Schools update from BCC Public Health
8th June 2021
You will have seen that in some areas of the UK rates of infection have escalated significantly over the last 6 weeks, with the Variant of Concern (Delta Variant) driving this increase.
Latest evidence is that this variant is more infectious than previous strains. However, the vaccine appears effective, once 2 doses have been completed, in preventing infection and / or severe illness.
This has led to additional work to bring forward the second vaccination towards 8 weeks rather than the original 12 week gap between doses.
All 30+ are now eligible, plus anyone identified as at risk due to a health condition. We continue to ask that this is promoted to staff and families as an important way to help protect themselves and others.
In Bristol we have also seen an uptick of Covid cases in schools, particularly primary and a small number of Delta Variant have been found through Whole Genome Sequencing.
Any school affected has been contacted by either ourselves or PHE to support work to self-isolate and undertake more detailed contact tracing and testing.
What has been apparent is that many of the younger children were asymptomatic and parental choice to LFD test has been a really helpful aid to early identification.
As we start a new term PHE and BCC PH would recommend all schools to continue to:
- Promote continued LFD testing at least twice weekly of staff and secondary age students
- Promote LFD testing of families / households at least twice weekly where children under age 11 live
- Swiftly self-isolate and seek PCR testing for anyone with a positive LFD or any symptoms, including milder illness such as headache, sore throat / cold symptoms
- Self-isolate close contacts of suspected cases pending PCR results
In addition, as a targeted measure, we are also asking that, once a positive PCR result is received, all close contacts seek a PCR test. The close contact PCR test can be booked via the national portal, even if there are no symptoms, by ticking the box to say that the person has been advised to take a test by the school.
It is important to note that even if a close contact receives a negative PCR they must still complete the 10 day self- isolation period linked to the original case.