COVID-19: Any specific information relating to Pembrokeshire will be updated at www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus or How to apply for a Covid-19 test, gov.wales/apply-coronavirus-covid-19-test

Children and Schools - Transition to the new normal

COVID-19 School FAQs

The following frequently asked questions have been developed to answer the majority of your queries at this time.

If you have a query about your child’s school please contact the school directly

 

What has been done to make schools safe?

Do you have a child 3-4 years old?

Do staff/pupils have to wear face coverings?

What happens if a member of our household has symptoms of Covid-19?

What happens if a pupil or teacher starts to show symptoms of Covid-19 while in school?

What is lateral flow testing and who is eligible for it?

 

 

What has been done to make schools safe?

Coronavirus rates are falling across Wales to enable the return of pupils to schools.

Please be assured that the safety of both pupils and staff is our main priority, and we have robust health and safety measures in place, which are consistent with the measures identified in the most recent scientific advice and current Welsh Government guidance.

These include:

  • Staggered start and finish times to reduce congestion around school gates at drop-off and collection times
  • Effective and frequent hand-washing/sanitising
  • Wearing of face coverings (where appropriate)
  • Managing movements around the school to reduce contacts
  • Ventilation in classrooms via open windows/air conditioning
  • 2m social distancing between adults at all times
  • Maintaining pupils in consistent contact groups/classroom bubbles
  • High levels of effective cleaning
  • Staff and pupils to stay at home if they have symptoms, have tested positive or are required to self-isolate
  • Effective management of symptomatic pupils / staff at school

Research shows that transmission rates between children and other children, and children and adults in schools is very low; and transmission is more likely in households or via community-based activities for example, sleepovers, children’s parties, parents meeting in other homes etc.

Children should not be mixing outside of the classroom environment and contact groups/classroom bubbles only apply within the school setting.

It is extremely important that we all continue to follow the guidance around hand-washing, social distancing and face coverings. We cannot reiterate how important this is to reduce transmission within our communities.

Please remember:

  • Only one parent to drop-off/collect children
  • Wear face coverings (unless exempt)
  • Maintain a minimum of 2m social distance from other adults including school staff
  • Do not gather at the school - leave as soon as you have dropped off/collected your children
  • Do not to attend school if self-isolating or you have any symptoms
  • Do not enter the school grounds without permission (unless in an emergency)

If you or your child or anyone else living in your household has any of the Covid-19 symptoms, you must immediately self-isolate and get tested. It is also important that you inform your school if your child tests positive.

 

Do you have a child 3-4 years old? If so, you may be eligible for The Childcare Offer for Wales. The Childcare Offer for Wales provides 30 hours a week of government-funded early education (FPN) and childcare for eligible working parents of 3 to 4 year olds, for up to 48 weeks of the year.  For more information, please visit: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/the-childcare-offer-wales

Important note: The Coronavirus Childcare Assistance Scheme (CCAS) is not currently in place.

 

Do staff/pupils have to wear face coverings?

New operational guidance from Welsh Government now states that if 2m social distancing cannot be maintained, face coverings should be worn, including in the classroom by primary and secondary school staff as well as secondary school pupils.

The exception is at mealtimes and when they are outside, unless the school risk assessment indicates that additional measures are needed, for example on a school yard where there are a large number of learners in a relatively small space without separation of contact groups (such as when waiting to enter school).

Pupils aged 11 and over are also required to wear face coverings on school transport.

Visitors to the school or setting should use a face covering, including parents when dropping off and picking up learners.

This use of face coverings does not apply to those pupils who are exempt for medical reasons.

We are encouraging the use of reusable face coverings where possible, rather than single use face coverings, as not only is this better for the environment but it costs less too.

It is important to remember that face coverings are not to be used as a substitute for social distancing and handwashing.

The use of face coverings in schools will be continually reviewed.

Please see Welsh Government guidance on how to make a 3 layer face covering.

 

What happens if a member of our household has symptoms of Covid-19?

If a child/parent/household member develops symptoms of COVID-19, the entire household should immediately self-isolate, and you should book a test for the individual with the symptoms.

Please remember if your child, or any member of your household has Covid-19 symptoms please request a test by phoning 119 or using the online portal.

The COVID-19 symptoms are:

·       a new continuous cough: this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature) 

·       a high temperature: this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

·       loss of or change to sense of smell or taste: this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

If a child does NOT have symptoms of COVID-19 but has other cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, they do not need to be tested and they and you do not need to self-isolate. Your child can go to school if fit to do so.

If your child has a positive test result outside of school hours please contact education.coronavirus@pembrokeshire.gov.uk providing your child’s name, year group and school.

 

What happens if a pupil or teacher starts to show symptoms of Covid-19 while in school?

There are clear processes in place if any pupil or member of staff displays symptoms whilst in school to ensure the safety of everyone.

 

What is lateral flow testing and who is eligible for it?

All school staff and upper secondary school pupils in years 10 to 13 are being offered lateral flow testing that they can carry out at home twice a week.

The aim is to quickly identify those who are unknowingly carrying the virus so that they can self-isolate. Many people with COVID-19 have mild, or even no symptoms, but can still spread the virus. With regular self-testing we can slow the spread and help protect the most vulnerable in our families and communities. 

Self-testing for COVID-19 is simple, quick and can be carried out at home without the need to attend a test centre or post samples to a lab for analysis. Lateral flow devices (LFDs) are easy to use and give results in 30 minutes.

Testing is voluntary, but individuals are strongly encouraged to take up the offer to further reduce the risk of transmission in those that do not show any symptoms.

It is important to remember that the purpose of the testing is to complement the safety measures that have already been put in place in schools to allow face-to-face learning, such as social distancing and wearing face coverings. Furthermore, a negative LFD result should not be read as a means to relax or ignore social distancing or other measures to help reduce transmission – lateral flow testing is an additional tool that contributes to reducing risk.

The testing kits can be collected from your school, who will also provide you with further information on when and how to carry out the tests and how to record the results, and what you should do if you test positive.

Further information on lateral flow testing in schools including some useful FAQs can be found on the Welsh Government website

 

Should you have any queries that aren’t answered here, please email education.coronavirus@pembrokeshire.gov.uk and we will provide you with a timely response.

 

Related links

Operational guidance for schools and settings

Welsh Government: Updated FAQs

Welsh Government: Childcare and play: alert level 4 FAQs 

Public Health Wales: Schools and Covid 19: Information for Parents

 

 

ID: 6553, revised 19/04/2021