Additional Covid-19 measures brought in for schools in Hertfordshire
Data shows that during that last half-term more than 10,000 school children in Hertfordshire tested positive for Covid-19
Public health and education chiefs in Hertfordshire have written to parents to highlight additional measures they are asking schools to make – to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
The changes include a return to the widespread use of face coverings inside schools – as well as on public and school transport.
Parents and carers are being asked to wear face coverings again when children are dropped off or collected at the school gates.
And where a school has an ‘outbreak’, secondary school students could be asked to test daily, and siblings in any setting could be asked to self-isolate, rather than go into school.
Data shows that during that last half-term – that ran from September to October – more than 10,000 school children in Hertfordshire tested positive for the Covid-19 virus.
And in the week before the half-term break, public health officials were dealing with ‘outbreaks’ at 198 of the county’s educational settings in the last half term.
And it suggests the additional measures will help to reduce the spread of the virus.
“You will be aware that nationally cases of Covid-19 are currently high, and Hertfordshire is no different with the highest number of cases in children and young people,” says the letter.
“As a result, we are asking all schools and early-years settings to implement some additional public health measures.
“By acting quickly ahead of winter we can call help reduce the spread of the virus and protect each other and the most vulnerable members of our communities.”
In secondary schools, staff, visitors and students are being asked to wear face coverings at all times except when exempt, eating or drinking or when outside on school premises.
They will also not be required when ‘wearing a face covering would impact on the ability to take part in exercise or strenuous activity’ – such as in PE or music lessons.
In early years, primary and special schools staff and visitors are being asked to wear face coverings when interacting with other adults except if exempt, eating or drinking or outside.
According to the letter, the additional measures will be required until the end of the term, in December.
But they will be reviewed every two weeks. And, says the letter, if there was to be a reduction in case rates of Covid-19 they ‘may be lifted’.
In addition, the letter – which stresses that ‘Covid-19 has not gone away’ – says that lateral flow tests should be completed by all children in secondary school or college.
It stresses that any positive result followed up with a PCR test – and that parents should not send children into school following a positive test result.
The letter also points to vaccination as ‘one of the best ways to protect yourself and others from Covid-19’.
The letter – dated November 3 – is being circulated to parents through schools.
Of those cases there were 635 amongst those aged five to nine; 1,207 aged 10 to 14; and 499 aged 15-19.
An outbreak is typically where five or more pupils, students or staff (or 10 per cent of that group) – who are likely to have mixed closely – test positive for Covid-19 within a 10-day period.