Public Health guidance for schools

Public Health guidance for schools

Please see below advice and guidance on Covid 19 from Public Health:

Schools and colleges

Early Years

Well being guides

 

Public Health Update – 25-29 January 2021

Bradford District COVID infection rates

The COVID infection rate is rising slowly and is now just above 300 per 100,000. The rates are increasing slowly for all age groups apart from young adults (19-34yrs). Rates are lowest for children 0-4 years (78 per 100,000),  4-10 years (83 per 100,000) and 11-18yrs (156 per 100,000), compared to our overall rate of 307 per 100,000.

Bradford District’s COVID rate is now above Yorkshire & the Humber as the rates in more rural areas have generally fallen. The number of patients admitted to hospital with COVID is increasing (250 vs 204 last week) with 30 deaths from COVID in the last week of reporting.

Wards with the highest infection rates are Heaton, Keighley Central, Royds, Toller, Manningham, Bolton and Undercliffe, Wibsey, Clayton and Fairweather Green, Great Horton, Thornton and Allerton.

 

School support for setting up testing centres

There are two LFT testing centres in Bradford and Keighley, with experienced staff who have set up and managed these operations. Please email Covidpt2@bradford.gov.uk if you would like to visit a testing centre or enquire about support for your school. These team are currently very busy so please be patient in waiting for a response.

 

Summary of common LFT queries and our position (for the weekly school messages)

Staff who have tested positive for COVID in the last 90 days

Anyone who has previously received a positive COVID-19 PCR test result should not be re-tested within 90 days of that test, unless they develop any new symptoms of COVID-19. If they do develop symptoms they should self-isolate, have a PCR test and continue to self-isolate.

Our current advice is that those who have tested positive for COVID in the last 90 days (LFT or PCR) should not engage in the weekly LFT asymptomatic testing programme until after 90 days from the positive test. This is because you may get a false positive due to inactivated virus remaining in the body. If you do develop COVID symptoms please take a test.

In exceptional situations e.g., if you have a serious school outbreak, we may recommend more regular staff testing, which would break the 90-day rule just stated.

[This advice may differ from the DfE advice on LFTs, but it is in line with previous national public health guidance. We also understand that since asymptomatic LFT testing is voluntary, those who accept our advice are not breaking any rules].

 

Staff who do not engage in weekly testing (for any reasons)

Staff who do not engage in weekly testing should still be vigilant with their symptom awareness and social distancing, and self-isolate for 10 days if they are a close contact of someone who tests positive.

 

Do I need for confirmatory PCR after a positive LFT?

If the LFT test was taken in a testing site at school (i.e with supervision)

From this week you do not need to book a confirmatory PCR after a positive LFT. A positive LFT is now considered equivalent to a PCR for all purposes, including the legal duty to self-isolate, the inclusion in T&T database, and the right to access COVID-related financial support. This is because of the continued high COVID transmission across the country.

Home testing (e.g. for primary school staff)

If self-tests are taken at home and are positive please book a PCR test. This is because of lower reliability of testing and reporting with the use of home testing.

 

Self-isolation count

In all cases, regardless of the need for a confirmatory PCR, our position is that self-isolation, contact tracing and support for the schools should happen immediately after a positive LFT test. Therefore, those who tested positive at home and their household contacts all need to start 10 days of self-isolation from the positive LFD while waiting for the confirmatory PCR. So, for the purposes of reporting, self-isolation and contact tracing, day 0 is the day the first positive test (LFT or PCR) was taken.

 

Negative LFT tests

All those who test NEGATIVE with a LFT need to consider they may still be infected and keep all the usual safety measures i.e., social distancing, face covering, hands cleaning etc. as well as a high degree of symptom awareness.

 

* These positions related to LFTs are under constant review as we receive new guidance and policy from the Government & the DfE. There is now a huge amount of legacy guidance circulating from various agencies and still some grey areas. Please be patient if you do see contradictions. We will continue to try to distil all the information we get into what’s best to support education whilst protecting your staff and pupils.

 

When to take a Lateral Flow test (LFT)

We’ve been asked about when is the best time for staff to take one of the twice-weekly LFT and would recommend that home testing is done on the Monday morning because:

  • The test is better taken on the morning of the work day to ensure less of a chance of someone becoming infectious between the time the test was taken  and actual presence in the school (e.g. 12 hrs from 7pm Sunday to 7.am on Monday in which time infection could develop).
  • When counting back 48 hours to identify contacts after a positive test result please include the 2 whole previous days. So if testing positive 7pm on Sunday night identify contacts back to the start of Friday. If testing positive 9am on Monday morning identify contacts back to the start of Saturday.

 

Additional LFT tests

The Council does not have a large surplus supply of LFTs currently. So please rely on the stocks sent to you which we know is variable and causing difficulties for some schools. If there is a need for additional LFTs in an outbreak situation please contact the DfE.

We have had an offer from Council staff working in the community LFT centres who are happy to attend schools to support staff and teachers initially , based on their experience of setting up test centres. Please get in touch if this would help.

 

Close contacts

England's Test and Trace scheme has revised its definition of a "close contact". This now reads that a close contact is anyone who has been within two metres of someone for more than 15 minutes, either as a one-off contact, or added up together over one day. Please bear this in mind when identifying close contacts of a COVID positive student or staff member, and consider for visiting staff and school supervisor roles that may still be moving between different areas of the school. Previously the definition was just a single period of at least 15 minutes.

