As children complete their third week back at school, Helen Christmas, Hull’s public health lead for children and families reflects on their return.
Helen said: “We always knew the return to school was going to be challenging, with much wider use of asymptomatic testing helping us to identify more Covid cases that we wouldn’t have known about otherwise.
“I work closely with headteachers across the city and we had been planning the logistics of testing and school return for some time. Our aim is to minimise disruption to families whilst making sure that anyone who has Covid or is a close contact of someone with Covid stays at home to keep schools safe.
“Over the last three weeks we have seen about a third of all schools with at least one bubble closed and we know this has been difficult for the children and families affected. However, every bubble closure means those people are not passing on the virus unknowingly. So whilst bubble closures are disruptive, they are essential to help prevent coronavirus from being spread within schools.
“The return to school has been important for the health and wellbeing of children, and in Hull we have had more than 30,000 pupils in school each day over the last three weeks. It is fantastic that these children have been able to see their friends again and resume their face to face learning.
“Schools have worked tirelessly to ensure safety measures are in place throughout their schools, and home learning is in place for pupils who need to isolate.
“As Easter approaches, I hope everyone enjoys the holidays, but it is so important that people continue to follow the key measures, including social distancing and washing hands regularly so that we don’t bring new cases of Covid back into school after the holidays.”
Helen’s key facts about testing, to help prevent spread of coronavirus –
- If anyone has symptoms of coronavirus, book a PCR test.
- LFTs (Lateral Flow Tests) can be ordered by families to use at home twice a week. These quick tests are for people who don’t have symptoms.
- Anyone who gets a positive result from a home LFT should isolate, along with the whole household, and book a PCR test to confirm the result.
- Even if you get a negative home LFT result, people still need to social distance, wash hands and wear face coverings, as these tests don’t detect every case.
- Home LFTs are not meant for primary age children or younger.
- It is a legal requirement to isolate, for ten days, if you are identified as a contact of a person with Coronavirus, as it can take a few days for the infection to develop after someone catches it.