Advice to all Parents/Carers following guidance from Public Health England.

(To download the letter please click here)

We have been advised by Public Health England that there has been a number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 within The Oaks Specialist College.

We know that you may find this concerning, but we are continuing to monitor the situation and are working closely with Public Health England. This information is to inform you of the current situation and provide advice on how to support your son/daughter. Please be reassured that for most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.

As of today, 20th September 2021, The Oaks is temporarily closed to all learners and online learning will be put in place as an interim measure. We have taken this step in order to keep learners and staff safe and to minimise the risk of continuing infection.

We encourage you to follow Public Health England’s advice for your household to continue with twice weekly Lateral Flow testing to help identify any cases promptly and follow this up with a PCR Test if a Lateral Flow test is positive. (Please refrain from eating and drinking 30 minutes before taking the test as this can affect the validity of the results.)

If you think your son/daughter is a close contact of someone who has tested positive but has not been contacted directly by NHS Test and Trace please follow the guidance:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-contacts-of-people-with-possible-or-confirmed-coronavirus-covid-19-infection-who-do-not-live-with-the-person/guidance-for-contacts-of-people-with-possible-or-confirmed-coronavirus-covid-19-infection-who-do-not-live-with-the-person#i-think-i-have-had-contact-with-someone-who-has-tested-positive-for-covid-19-but-i-have-not-been-notified-and-advised-to-self-isolate-what-should-i-do

Advice from Public Health England:

What to do if your son/daughter develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or tests positive for COVID-19

If your son/daughter develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), they should get a PCR test and remain at home at least until the result is known.

If negative, the learner can end self-isolation.

If positive, they should isolate until at least 10 days after their symptoms appeared. Symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are a new, continuous cough, or a high temperature, or a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia).

If the learner has a positive test result but does not have symptoms, they should stay at home and self-isolate for 10 days from the date the positive test was taken. This isolation period will be extended if they go on to develop symptoms by counting 10 full days from the day following their symptom onset. Anyone with symptoms will be eligible for a PCR test (the normally available test type) and this can be arranged via Get a free PCR test to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) or by calling 119.

Instructions for people who live in the same household as someone with COVID-19 (tested positive or symptomatic awaiting a test result)

As of 16 August, you are not required to self-isolate if you are a contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and any of the following apply:

  • you are fully vaccinated
  • you are below the age of 18 years 6 months
  • you have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
  • you are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons

Fully vaccinated means that you have been vaccinated with an MHRA approved COVID-19 vaccine in the UK, and at least 14 days have passed since you received the recommended doses of that vaccine.

NHS Test and Trace will contact you to let you know that you have been identified as a contact and check whether you are legally required to self-isolate. If you are not legally required to self-isolate, you will be provided with advice on testing and given guidance on preventing the spread of COVID-19. Even if you do not have symptoms, you will be advised to have a PCR test as soon as possible.

Any member of the household who is aged 18 years and 6 months or over and is not fully vaccinated will still be required to self-isolate as they will have had direct contact with someone with COVID-19 symptoms awaiting testing and/or someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Please read the stay at home guidance which provides information on this.

Household members who are not exempt from isolation as close contacts should not go to work, school/college/childcare/education setting or public areas, and exercise should be taken within the home. If you require help with buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication, or walking a dog, you should ask friends or family. Alternatively, you can order your shopping online and medication by phone or online. Household members staying at home for 10 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community.

You could be fined if you do not self-isolate following a notification by NHS Test and Trace. You may be entitled to a one-off payment of £500 through the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment scheme if you are the parent or guardian of someone who has been told to self-isolate.

Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable should be supported to minimise their contact with other people in the household during this period, regardless of whether others have symptoms or not.

Instructions for household contacts who are not required to self-isolate from 16 August

Even if you are vaccinated, you can still be infected with COVID-19 and pass it on to others. If you are identified as a contact of someone with COVID-19 but you are not required to self-isolate, you can help protect others by following the guidance on how to stay safe and help prevent the spread. As well as getting a PCR test, you may also consider:

  • limiting close contact with other people outside your household, especially in enclosed spaces
  • wearing a face covering for those aged 11 and over in crowded places such as school/college/public transport
  • limiting contact with anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable
  • taking part in regular LFD testing

You should follow this advice while the person in your household with COVID-19 is self-isolating.

If you are a health or social care worker or a student undertaking a work placement who has been identified as a household contact and are exempt from self-isolation, there is additional guidance available that you should follow to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 in these settings.

If you develop symptoms at any time, even if these are mild, self-isolate immediately, arrange to have a COVID-19 PCR test and follow the guidance for people with COVID-19 symptoms.

For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.

If your son/daughter does develop symptoms, you can seek advice from the nhs.uk website at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/check-if-you-have-coronavirus-symptoms/. If you are concerned about your son/daughter’s symptoms, or they are worsening you can seek advice from NHS 111 at https://111.nhs.uk/ or by phoning 111.

How to stop coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading

There are things you can do to help reduce the risk of you and anyone you live with getting ill with coronavirus (COVID-19):

  • get vaccinated – everyone aged 18 and over can book COVID-19 vaccination appointments
  • wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • meet people outside and avoid crowded areas
  • open doors and windows to let in fresh air if meeting people inside
  • wear a face covering if aged 11 and over when it’s hard to stay away from other people – particularly indoors or in crowded places
  • participate in twice weekly LFD testing following national guidelines (recommended for 11 years and over). We encourage you to log your results here: https://www.gov.uk/log-test-site-covid19-results

Further Information is available at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

We will, of course, be providing material and resources so that all learners can continue learning at home whilst this regrettable but unavoidable phase of dealing with Coronavirus continues. We will reopen for learners as soon as it is safe to do so.