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Back to school

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Children and young people can look forward to returning to the classroom next month, but parents and carers are urged to follow guidelines.

From the start of the new term students will no longer need to be in bubbles or self-isolate if they have been in contact with a positive case, but they are advised to have a PCR test.

If the test result is negative, they may continue to attend their educational setting, if positive they must self-isolate for a full 10 days from the date of the test.

Students at secondary schools and colleges must take two lateral flow tests at the start of term and will then be asked to continue with testing twice weekly at home. Staff in all schools will also be expected to complete twice weekly testing.

Children aged 12 to 15 with specific underlying health conditions or who live with others at increased risk of getting seriously ill from Covid-19 are now eligible for the vaccine, along with anyone aged over 16.

Face coverings are now a personal choice, but they will be required on school transport.

Councillor Ruth Buttery, cabinet member for children and young people, said:

We look forward to welcoming students back into schools and colleges and we hope to start the new academic year as we mean to go on.
With rules changing around self-isolation we hope this will reduce the impact on schools and the number of staff and students out at any one time, meaning we can once again focus on our children’s education as well as their social and emotional development.
We know being in school and the benefit of education significantly outweighs the risk of coronavirus to children and young people.

Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said:

Recent PHE data suggests that the vaccine and rapid asymptomatic testing have contributed to the reduction of risk of infection in schools. This is fantastic news, it means every time one of us has the vaccine or takes a test at home, we are all playing our part to not only keep each other safe but to keep our younger residents in schools and colleges. Please keep it up.

Self-isolation rules changed on August 16, which means anyone who is fully vaccinated, aged 18 and a half or under, can’t have the vaccination for medical reasons or have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial does not need to self-isolate.

Young children aged four and under do not need a PCR if they are a close contact, only if they have symptoms or someone in their house tests positive.

For more information go to https://www.dudley.gov.uk/coronavirusfamilies

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