Home Local News COVID-19 Update Schools guidance

COVID-19 Update Schools guidance

Red Rose Lancashire

SkemNews received the following message from County Councillor John Fillis. We have shared the message below:

Last week Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, our Director of Public Health, gave advice to schools and other early years settings that it was not yet safe in Lancashire to reopen to more children from Monday.

Dr Sakthi will review his advice on Monday 8 June, and if it changes, schools will be encouraged to take the decision welcome more pupils from 15 June. If the advice does not change, the guidance will be reviewed again on 15 June.

As you know, the decision to welcome back more pupils to Lancashire’s schools lies with head teachers, in consultation with their board of governors, taking into account their individual circumstances. We work closely with schools to provide advice and support as they make their decisions. As has been the case throughout the emergency, all schools are encouraged to admit vulnerable pupils and those of key workers as long as their risk assessments suggest it is safe to do so.

Dr Sakthi’s advice was based on his concern that two of the government’s five tests were not being met in the county. Having reviewed the statistics which showed there had been an increase in confirmed positive cases of coronavirus at a time when the NHS Track and Trace system had launched, but was not fully operational, his professional opinion was that it was not yet safe for schools to open to more children.

As detailed below, we are working closely with our local partners, the NHS and Public Health England to build a responsive and effective track and trace system for the benefit of not just our children, but all Lancashire people.

Our schools have been doing a brilliant job throughout this crisis to remain open to the children of key workers and vulnerable children. They have also been in regular contact with parents and pupils. Of course we want to see children back in school as soon as possible. By keeping this advice under regular review, we can make sure this happens safely.

Test and Trace

The situation with the national NHS Test and Trace system is changing rapidly, and we are working hard across Lancashire to build a system that will be effective and responsive.

At present we our able to take the samples but we lack capacity with laboratories to carry out the tests and return the results within an effective time scale. The government would do better by concentrating their efforts on sustainable systems rather than world beating headlines.

The Local Resilience Forum wrote to central government to outline these issues on 21 May. We are awaiting their response, and in the meantime are making significant progress at a local level. We feel that greater local control of the process would provide greater protection for our communities especially rural areas.

We are working on a pan-Lancashire basis, and have agreed an LRF test and trace plan with the responsibility for managing outbreaks through hubs based in Lancashire, Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen. In addition we have a single point of contact in each district council, as the role of our district colleagues will be central to an effective response.

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