IMPORTANT: New COVID-19 guidance for education settings

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Cumbria Education Planning Group

In today's update:


An update from Dan Barton

Dear Colleagues,

As promised, please find the updated household contact guidance for education settings in Cumbria below. 

Please download and read the guidance in full using the links provided and distribute the letter from our Director of Public Health, Colin Cox to parents as soon as you can - although I appreciate this may be early next week now. 

Thank you to you all for your continued support and understanding during this challenging time for education. 

If once you've read the guidance you still have questions or concerns, please get in touch with the Education IPC team. 

Kind Regards,

Dan Barton, Assistant Director - Education and Skills

Image description: Head and shoulders photograph of Daniel Barton, the Assistant Director - Education and Skills.

dan barton

NEW household contact guidance for schools

Additional guidance was issued to schools on 23 September about additional COVID-19 control measures agreed for schools in Cumbria. These have been reviewed and updated as follows:

This revised guidance for household contacts will become operational from Monday 11 October and reviewed every two weeks. 

Guidance for household contacts of positive cases

  1. Children aged 4 and under

Parents of children aged 4 and under who are household contacts of a positive case should be asked to keep them at home for 5 days, starting from the onset of symptoms in the household contact who has tested positive (or test date if the positive case had no symptoms). They should only have a PCR test if they develop symptoms of COVID-19.

  1. Children and young people between the ages of 5 and 18+6 months

Children and young people between the ages of 5 and 18+6 months (unless exempt – see below), who are household contacts of a positive case, should be advised to stay at home. Five days following the onset of symptoms in the household contact who has tested positive (or test date if the positive case had no symptoms), the close contact child should get a PCR test. If this is negative, they can return to the setting, but should isolate again immediately and get another test if they develop symptoms of COVID-19 at a later date.

Exemptions

The groups exempt from this advice and able to continue to attend the setting when identified as a household contact of a positive case are:

  • Any child or young person who has had at least one dose of the vaccine more than 14 days ago
  • Any child or young person who has tested positive for COVID-19 themselves via a PCR test within the past 90 days.
  • Where there are significant concerns about the impact of exclusion on the child or young person, and a risk assessment indicates that the risks of exclusion to the individual child outweigh the wider benefits.

Resources

The guidance can be read in full below alongside a letter to be circulated to parents:


Why has this guidance been issued?

The current COVID-19 situation in Cumbria

Rates of COVID-19 remain above the national and regional averages in all Cumbrian districts except Eden.

In the week ending October 1 2021, the 12-18 age group accounted for the greatest number of new cases in Cumbria followed by the 5-11 age group (+774 and +427 new cases respectively). The 12-18 and 5-11 age groups also accounted for by far the greatest rates of new cases in Cumbria (2,113 and 1,146 new cases per 100k population respectively). However, new cases decreased slightly from the previous week in the 12-18 and 5-11 age groups (-2% and -11% respectively).

While this slight reduction in cases is encouraging, case rates remain high and managing COVID-19 continues to be a challenge for educational settings in Cumbria.

As such, Cumbria’s Director of Public Health, Colin Cox and education leaders have agreed to continue with local additional COVID-19 outbreak management measures. 

Additional guidance

Any parents or carers who still want their child to continue to attend school have the right to do so. In these situations, we strongly advise the child or young person identified as a household contact to get a PCR test before attending school.

Anyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19 should get a PCR test and stay at home until the result is known. Individuals informed by Test & Trace to isolate should stay at home for the time advised.