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COVID-19 Schools and Education

Schools and education

As pupils return to schools after the summer break the majority of restrictions have been lifted in schools as we move through the next phase of the pandemic. Having pupils back in school learning in their normal environments is critical but so is the ongoing safety of pupils and staff that work in schools.

As Schools and education settings reopen in the autumn term they continue to implement and review the COVID-19 control measures (below) to protect face-to-face education, minimise disruption to education experiences and the risk of infection. 

The control measures include:

  • good hand and respiratory hygiene and cleaning regimens

  • keeping buildings well ventilated

  • asymptomatic testing:

    • All secondary school students should take 2 on-site lateral flow tests (LFDs) on their return, followed by twice weekly testing 

    • All education staff should be testing twice a week 

All education settings will be communicating with parents directly about the control measures in place for all young children, pupils and staff. Parents are advised to contact their education setting for specific details of each setting’s arrangements if they are unclear.  

 

Information for parents

Parents should visit:

Links to Government guidance (some will be subject to further updates):

Parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) should also refer to guidance for full opening of special schools and other specialist settings 

 

Rapid testing 

Taking a rapid Lateral Flow Device(LFD) test twice a week is recommended for all adults and secondary school aged pupils in England.  

If you live with, or are in a childcare or a support bubble with someone who attends or works at an education setting, such as school, college, nursery or childminders, taking regular rapid lateral flow tests will help find more COVID-19 cases and break the chain of transmission. Primary school-age children aged 11 and younger do not need to take regular tests.

If you do not have symptoms, there are a number of different ways you can access rapid tests to take at home. You can:

  • collect rapid test kits from a number of local sites in Sutton, including most local pharmacies and the Sutton Civic Offices. You do not need to book an appointment but please check opening times before you go as some sites are only open in the afternoon, 

  • book a supervised test  at a local pharmacy,

  • order a pack of 7 kits to be delivered to your home. Order online or call 119 (lines are open 7am to 11pm and calls are free),

  • access a testing kit from your employer, if they provide one.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test

Test results can be reported online (https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result) or by calling 119 every result to NHS Test and Trace on the same day they take the test.

More information on rapid testing.

 

What should I do if I am concerned about my child attending school?

For the vast majority of issues or concerns relating to children returning to education, parents should contact their education setting. However, for issues relating to education support services parents should contact the relevant departments below:

Although some parents of vulnerable pupils and pupils of critical workers may have concerns about attending school, it is really important for their educational progress, wellbeing and wider development that children and young people do attend their normal timetable at their schools or setting. 

 

Traveling to Education settings

If at all possible, children and young people should be walking or cycling to school / education setting.

The Council is also undertaking a number of initiatives to promote safe walking and cycling in the Borough - more information can be found on the COVID-19 Safer, Active, Greener Streets section. TfL have also produced guidance and advice for young people on how to travel safely as well as a journey planning tool in light of current Covid restrictions. 

The government has removed the requirement to wear face coverings in law. However, it expects and recommends that  face coverings be worn on public transport and in enclosed and crowded spaces where people may come into contact with those they don't normally meet.

 

Dedicated Transport (SEND Transport)

Dedicated transport is used to take pupils to and from school where there is a statutory requirement to do so; this is primarily for children and young people with special education needs and disabilities (SEND). These are routes/vehicles that are not accessible to the general public. Guidance on dedicated school transport was updated in August and we are working to this revised guidance.

If you have any questions about SEND transport please contact SEN.Transport@cognus.org.uk 

 

Holiday Activities and Food Programme

The Council in collaboration with local  holiday activity  providers will be providing the Department for Education funded Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) Programme during part of the school holidays in 2021. 

School aged pupils (5-16) eligible for Free School Meals are able to access up to 16 hours a week, over a total of  six weeks a year of funded holiday activities and food during the school holidays (Easter, Summer and Christmas). 

To find out more details about this programme click here.

Guidance for holiday or after-school clubs and other out-of-school settings

If you are a holiday activity provider and are interested in taking part in the programme for the summer holidays please contact: holidayactivityprogramme@sutton.gov.uk 

 

Vaccinations 

Vaccination of the population remains a critical part of the response to Coronavirus.

All young people aged 12 to 15 in England will be offered one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine delivered through the School Aged Immunisation Service (SAIS). Parental consent will be sought prior to administering the vaccine. Secondary schools will provide parents with further details about the delivery of the vaccination programme in their school. If you are unsure what the arrangements are at your childs’ school please contact them directly.

More information for parents and children on the vaccine, including how it works and what to expect after COVID-19 vaccination can be found below:

Young people aged 12 - 15 who are home educated should also be offered a vaccine, the SAIS will have plans in place to offer a vaccine to those that want it.    

The NHS will contact children and young people aged 12 to 17 years who are at increased risk from infection, or who are living with someone who is immunosuppressed. They will be offered 2 doses of the vaccine, 8 weeks apart. This vaccine delivery is not included in the offer of a Covid vaccine  for 12-15 year olds delivered in schools by the SAIS. For more information about the vaccine for those aged 12 -15, please visit the Sutton Council Frequently Asked Questions page.

Anyone aged 12 and over who was severely immunosuppressed at the time of their first or second dose, will also be contacted by the NHS to receive a third vaccine dose for extra protection. Please contact your child’s GP for more information. 

All 16 and 17-year-olds in England are now eligible for their first COVID-19 vaccine dose. Anyone in this age group can find their nearest centre through the NHS online walk-in finder.