday 24th December until Tuesday 29th December, and are also closed on 1st January 2021. Results from rapid tests should be received within 45 minutes.
If you or anyone in your household has any of the four main symptoms of coronavirus (a new, persistent cough, a high temperature or loss/change of taste or smell) then the household must self-isolate for 10 days. Tests for people showing symptoms should be booked in the usual way through www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119. If you or anyone in your household has symptoms or has taken a test and is awaiting results before we return to school on 5th January, you must contact school by email email@example.com and must not return to school until the end of the isolation period.
A lot of guidance has been sent into school this week and we have no doubt that there will be more before we return in January. Please keep an eye on our school website, Parentmail and social media for any updates.
We hope you are able to have a safe holiday and look forward to seeing you in January.