Frequently asked Questions.

Across the trust we have ensured that we have put in place additional measures to ensure the safety of our pupils and staff please take a look across our COVID-19 Frequently asked Questions to find further details of these measures and answers to the questions that you may have.

 Many thanks.

What are the latest National Lockdown Restrictions?

COVID-19 case numbers are now very high and rising rapidly across the country, driven by the new variant of COVID-19.

The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

You should follow this guidance immediately. This is the law.

This guidance provides information on what you can and cannot do during this National Lockdown.

This guidance is for people who are fit and well. There is additional advice for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus and households with a possible or confirmed coronavirus infection. If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should follow resumed shielding guidance and should not attend work, school, college or university. You should limit the time you spend outside the home. You should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential.

What additional measures are we making to minimise risk during the latest National Lockdown?

Reminders issued across all sites:

  • Social Distancing
  • Wearing face masks
  • Washing hands
  • Catch it, bin it, kill it.
  • Ventilation - windows open
  • Increased cleaning

All staff must maintain at least 2m distance from each other, informed to be particularly careful around ‘bottlenecks’ areas.

All staff are to wear face coverings in communal areas of the school, in addition enhanced PPE such as visors and gloves can also be worn if needed. Visors must only be worn in addition to face coverings not in replace off. 

The leadership team maintain their Open Door Policy, however unless absolutely necessary, staff are to contact them via phone or Teams. This is to reduce mixing of Pods within offices and the meeting of staff within small spaces. Highlighting that it is important that no one walks into rooms unannounced to make sure that people in the room have time to put on a face covering / distance.

Staff informed not to enter the admin offices, unless agreed to ensure social distancing is maintained and face coverings can be put on in time.

Rooms are to be as well ventilated as possible by having at least one window open to maintain.

Using only toilets within the relevant PODs.

Staff rooms to be utilised where possible to specific PODs.

Where possible only using printers and photocopiers nearest to own classroom.

Across trust timetables and rotas being implemented to ensuring safe staffing ratios and enhanced classroom social distancing.

Across trust, where required timetables adjusted for PE and Music ensuring no mixing of PODS.

Across trust cleaning regimes and heightened measures around cleaning of playground equipment in-between use and sanitising before and after use.

What is Lateral Flow Testing (LFT) and what has been done to introduce Lateral Flow testing within our trust?

What is Lateral Flow Testing?

A nasal and mouth swab that is conducted as a quick and accurate way of detecting the level of virus in people who don’t have any symptoms, but who could still be infectious and pass the virus to others.

It is different to the PCR tests used at testing sites for those with symptoms. 

How does this relate to the COVID-19 Risk Assessment?

Up to one third of people who have coronavirus experience no symptoms. By testing we will help to stop the virus spread.

Lateral Flow testing when used in combination with other measures such as PPE, washing hands regularly and social distancing further reduce the risk of transmission. We must not relax any if these measures.

Lateral Flow Testing is only for ASYMPTOMATIC pupils and staff.

There is NO CHANGE to the guidance for people who do have symptoms:

What has been done?

The Trust have set up an Asymptomatic Testing Hub in the relevant academies and testing is being carried out with consenting staff and pupils of year 7 upwards.

Staff Testing:

The testing for staff is voluntary but encouraged amongst staff.

Staff testing would be self-administered in line with the necessary advice, guidance and support.

Testing is taking place in a controlled and safe manner. 

Pupil Testing:

The testing for pupils is voluntary. Even if consent has been provided, they will not have to take the test if at the time decide not to.

Note the need to be realistic about the practicalities of testing pupils, even for those with consent.

Testing would take place in a controlled and safe manner. 

We know these tests work - in validation studies conducted by Oxford University and Public Health England, they were shown to be as accurate in identifying a case as a PCR test (99.68% specificity). The tests have lower sensitivity, but they are better at picking up cases when a person has higher viral load, hence the need to test frequently.

Further information can be provided on request via the schools admin office.

For those pupils learning from home, what support is available to them?

Solent Academies Trust aims to continue to provide an ambitious and broad curriculum in all subject areas.

We have comprehensive plans for the provision of remote education where needed and to ensure that the small number of children that need to be educated at home, for example, due to shielding or self-isolating, are given the support they need to continue learning.

Please see our remote Learning section and further details here.

Where can I go to get support to help keep my child safe online?

There is a lot of support available to keep your child safe online. Below are some useful links to help parents and carers:

Online Safety

What is the latest advice on isolation periods?

Ensuring that pupils, staff and other adults do not come into the school if they have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have tested positive in at least the last 10 days and ensuring anyone developing those symptoms during the school day is sent home, are essential actions to reduce the risk in schools and further drive down transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Guidance has recently been updated to reflect the changes to the isolation period (from 14 days to 10 days from the day after the individual tested positive).

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools

What is the school doing to limit possible infection?

