Contingency plans for any confirmed case of COVID-19.
Since the start of the academic year, you will be aware, of the growing number of instances where pupils and/or staff have been asked to self-isolate following confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections within schools in Bridgend and neighbouring Local Authorities.
As part of our COVID-secure planning, we have prepared for such an event and have procedures in place, informed by Public Health Wales and Local Authority Guidance, to respond to any confirmed cases of COVID-19. Our procedures are designed to safeguard those who are unwell; the school community as a whole; and seek to minimise any potential spread of the virus.
The process of testing and contact tracing is part of the “new normal” where schools are required to follow the guidelines carefully as part of the Test, Trace, Protect strategy that Welsh Government has adopted.
If you have not had an opportunity to review our ‘Staying Safe to make a Success of Learning” handbook (which is accessible on our website), I would ask that you do this at your earliest opportunity. The document has been updated following changes made by Welsh Government in relation to the use of face-coverings in schools.
Through discussion with headteacher colleagues, it is becoming apparent that confirmed cases are often being shared with schools via a child’s family or members of staff directly, rather than being informed by an external agency, such as the NHS Wales Test, Track and Protect Teams. This is not surprising, since the teams are reacting to the ongoing health crisis and, like many databases; there is a slight delay with information being processed.
As you may be aware, a person confirmed to have been infected with Coronavirus (COVID-19) will be asked to indicate whom they have come into contact with. This is to ensure that these individuals may self-isolate to reduce the spread of the virus. Given our school population of pupils, students and staff is around one thousand; this has a significant impact on us.
To support the school, I should be grateful if any notification to school of any positive test results includes details received from the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect Service, including the unique reference number confirming either a positive test result or that your child has been identified as a confirmed contact. This will allow us to make contact with Public Health Wales to confirm next steps and to identify any direct contacts effectively. This information will be treated in confidence.
Should there be a confirmed case of COVID-19 within our school as a precautionary measure, some of our classes or a year group contact group may be asked to self-isolate for a period of 14 days since the last contact with the confirmed case. This is because it can take up to 14 days for the symptoms to develop.
In such a case, parents and carers of affected pupils will be texted by the school and receive an e-mail via “In-touch”.
The school will remain open for all other pupils. All parents and carers of pupils unaffected by the requirement to self-isolate will also be notified.
Where a student may be required to self-isolate, work will be provided. This work will mirror the work undertaken by their peers in school and should be completed in line with individual school timetable.
We are reliant, more now than ever, on the goodwill of our families to support us in keeping everyone as safe as possible. Your help with this process will inform our decision-making and I thank you in advance for your support.
What to do if your child develops symptoms
Please continue to be vigilant of possible symptoms of coronavirus during this period. The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:
- fever (greater than 37.8°C);
- new persistent/continuous cough;
- and/or loss or change in sense of taste or smell
If anyone in your household develops any of these symptoms, however mild, they need to stay at home (10 days for the person with symptoms and 14 days for the rest of the household) and must follow the guidance, which can be found here.
Edward H Jones