Finally, we realise the changes in national policy on school testing make a difficult situation even harder. As you know we did not support daily serial testing and this has now thankfully been paused. We still want to support your school or home based twice-weekly testing (as per Government guidance). Short testing Strategy documents for primary, secondary and special schools can be found visa the links above.

 

Other information

Disposing of LFT kits

Schools have been asking questions about safe disposal of LFT kits, as we have heard private companies have been offering to help dispose of ‘high risk / clinical waste’ for schools. LFTs are not high-risk clinical waste. As LFTs are now licensed for home use and being widely used in home and workplace environments we advise they are disposed of by schools in the same fashion as PPE (i.e. using double bagging, 72 hour safe storage and domestic waste disposal). The following extract from NHS England guidance for primary care support this.

“As staff are required to conduct the test at home, they can safely dispose of the test items in their normal household waste but should pour any residual buffer solution away first. Even if the test is positive, the test kit can be disposed as normal household waste. As set out in the manufacturer’s safety instructions, the buffer solution is not hazardous; however, if accidentally ingested, a medical practitioner should be informed”

Reporting of COVID cases

Please report positive cases  of COVID-19, whether LFT or PCR, using the same reporting lines. We are treating the response to a positive LFT test the same as PCR tests so early and accurate information is still required. Although there are some issues with the sensitivity of LFT tests (the Liverpool mass testing pilot showed LFTs miss 50% of cases), when LFTs do test positive this is generally confirmed by gold standard PCR tests (i.e. very few false positives).

Well-being

Please see the new Self-help booklet on our BSO website which covers everything from mental health, fuel and food poverty to furlough and financial support for families (please have a few copies handy in school).  

 

Q&A

Clarification on self-isolation periods:

A question we continue to be asked about is clarification of which day self-isolation starts.

For COVID positive cases:

  • For symptomatic confirmed cases: day 0 = day symptoms start, self-isolation starts next day = day 1 to 10, day 11 = can return to school
  • For asymptomatic confirmed cases: day 0 = day test was done, self-isolation starts next day = day 1 to 10, day 11 = can return to school
  • For asymptomatic confirmed cases where symptoms start after the test is done, restart your 10 day isolation, day 1 = day symptoms start, self-isolation = day 1 to 10, day 11 = can return to school

For COVID contacts

For an identified COVID contact, day 0 = day the first person in the household/school developed symptoms or, if they do not have symptoms, from the day their test was taken, self-isolation staerts next day = day 1 to 10, day 11 = can return to school

 

Shielding

Shielding for individual who are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV)

Individuals who are CEV should “shield” up to 2 December. This means they should stay at home as much as possible, and are strongly advised to work from home. If they cannot work from home, they should not attend work for this period of restrictions.  Children whose doctors have confirmed they are still clinically extremely vulnerable are advised not to attend school while this advice is in place (and should have received new letters). The current Government advice is that  Children who live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable, but who are not clinically extremely vulnerable themselves, should still attend school. We will keep this last piece of advice closely under review.

I am not sure if a  child in my school is extremely clinically vulnerable

Please contact the parent/carer to establish lish if they have received a shielding letter. If they have not received a shielding letter but  think they should have please ask them to contact their local General Practitioner (GP) who will be able to let tell them  whether their child is clinically extremely vulnerable.

A child in my school  was on the  clinically extremely vulnerable list last time will they also be this time?

Not all children who were on the shielding list will be identified to be clinically extremely vulnerable.  This is because clinicians have a better understanding of how Covid-19 impacts children.  However, if you are not sure, then please have a discussion with the child’s parent/carer.  

A  child in my school is not on the list and I think they should be. How do I get help with this?

Please contact the child’s parents to discuss your concerns. Weather a child is identified as CEV is a clinical decision.  All GPs have received advice form the NHS on how to support families in this situation.  

A parent or an member of the household is on the clinically extremely vulnerable list and is worried about sending their child to school. How should I advise them?

Please be ready to tell parents about how you  are  managing Covid-19 risks in school and point parents/carers to guidance on  how they can manage the risk and say safe at home.

 

Overlapping and non-overlapping isolation

How long  do I have to  isolate for if I develop Covid19 symptoms?

If someone develops COVID symptoms they must self-isolate for 10 days from the start of symptoms (or test date) and also 10 days for their household or contacts.  So, If they have tested positive then recover, and pass out of the self-isolation period (10 days) the episode is over and they go back to their normal routine.

What if while I am isolating after testing positive for Covid 19 and other members of my household subsequently test positive?

If you are already COVID positive or starting a 10 day isolation as a contact you do not need to extend self-isolation if other household members develop symptoms during your isolation. This because people in the household who remain well after 10 days are unlikely to be infectious. Only new symptomatic or positive cases start a new 10 day isolation period.

What happy if I have just or recently finished  period of isolation and a member of my household  subsequently tests positive for Covid 19?

The clocks start from scratch again if your household has stopped isolation. If there is a gap then someone develops new COVID symptoms (even if previously testing positive) they should get a test. In these circumstance you should start isolation again as above. You cannot assume immunity.

 

Below are some suggested responses to media enquiries put together by Bradford Council communications team.

If your school's situation, or the enquiry is particularly complex, and you would like communications support with media interest, please contact;
 

Steve Hemming,  Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Manager, 
T: 07582 101 021 - Email: steve.hemming@bradford.gov.uk

Rebecca Smith, Marketing and CommunicationsOfficer, 
T: 07779 543 921 - Email: rebecca.smith@bradford.gov.uk

Or the Council's Media and Communications Team on - Email: press.communication@bradford.gov.uk 

More general communications advice is available in the communications toolkit page.

 

 


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