  • Staff, pupils, and parents are aware of the school’s procedures (including on self-isolation and testing should anyone display symptoms of COVID-19).
  • Cleaning capacity and routines are developed to meet new specifications. Please see below cleaning measures and what we are doing.
  • Movement around the school is in a safe and secure way with appropriate attention to social distancing.
  • Classrooms / POD spaces are established appropriately to deliver the bubble requirements and support infection control.
  • Worked closely with transport teams to minimise cross contamination between pods.
  • Provision of PPE for staff where required is in line with government guidelines.

What additional cleaning measures have been introduced within the school?

  • Sanitisers and cleaning equipment provided throughout the sites.
  • Site Managers on site during the day.
  • An enhanced cleaning plan is agreed and implemented which minimises the spread of infection.
  • Rigorous cleaning provided every day.
  • Cleaning throughout the day when bubble groups move between spaces and use shared spaces, doors etc.
  • Reminders are issued daily via staff briefings regarding washing of hands and using hand sanitiser.
  • Posters around the building on hand washing guidance from PHE.
  • Hand sanitiser dispensers are mounted strategically in the corridors and in each classroom at a high level for staff.
  • Staff to assist students in sanitising hands during the day.
  • Children and staff are encouraged not to touch mouth, eyes and nose.

Will cleaning personnel be provided with PPE?

  • Appropriate protective wear is made available to staff engaged in cleaning duties.

What is expected of pupils and staff in the school?

  • Engage with test and trace: All staff are asked to download the COVID-19 App which is designed to slow down the spread of COVID-19 by alerting people who may have been exposed to infections and reminds of the actions to take.
  • Respond quickly and be agile to the needs of the school and the pupils.
  • Maintain social distancing and increased levels of hygiene in accordance with the government guidance.
  • Communicate with parents and carers about the arrangements in place on a regular basis and immediately should there be any change.
  • Staff and pupils are aware of the school’s procedures (including on self-isolation and testing) should anyone display symptoms of COVID-19.

What will the school be doing to keep my child safe when they are in school?

A range of strategies will be undertaken to keep your child safe. We are following the government guidance which will include:

  • Breaktimes are staggered.
  • Children are encouraged to develop new games with minimal physical contact.
  • External areas are designated/zoned for different pods.
  • Pupils are reminded about safe spacing within their pods as break times begin.
  • Signage is in place around the school and in key areas.
  • Pupils wash their hands before they come back into the classroom.
  • Any entrance and exit spaces used by others are cleaned before another group uses the door.
  • The school does not provide for more pupils than can be supported when social distancing guidelines and safe spacing are applied.
  • Movement of pupils around school is minimised as much as possible, with pupils staying in classrooms and defined outside space.
  • Pupils are regularly briefed regarding safe spacing.

What if someone in my house tests positive?

A positive test result means they must complete a 10-day isolation period from the day after their positive result. 

The isolation period includes the day their symptoms started (or the day that their test was taken if they do not have symptoms), and the next 10 full days. This means that if, for example, their symptoms started at any time on the 15th of the month (or if they did not have symptoms but your first positive COVID-19 test was taken on the 15th), their isolation period ends at 23:59 hrs on the 25th.

  • They can return to their normal routine and stop self-isolating after 10 full days if their symptoms have gone, or if the only symptoms they have are a cough or anosmia, which can last for several weeks. If they still have a high temperature after 10 days or are otherwise unwell, they should stay at home and seek medical advice.
  • If they are isolating because of a positive test result but did not have any symptoms and they develop COVID-19 symptoms within their isolation period, start a new 10 day isolation period by counting 10 full days from the day following the symptom onset.

How Long would I need to self- isolate?

If someone you live with has tested positive and:

they have symptoms – self-isolate for 10 days from when their symptoms started.

they have not had symptoms – self-isolate for 10 days from when they had their test.

If they get symptoms while they're self-isolating, the 10 days restarts from when their symptoms started.

The 10 days does not restart if a different person you live with gets symptoms while you're self-isolating.

You can return to your normal routine and stop self-isolating after 10 full days if your symptoms have gone, or if the only symptoms you have are a cough or anosmia, which can last for several weeks. If you still have a high temperature after 10 days or are otherwise unwell, stay at home and seek medical advice.

If you are isolating because of a positive test result but did not have any symptoms, and you develop COVID-19 symptoms within your isolation period, start a new 10 day isolation period by counting 10 full days from the day following your symptom onset.

Further advice

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-and-treatment/how-long-to-self-isolate/

 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

 

What is the organisation of teaching spaces?

  • Classrooms / POD spaces are established appropriately to deliver the bubble requirements and support infection control.

What will happen if the teacher exhibits symptoms of COVID-19?

  • If anyone in our schools become unwell with a new continuous cough or a high temperature or has a loss of or change in their normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia), they will be sent home and be advised to follow the guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. This sets out that they must:
  • Self-isolate for at least 10 days.
  • Arrange to have a test to see if they have coronavirus (COVID-19).

