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Health and Education directors have written to schools in Harlow Schools advising them of changes to government guidance on COVID.

Advice from Director of Public Health, Dr. Mike Gugarty and Director of Education, Claire Gugarty

Close contacts of confirmed cases of coronavirus

From today, the government has changed the rules regarding anyone who has been identified as a close contact of a confirmed and positive coronavirus case. These rules apply to the close contacts of the Delta and Omicron variants.

Any child (aged five to 18 years and six months) identified by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact of a COVID-19 case does not need to self-isolate.

Instead, they must continue to attend their school, but are strongly encouraged to take LFD exams daily for seven days.

If your child tests positive for the LFD test, the child must be isolated immediately, and you must book a PCR test for them online: Book a PCR Test. Children who are waiting for a PCR test result should not go to school.

Children under 5 years of age are exempted from self-isolation and do not need to participate in the daily testing of close contacts.

If your child is currently in isolation after being identified as a close contact, he can move out of isolation but LFD tests are highly recommended for the remainder of the original isolation.

Children with symptoms of corona virus

If your child has symptoms of COVID-19, they should still stay home and self-isolate immediately. They should undergo a polymerase chain reaction test as soon as possible. If the PCR test result is positive, they should continue to self-isolate.

Testing of children without symptoms

There is no change in the approach to asymptomatic testing. We continue to encourage all staff, students (primary, secondary and further education students) and all families to participate in regular testing if they are not showing symptoms.

This will help reduce the risk of the virus inadvertently entering the school community. You can access free LFD exams in a variety of ways, including at your local LFD site, by collecting a home LFD kit from a testing site, or by ordering online. More information can be found here: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Rapid Lateral Flow Assays.

Preparing for the start of the new semester in January
We encourage your child to continue taking LFD exams twice a week during the school break and before returning to their place in January. By socializing during the holiday period, it is essential that we support a successful start to the new period.
We appreciate that changes in orientation can cause anxiety for some but it is important that educating our children be a priority this school year. The potential for serious illness in children is very low, and after several months of serious disruption, the Department of Education and the local authority continues to be committed to ensuring that all children and youth in Essex have every opportunity to thrive.

Thank you for all the support you continue to give your child’s school at this difficult time.

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