On Monday 21st February, the Prime Minister set out the next phase of the government’s COVID-19 response - Living with Covid-19.
Given that the Government know that the risks of severe illness from COVID-19 in most children and most fully vaccinated adults are very low, and the successful vaccination programme has achieved a high rate of take-up, COVID-19 is now a virus that we learn to live with and the imperative is to reduce any disruption to children and young people’s education.
As COVID-19 becomes endemic, ‘more steady or predictable’, the expectation is that the virus may still circulate and outbreaks may occur, but we will be able to respond to the virus in a similar way to other existing respiratory illnesses, through sustainable public health measures.
Thanks to the success of the vaccination programme and access to antivirals, alongside natural immunity and increased scientific and public understanding about how to manage risk, the population now has much stronger protection against COVID-19 than at any other point in the pandemic and from 1st April, the government expectation is that we transition to managing COVID-19 like other respiratory illnesses.
From 1 April, free testing for the general public ended as part of the Living with Covid plan which in February set out the government’s strategy to live with and manage the virus.
From 1st April, children and young people who are unwell and have a high temperature should stay at home and avoid contact with other people, where they can.
Children who do not have a high temperature and are well enough, can attend or return to school.
The government retains the ability to enable a rapid testing response should it be needed, in response to the emergence of a new variant of concern.
We will, as is good practice, continue to ensure good hygiene, cleaning and ventilation in school.
Eligible family members are, as before, also encouraged to get their booster vaccinations, if they have not already done so.
In the event of resurgences, new variants with more dangerous properties than Omicron emerging or updated Government guidance being issued, we will of course, as before, be ready to respond quickly, putting in place additional measures as required.
The school, as always, will continue to follow advice given by a director of public health or a HPT (Health Protection Team) about any measures that the school needs to take.
In line with latest guidance, the school’s current expectation in relation to notifications we expect to receive from families in relation to Covid 19 are set out below.
Latest government advice and information can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19