23 September 2020
Dear parents and guardians,
This is an important letter to share some information on how we can work together to make sure we can continue to give children and young people the best education in the safest way possible.
One important part of ensuring the safety and wellbeing of pupils, parents and our communities is testing for coronavirus. We all have a duty to make sure that the right people have access to get tested at the right time. Every time a test is used inappropriately, a person with Covid-19 symptoms may miss out on getting tested.
Therefore, I ask that you all follow these principles:
No one else in the same class or bubble as the symptomatic person needs to take any action unless advised by the school. Schools have detailed guidance and access to a Department for Education and Public Health England helpline for advice and support.
Contacts of a person who has tested positive must follow the guidance carefully and in full, which means they must stay at home for 14 days. This is because it can take several days following contact with an infected person before an individual develops symptoms or the virus can be detected. Students should only book a test if they get symptoms.
The NHS has produced some guidance to help parents understand when their child can and cannot attend school which you may find useful: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy- body/is-my-child-too-ill-for-school/
It is vital for children’s learning and future opportunities that they are able to return to school and college. It is therefore vitally important that all we work together and do our bit to make this possible.
Professor Viv Bennett CBE
Chief Nurse and Director Maternity and Early Years | Public Health England
Head of World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Public Health Nursing and Midwifery
Follow me on Twitter: @VivJBennett
Dr Susan Hopkins
Interim Chief Medical Officer | NHS Test & Trace
Deputy Director | Public Health England
Consultant in Infectious Diseases & Microbiology
Royal Free, London