Education Planning Group: Schools update... 16 June

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In today's update:

dan barton

Dear Colleagues

As you will be aware we are now seeing a rapid rise in COVID-19 infections in the county. As of today 47 settings are in incident (one confirmed case) or outbreak (two or more confirmed cases) status.

In light of this I know schools are looking for clear advice on some specific issues, further to the national guidance from the DfE:

  • Transition visits (primary to secondary as well as Early Years and Infant to Junior)
  • End of year events (Proms, leavers parties, whole school performances etc)
  • Residential visits and day trips

Ultimately decisions rest with schools but our overall advice is to be cautious, risk assess carefully and make alternative arrangements if activity cannot be conducted safely.  More detail below.

I have also included a general advice letter and 'COVID-19 Quick Guide' for parents and carers from Director of Public Health Colin Cox, I would appreciate if you could circulate these as soon as possible.

Thank you for your ongoing efforts.


Dan Barton

Assistant Director - Education and Skills

Transition, trips and events - advice

Transition visits

As we know, transition to the next stage in education represents a significant challenge to us and to our young people each year, and proper face to face transition arrangements are always preferred. This year, in some cases, schools’ own risk assessments may preclude a face to face visit.

We advise:

  • Risk assess and ensure system of controls followed.
  • Face to face visits could continue but only if 2 metres distance is maintained between children from different primary schools (and if this is not possible, carry out virtually).
  • We advise against any activity that mixes bubbles/classes who are not currently mixing. 
  • No parent visits to the school – virtual only.

End of year events

Again we advise careful risk assessment and ensuring a system of controls is in place.  We advise against any event that mixes bubbles/classes who are not currently mixing. No parent visits to the school.

Residential and day visits

Educational trips and visits can still go ahead. However, these should be undertaken only when your setting’s risk assessment has been reviewed and appropriate mitigations and controls considered. Unfortunately there is no financial support available to schools if trips have to be cancelled.

We advise:

  • If your setting is in outbreak status, trips should be rearranged.
  • Avoid mixing of bubbles (especially on transport, sleeping arrangements etc) unless robust mitigations can be implemented.
  • Visits to Enhanced Response Areas should be risk assessed very carefully. Current Government guidance is to minimise travel in and out of these areas. In most cases trips to ERAs should be avoided.
  • Parents/carers should collect children if they develop symptoms and cannot be isolated while on trips. If that is not practical, consideration should be given to whether the trip can proceed.

Masks in schools recommended

Local public health advice is now that secondary schools should reinstate the wearing of masks or face coverings by pupils and staff in communal areas or when moving around the school.

Masks are also advised for teachers in classrooms, in primary and secondary.

Letter and COVID-19 Guide for parents/carers

We've produced a letter for you to circulate to parents as well as advice on testing and isolating. These documents provide an update to parents on the current situation in education settings and what they can do to reduce the spread of the virus. 


Over 21s invited to book vaccination

People aged 21 and over or those turning 21 before 1 July 2021 can now book an appointment to receive their COVID-19 vaccine.

If you have any staff in this age group, please remind them to book their vaccines. 

It's also being offered to:

  • people at high risk from COVID-19 (clinically extremely vulnerable)
  • people who live or work in care homes
  • health and social care workers
  • people with a condition that puts them at higher risk (clinically vulnerable)
  • people with a learning disability
  • people who are a main carer for someone at high risk from COVID-19.

The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. It not only provides the best protection against becoming seriously ill if you catch coronavirus, but also cuts household transmission of the virus by up to 50%. So, it's essential everyone accepts their jab when it's offered to them.

You do not need to wait to be contacted by the NHS, you can book your vaccination appointments via the National Booking Service online or by calling 119 free of charge.