Changes to contact tracing and self-isolation from this September
As everyone returns to school, there are some new arrangements in place when someone tests positive for COVID-19. These changes have been made possible by the vaccination programme and the significant reduction in numbers being hospitalised and suffering severe illness due to COVID-19 over recent months.
If your child tests positive for COVID-19 using a PCR test, NHS Test, Trace, Protect (TTP) will contact you, using the details provided when the PCR test was ordered. They will ask questions designed to identify recent close contacts of your child, and for contact details – if you know them – of the individual or their parent/guardian. TTP will then get in touch with these close contacts to provide instructions or advice.
Those who are under 18 or fully vaccinated are no longer required to self-isolate if they are identified as close contacts. But they will be contacted (possibly by letter – see letter attached) to let them know that they’ve been in close contact with someone who has tested positive. They will also be offered two PCR tests and provided with information and advice on how to minimise the risks of onward spread. If your child is identified as a close contact, they can still attend school unless they develop symptoms or are advised otherwise by TTP. Please continue to let us know if your child tests positive.
If a child tests positive, only some of their classmates may be identified as close contacts. But if there is a pattern of cases TTP may ask a school to update you on the situation and remind you of key steps, including advising you to keep an eye out for new symptoms your child may develop, and to stay away from vulnerable family and friends in the short-term.
We do expect that there will be cases of COVID-19 across communities over the coming weeks, but this does not mean that COVID-19 is spreading within the local school(s). Please continue to be vigilant for symptoms. If you are in any doubt, order a PCR test for your child at www.gov.uk/get‑coronavirus‑test or by calling 119.
Anyone with symptoms – a new continuous cough, fever or high temperature or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste – should remain in self-isolation until the test result is known. You can find the latest information on self-isolation arrangements at www.gov.wales/self‑isolation.
We recognise how difficult the past 18 months have been and the sacrifices that all families have had to make. Thank you for everything you have done to support your child and your school.
Letter informing a close contact with someone at school:
You have/your child has been identified as a close contact of a case of COVID-19 at [name of school].
Although there is still a risk of you/your child getting COVID-19, you/your child can continue to attend school provided you/your child remain well.
For additional peace of mind we recommend that you book a PCR test for you/your child. You can do this on receipt of this letter and in 6 days time. You can book a PCR test online through the NHS website at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.
We know that in general COVID-19 doesn’t affect young people as seriously as it does others in our families and community. But to help keep others safe, there are still some things you/your child can do to reduce the risk of spreading the infection. For the next 10 days we recommend you/your child:
- Avoid contact with anyone at greater risk from the effects of COVID-19 infection. This includes older people, those with long-term health conditions, and anyone who hasn’t received a full course of COVID-19 vaccine.
- Be alert for new symptoms. If you/your child start to feel unwell, no matter how mild the symptoms are, you/your child should stay away from school and get a PCR test.
- Limit contact with large groups of people as much as possible. Try to keep the number of people in close contact with you/your child to as few as possible. Avoid large gatherings outside of school, social events (e.g. birthday parties) and after-school activities.
- Keep washing hands regularly. This is still an important way to limit the spread of many infections, including COVID-19.
If you/your child remain well after 10 days you can return to normal activities.
We know how disruptive the last year has been for everyone. This year we want to keep you/your child in school as much as possible, but we also want to keep our communities safe from the effects of COVID-19. We hope that you will be able to play your part by following the advice above.