What will happen if a child exhibits symptoms of COVID-19?

  • If your child develops symptoms during the school day: Appropriate PPE (face shield, face mask, plastic apron and latex gloves) is available for any staff member having to support a child or staff member showing symptoms
  • Additional rooms are designated for pupils with suspected COVID-19 whilst collection is arranged.
  • Procedures are in place for medical rooms to be cleaned after suspected COVID-19 cases, along with other affected areas, including toilets.
  • A window will be open for ventilation.
  • If your child develops symptoms of COVID-19 whilst at home, they should remain at home for 10 days from the date when their symptoms appeared. Anyone with symptoms will be eligible for testing and this can be arranged via https://www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-testor or by calling 119.
  • Parent to inform school once child’s test result is back. If negative, no further action from school. If positive, please see below.

What happens if my child was tested positive for COVID-19?

A positive test result means that your child / household must complete a 10-day isolation period from the day after your child's positive result. 

  • Staff and parents of the children within the pod will be informed and sent home. Staff and children will remain in the isolation area until this is able to happen.  These staff and pupils should remain at home and self-isolate for 10 days.  
  • If your child develops symptoms during the school day: Appropriate PPE (face shield, face mask, plastic apron and latex gloves) is available for any staff member having to support a child or staff member showing symptoms.
  • Additional rooms are designated for pupils with suspected COVID-19 whilst collection is arranged.
  • Procedures are in place for medical rooms to be cleaned after suspected COVID-19 cases, along with other affected areas, including toilets.

If my child must self-isolate, will the school provide home-learning resources?

  • Where pupils for any reason are at home and needing to access home learning, comprehensive arrangements are in place to enable their needs to be met.

When can someone return to school after self-isolating?

They can return to your normal routine and stop self-isolating after 10 full days if their symptoms have gone, or if the only symptoms they have are a cough or anosmia, which can last for several weeks. If they still have a high temperature after 10 days or are otherwise unwell, stay at home and seek medical advice.

How will you maintain the 2-metre distancing rule?

  • Signage is placed in appropriate areas; reminders are issued via daily staff briefings.
  • Staff rooms and offices have been reviewed and appropriate configurations of furniture and workstations have been put in place to allow for social distancing of adults.
  • Staff have been briefed on the use of these rooms.
  • Pupils are regularly briefed regarding safe spacing.
  • Movement of pupils around school is minimised as much as possible, with pupils staying in classrooms and defined outside space.

What happens following an alert to a positive case?

  • Staff and parents of the children within the pod will be informed and sent home. Staff and children will remain in the isolation area until this is able to happen.  These staff and pupils should remain at home and self-isolate for 10 days from the day after the individual tested positive.  
  • Inform the school of their test result.
  • All stakeholders will be contacted with the necessary course of action for themselves or their child.

What will be done if there is an outbreak at the school?

  • If anyone in our schools become unwell with a new continuous cough, high temperature or has a loss of or change in their normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia), they must be sent home and be advised to follow the guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. This sets out that they must:
  • Self-isolate for at least 10 days.
  • Arrange to have a test to see if they have coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Where a member of staff or a pupil test positive for a case of COVID-19, a member of the leadership response team will report the case to the Department for Education (DFE) COVID-19 helpline and undertake a dynamic risk assessment with Public Health England (PHE), to establish if a partial or a closure of a POD, or whole school closure (when it is unsafe to open the school).

Do staff and children need to wear face coverings?

Pupils and staff will be receiving support, guidance and education on safe wearing of face coverings. In addition communications will have been issued to parents and carers advising of this requirement.

In education settings where year 7 and above are educated, reusable fabric face coverings should be worn by adults (staff and visitors) and pupils when moving around indoors, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain.

As in the general approach, it will not usually be necessary to wear face coverings in the classroom, where protective measures already mean the risks are lower, and they may inhibit teaching and learning.

Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings. For example people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability, or if individuals are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate. The same exemptions will apply in education settings and as a trust we will be considerate of the needs of our pupils and staff. We will work with them to decide upon any reasonable adjustments that need to be made.

To avoid inadvertently increasing the risks of transmission.

It is reminded that safe wearing of face coverings requires cleaning of hands before and after touching – including to remove or put them on – and the safe storage of them in individual, sealable plastic bags between use. Where a face covering becomes damp, it should not be worn, and the face covering should be replaced carefully. 

This video provides advice and information on how to wear and use a fabric mask safely.

 

As a reminder:

Symptoms of COVID 19:

The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:

  • new continuous cough and/or
  • high temperature and/or
  • a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

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

If your child does develop symptoms, you can seek advice from NHS 111 at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/check-if-you-have-coronavirus-symptoms/or by phoning 111.

How to stop COVID-19 spreading

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

Do

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • 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

Further Information

Further information is available at

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

 

 On request a full copy of our trust COVID-19 Risk Assessment can be provided.