Email dated 16.09.20
Please find below Covid-19 related updates from the Director of Education and Skills and Public Health teams:
Covid-19 – Update from Alison Hurley, BCC Director of Education and Skills
We have now received some more reports of potential Covid-19 cases, of children, and a couple of positive cases of members of staff. I am sure we will continue to see an increase in cases, over the coming weeks and months, with the need to isolate more bubbles and cohorts.
For some of the potential cases, where a pupil or staff member is displaying at least one of the three main symptoms, (new continuous cough, high temperature, loss of taste/smell) it has been challenging for some to book a test at a local site. Unfortunately, this is creating a delay in understanding whether or not the symptoms are due to Covid-19 and, therefore, identifying if any close contacts are also required to self-isolate. We have raised the issue of testing with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and you will, no doubt, have seen that this is a national issue. The advice we have been given is for parents to keep trying the portal, as additional slots are uploaded throughout the day. From onset of symptoms, the individual has 5 days to get tested, but it is crucial to maintain self-isolation until the test result is known. The National Test and Trace has also asked us to support them in giving a clear message to schools and families that, unless someone has symptoms of COVID, they should not seek a test i.e. if you have been a close contact with someone who has confirmed Covid infection you need to self-isolate for 14 days and not get a test unless you develop symptoms.
With regards to those schools and settings that have already had a positive case, there are, understandably, a number of common questions coming from parents and carers. I have asked BCC’s communications team to start gathering the main parental concerns from those schools and settings that have actioned the wider isolation of groups, in order to produce an FAQ for you to either reference or distribute to families, when you have a positive case.
Work has now started to try and expand on the Government’s CONTAIN guidance with local data and information, in order to inform continuity planning, specifically for schools and settings. To support this, and the city-wide contingency planning, BCC is now publishing local Covid-19 data bi-weekly https://www.bristol.gov.uk/crime-emergencies/covid-19-data-including-cases-in-bristol-and-r-number-for-the-south-west.
This bi-weekly report is an overview of the latest COVID-19 data for Bristol with useful summary and wider contextual information.
Covid-19 tests – Update from PHE SW
The local NHS 111 service is currently experiencing high numbers of calls from people seeking Covid-19 tests. The 111 service is not able to arrange tests and callers have to be redirected to the correct 119 number, or online service, which is frustrating for individuals and affects 111 capacity.
We would be grateful if you could remind parents seeking tests to use the correct number or website – suggested text for parent communications follows.
If you require a Covid-19 test please call 119 or visit the government website https://self-referral.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/antigen/name Please keep trying as .appointments are released throughout the day.
NHS111 are not able to arrange or advise how to obtain a Covid-19 test. If you require clinical advice about your symptoms please go to NHS111 online or call 111.
Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health guidance document.
We further signpost the following guidance from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. We have found this to be informative and hope it will support planning for conversations with your families: https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/resources/covid-19-talking-children-families-about-returning-school-guiding-principles
Finally, if you haven’t already found this information, please access the following site for digital resources and posters specific to Covid-19, some of which you are able to edit and tailor for your own setting: https://coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk/
With best wishes,
The Early Years Team