Coronavirus information and guidance

Back to school

Welcome back.  As you will know, nationally there has been an easing of restrictions but Covid has not gone away; it is still with us.

Attendance

New guidance has been issued regarding school attendance by the Department for Education, but first and foremost it needs to be pointed out that attendance at school is mandatory and parents have a duty to make sure their children attend. This also means avoiding booking holidays and requesting leave during term time. There are consequences for those who do not attend school, including fines and court appearances. I would urge anyone who has concerns about sending their child to school for any reason, to make early contact with your school to discuss any concerns you may have.

All school pupils, year 7 and above, have been asked to do 2 LFD tests before returning to school, ideally at a school testing site. Each school will be sending out information on where and when to do this test if they haven’t already. Please contact your school for more information. Further information can be accessed via the Southend learning Network

Vaccinations

Jabs are now being offered to 16 to 17 year olds and I would urge those old enough to get their jab as soon as possible. The Council’s latest #GrabThe Jab campaign was developed for younger people to help them feel safe and confident as they begin to enjoy the activities that have been restricted, such as festivals, holidays and seeing vulnerable loved ones. There are walk-in vaccination centres in Southend, including one at the Civic Centre on Victoria Avenue, which is open daily.

Testing

This remains vital for the ongoing safety of your friends, family and the wider community.

Please:

  • Test before returning to school
  • Continue to test twice weekly
  • Supervise your children while they carry out the test
  • Wait the full 30 minutes before checking the result
  • Record the result on the NHS website
  • If a test is positive, follow-up with a PCR test, for confirmation and to help scientists identify which variant
  • If a PCR is taken within two days of a positive LFD test and is negative, this overrides the LFD test, and the student may return to school

If you are worried about carrying out a self-test, there is assisted testing in eight pharmacies across the Borough where you can get help to do your test. If your test is positive and your household needs to isolate, there is still funding support in place for those who qualify. For additional information go to the Coronavirus information and guidance section on our website.

Isolating

If you are contacted by someone who has tested positive, please follow the Government’s latest guidance about whether you need to self-isolate or not at gov.uk.

Individual school changes

Some schools may decide to retain certain elements of the previous restrictions or there may be circumstances where your school reintroduces temporary measures, such as face masks in communal areas. Please support the school with any such measures as it is for the ongoing safety and wellbeing of all students and staff.

Stay Safe

We need to continue the good work from last year and carry on playing our part to keep everyone safe. I urge you to do what you can; use hand sanitiser, wash your hands regularly, keep your distance wherever possible and if you want to wear a mask, please do so.

Also everyone’s Covid experience has been slightly different; some people might wear a mask to protect a vulnerable loved one at home, or some might feel anxious about returning to normal life. So please respect the decisions of other people and be kind.

More questions?

You can visit the individual school website. If you want to find out more about the Government’s guidance to schools, you can find it on gov.uk.

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Telephone: 01702 215000

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