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Cambridgeshire parents warned to remain vigilant and test school children regularly

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Parents of schoolchildren are being urged to test them regularly and remain cautious as more restrictions are lifted today (May 17).

Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council Director of Education Jonathan Lewis has joined forces with headteachers to remind parents of the need for vigilance.

It follows a rise – particularly in the Peterborough area – in the number of Covid-19 infections in the 0-17 age range.

Jonathan Lewis, director for education in Cambridgeshire.
Jonathan Lewis, director for education in Cambridgeshire.

In the letter he says testing remains essential – for both staff and pupils – and that the results of all tests taken by pupils at home must be reported to the local authority via the school.

“Please make sure everyone in your house aged over 11 is taking two lateral flow (rapid) tests every week and reporting the results. If the rapid test is positive, book a PCR (laboratory) test immediately. There is good support for people who must legally self-isolate if they or their children test positive,” the letter continues.

From today (May 17) the Government is recommending secondary school students remove face coverings in classrooms and communal areas. However, schools may choose to enforce the use of face coverings in communal areas for pupils especially up until half term. This is to facilitate learning and because everyone is testing twice weekly – not because the virus has gone away.

Staff do not need to wear face-coverings in classrooms but all adults - including contractors and parents - need to wear them in communal areas like corridors, staff rooms or at school gates where social distancing is not possible.

Where there is an outbreak in the school or the community rate is high, individual schools will be advised that they should reintroduce face coverings.

Also, for parents dropping off and collecting children from school, headteachers can still request that they continue to wear face coverings. This may not be a requirement after June 21, but the advice from the local authority is to continue until then. Face coverings must still be worn by students aged 11 and over on public and school transport.

Jon Lewis said: “There may be some further relaxations in the rules, but the Government has made it clear that the pandemic is not yet over. Locally people are still being admitted to hospital because of Covid-19 or suffering effects of ‘long Covid’ so we must take great care to make sure the virus can’t spiral out of control again. Testing remains essential – for both staff and pupils. It is our key protective measure.”

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