With children and young people back in the classroom, and more mixing now possible with a change to the guidance around things like bubbles, we're seeing a rise in coronavirus cases among the school-age population, and it's likely that this will continue.
In almost all of the cases the young person has shown no sign of having the virus, or only very mild symptoms.
It's important that we all work together and continue to take precautions to help stop the spread of coronavirus in our schools.
If your child has symptoms of coronavirus, they should not go to school. They should take a PCR test - not a lateral flow device (LFD) test - and they should self-isolate pending the result of that test. LFD tests are only for people who show no symptoms of having the virus.
If your child is identified as a close contact, including if someone in your household tests positive, they should take a PCR test. However, unless they have symptoms of coronavirus, they are not required to stay off school while they wait for the test results.
If your child tests positive with a routine LFD test, they should stay at home and arrange a PCR test. They should isolate while they wait for the result. If the PCR test is positive, they should continue self-isolating. If the PCR test is negative, they can return to school, but they should continue to routinely take the LFD tests twice a week.
All secondary school age pupils and their teachers, should be taking LFD tests twice a week.
"We need to keep COVID-19 case rates as low as possible to enable as many children as possible to stay in school"
Like elsewhere in the country, Devon is seeing a rise in coronavirus cases among the school-age population, and it's likely that this will continue.
We know that parents are concerned about the rising cases of coronavirus among school-age children.
Steve Brown, our Director of Public Health, offers some reassurance. He said:
"We all know how much learning has been disrupted these last 18 months.
"What's important now, while we are all living with coronavirus, is that we try to keep case rates low, to enable as many children as possible to stay in school.
"Where we see large outbreaks in schools, we and those schools work closely together to agree any additional control measures to put in place to help control the spread of the virus.
"However, with the national change in guidance around close contacts and self-isolation, schools will only ask classes or year groups to stay at home, to be taught remotely, as a very last resort.
"There is also a lot of seasonal illness among young people at the moment. If your child has symptoms such as fever, diarrhoea and/or vomiting – even if they test negative with a PCR test for coronavirus - please keep your child off school or nursery to avoid spreading other infections."
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