Education and public health officials in Liverpool have written to parents and carers with information about the measures in place to keep Covid cases down when schools reopen to all pupils next week.
Pupils in primary and secondary schools will return to the classroom from Monday 8 March, although some may start later than others.
Secondary children will be offered three Covid tests at school by trained staff, and after this home test kits will be made available for testing at home.
The letter from Director of Public Health Matthew Ashton and Director of Children and Young People Services Steve Reddy reads:
“Thank you for your continued support in the fight against Coronavirus. Schools are working hard to welcome back pupils from 8th March 2021. Arrangements will vary slightly from school to school. Your school will be in touch with you through their normal methods of communication, for example by letter or the school website.
“It is still important that we continue to keep ourselves and others safe. Please continue to follow all Coronavirus prevention guidelines, maintain social distancing and wear face coverings where required.
“Upon return, secondary school aged pupils will be offered a series of 3 tests at their school under the supervision of a trained operator. Testing is voluntary, and consent must be provided for your child directly to the school.
“Following on site testing, pupils may then continue taking twice-weekly tests using a home test kit provided by their school. You will receive further information about how to participate directly from your school.”
Households, childcare or social care bubbles with a member of school staff or pupil are being encouraged to access twice weekly testing, either through:
The letter also contains information about Covid-19 symptoms to look out for including body aches, persistent headaches , sore throat, tiredness, shortness of breath, nausea or diarrhoea and advises people to get a test by logging on to https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or calling 119.
Parents are also being asked, where possible, to leave the car at home and walk or cycle with their children to school to reduce pollution and traffic levels.
Director of Children and Young People Services, Steve Reddy, said: “Our schools have been working incredibly hard to prepare for the return of pupils and make sure that they are as safe as they possibly can be.
“They are very much looking forward to seeing children back in the classroom, resuming the routine of learning and helping them achieve their dreams, ambitions and full potential.
“It is vital that we all continue to work together to keep the level of Covid cases as low as possible, and we would ask for co-operation from parents and carers in making sure they stay safe and use tests if they are available to them.”
Director of Public Health, Matt Ashton, said: “The number of Covid cases in Liverpool is coming down and the vaccine programme is making good progress.
“The return of schools does present a risk of a rise in cases but this can be mitigated if we all continue to follow the advice and guidance that is in place.
“Abiding by the guidance around good hand hygiene, wearing face coverings when picking up and dropping our children, observing the limits on households mixing and getting tested when appropriate will help reduce the chances of the virus transferring from the community at large into our schools.”