Dear Parent / Carer
The number of COVID-19 cases in schools is increasing across Hertfordshire and we will undoubtedly have a positive COVID-19 test result at The Priory School sometime in the near future. As you are aware, the school has implemented a range of strategies to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection and we are regularly updating our procedures.
When we do have a confirmed case of COVID-19, what we want to avoid is to send a whole year group home to self-isolate for 14 days: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection.
To help mitigate the need to do this we have developed an in-house document: COVID-19 track and trace for students displaying symptoms and awaiting a COVID-19 test result. The aim is to capture as much detail as possible from students about who they have had ‘close contact’ with in school prior to going off with COVID-19 symptoms. This is a pre-emptive measure that will allow the school to act swiftly when we are notified of a positive case.
How will the process work?
1. Parents phone the school to say their child is currently displaying COVID-19 symptoms and will not be in school until they have had a test result;
2. Mrs Higgs our Attendance Officer will contact the parents to discuss what symptoms the child has and then send them the track and trace document by email. This document can also be found on the school website under the COVID-19 tab.
3. Parents are then asked to sit down with their child and complete the track and trace document. It is important that we have as much information as possible about who your child has been in close contact with. I acknowledge that for some students this will be problematic when discussing contact at break and lunchtime.
4. Parents must then return this document within 12 hours to the following email address: COVID19@priory.herts.sch.uk. This is being monitored by myself, Mr Foster and Mrs Nearney.
5. When parents notify the school (Mrs Higgs) that the result of the COVID-19 test was negative then this document will be destroyed.
What will happen if my child’s COVID-19 test comes back positive?
1. Parents must contact the school immediately by phoning in during the school day or using the COVID19@priory.herts.sch.uk email address out of school hours including the weekend;
2. The completed COVID-19 track and trace document will then be reviewed and cross-referenced against seating plans and other relevant documents;
3. A list of student and, where relevant, staff names will be drawn up in terms of who we feel were in ‘close contact’ with the student who has tested positive;
4. If these ‘close contact’ students are in school they will be isolated from their peers and a gentle explanation given as to why this is happening;
5. Parents will be contacted to come and collect their child(ren) who will then need to self-isolate for 14 days. A letter will be sent home providing the exact dates of the self-isolation period and detailing how the school will support learning.
Whilst all the above is taking place I will be in contact with the Local Authority and Health Protection Team explaining the situation and following their guidance. The more confident the Local Authority and Health Protection Team are in our track and trace process the less likely we will have to send a whole year group home. It is therefore imperative that all parents who have a child at home waiting for a COVID-19 test complete the track and trace document.
We are all faced with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Can I encourage you to ensure that your children when they are outside school don’t gather in groups of more than six, sanitise their hands regularly and attempt to socially distance as much as possible (https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus), and I know how hard that is!
I thank you for your continued support.