Schoolchildren: please keep testing

Our Director of Public Health is asking parents and carers continue to encourage the young people in their household to test regularly following a recent slight rise in infection rates within schools.

Rapid Coronavirus LFD Test

Krishna Ramkhelawon, director of public health at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, is urging students to test twice weekly and ideally test the night before a school day. This is to prevent children from unknowingly spreading the virus to others and to protect the health of students, staff and the wider community.

Southend, like the rest of England, has seen an increase in the number of positive COVID results for the Delta variant over the past few weeks.

In the letter, Mr Ramkhelawon, explains: “Whilst overall infection rates remain low across the Borough currently, since the May/June half term there has been a rise in the number of infections within our schools and it does seem to be the younger generations who are becoming infected with this variant.”

Students are being requested to:

  • test twice weekly
  • ideally test the night before a school day
  • wait the full 30 minutes before checking the result
  • record the result on the NHS website
  • if your test has a positive result, you should self-isolate immediately and undertake a PCR test to confirm the result and help identify which variant you are infected with.

Testing kits are available from local pharmacies and the libraries listed in the letter below or can be ordered through the Government website to be delivered directly to your door. For those students who are less comfortable with self-testing, can access assisted testing from eight pharmacies across Southend who can help.

If your test is positive and your household needs to isolate, there is still funding support in place for those who qualify.

Cllr Laurie Burton, cabinet member for children and learning, said: ”We are grateful for the brilliant efforts our parents, students and staff have gone to, throughout this pandemic, to keep our children and wider community safe. We are kindly requesting that parents continue to support us in our efforts to prevent the spread of infection by ensuring their children test regularly and follow instructions to self-isolate where needed.”

For trusted information about Coronavirus, please visit our guidance pages.

This is the letter from Krishna Ramkhelawon, Director of Public Health for Southend-on-Sea, in full:

Dear parent or carer

Firstly, I want to thank you for your continued support and cooperation with school attendance and testing. I know that it has been challenging school year what with home learning, face coverings, altered school collections and testing, on top of all the other social restrictions this pandemic has brought. However, I hope you know how vitally important it has been and continues to be, for the protection of our students, our teaching staff, your family and the wider community.

As I am sure you have seen in the press and on social media, there has been an increase in the number of positive Covid results for the Delta variant in the north of England, as well as increases in Essex and Southend over the past few weeks. Whilst overall infection rates remain low across the Borough currently, since the May/June half term there has been a rise in the number of infections within our schools and it does seem to be the younger generations who are becoming infected with this variant.

So, I want to urge you to continue testing and encourage your teenagers and young people to do the same. Please make sure your children:

  • Test twice weekly
  • Ideally test the night before a school day
  • 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 you are worried about carrying out a self-test, there is assisted testing in eight pharmacies across the Borough where you can be helped 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.

You can find out more about Covid and what advice and support services are in place by visiting our Get Tested pages. There is also a link to the Government webpage where you can order home tests to be delivered directly to your door. You can also get test kits from the following libraries:

  • Southend Central Library at The Forum, Elmer Square, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS1 1NS
  • Westcliff Library, 649 London Road, Westcliff on Sea, Essex, SS0 9PD
  • Kent Elms Library, Rayleigh Road, Leigh-on-Sea Essex, SS9 5UU
  • Southchurch Library, 221 Lifstan Way, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS1 2XG
  • Leigh Library, Broadway West, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, SS9 2DA
  • Shoeburyness Library, Delaware Road, Southend-0n-Sea, Essex SS3 9NS
  • Or from Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre, Garon Park, Eastern Avenue, SS2 4FA

We only have five weeks until the end of the academic year. If we can just keep this going, it will help keep everyone safe until the summer holidays, when I will no doubt be encouraging you to continue testing. Thanks again for all you are continuing to do.

Yours sincerely

Published: 18th June 2021

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