Coronavirus advice

Advice to schools, settings and parents

Are schools and settings in Hackney open?

Yes. All schools and early years settings are open as usual, with schools attendance mandatory for all pupils. See the full government guidance for more information:

Risk assessments

The Council’s Health and Safety team has issued a risk assessment spreadsheet (Excel) to support schools and settings undertake a local risk assessment review.

Schools should review and, where necessary, update their risk assessment, reviewing whether it is effective and working as planned. Schools should also ensure that all stakeholders can access this risk assessment and feedback any concerns.

Please email the Council’s Health, Safety and Wellbeing team on healthandsafety@hackney.gov.uk for further advice and guidance and to return a copy of your updated risk assessment. 

HR and staffing

Hackney Education has drafted a series of guidance documents:

DSE/home working guidance

Hackney Council's Health and Safety team has developed guidance for council and school staff who may be required to work from home during the Coronavirus pandemic. These include:

What to do if a pupil or member of staff has coronavirus symptoms or tests positive for coronavirus

If a pupil, student or member of staff becomes symptomatic or tests positive for Covid-19 (using either an LFD or PCR test kit) they should immediately self isolate. We ask that you report any positive case to Hackney Education and Hackney Public Health using this online form. NHS Test and Trace will be responsible for contacting the positive case and determining any further action, including contacting close contacts. In exceptional circumstances, NHS Test and Trace may contact the school for support. 

Children under the age of 18 years and 6 months and fully vaccinated adults no longer need to isolate if they are identified as close contacts of a positive Covid-19 case. Instead they will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace, informed they have been in close contact with a positive case and advised to take a PCR test. We would encourage all individuals to take a PCR test if advised to do so.

City and Hackney’s guidance for schools and education settings has been updated to reflect current government guidance. Please refer to this for information for prevention, mitigation and control of Covid-19 (including how to manage Covid-19 cases linked to your setting). We recommend that you regularly refer to this guidance to ensure that you are following correct procedure. 

Please also ensure that you notify the Local Authority of any positive Covid-19 case reported to you for a pupil or member of staff using this online form

Asymptomatic mass testing in schools

Regular (twice weekly) testing at home using Lateral Flow Devices (LFDs) continues to be a really important way to stop the spread of virus - particularly where people may not have any symptoms and may be unknowingly spreading the virus to others in school or their community. 

Staff in early years settings, primary, secondary and special schools have all been issued with home test kits to regularly test themselves. Testing remains voluntary but is strongly encouraged.

All secondary schools and colleges have been asked to undertake 2 onsite tests with students (3 to 5 days apart) upon their return to school / college at the start of the Autumn term 2021 in September. After this, all secondary aged pupils and college students will be asked to continue to regularly test themselves twice a week at home and report results to NHS Test and Trace, as well as with the school or college. This will be reviewed at the end of September 2021. Testing remains voluntary but is strongly encouraged.

Testing of pupils in early years settings and primary schools will not be carried out.

In addition, households (including childcare and support bubbles) of primary, secondary and college age children and young people also have access to regular twice weekly lateral flow testing. This will help reduce the spread of the virus and we encourage all families to take up this offer.

See the Council’s Coronavirus support webpage for more information and where to get test kits from. 

See here for resources collated by government to support testing in schools including advice and guidance, flow charts, standard letters for parents and other useful resources

Vaccination

For most children and young people, Covid-19 is usually a milder illness that rarely leads to complications. It can, however, affect anyone, with some children and young people being at greater risk of severe disease than others - e.g., those with severe neurodisabilities, severe learning difficulties, down’s syndrome and other serious conditions.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommends vaccination for the following groups.  

  • 12-15 year olds with specific vulnerabilities
  • Those aged 12 years and over who live with individuals who are immunosuppressed
  • 16-17 year olds at increased risk of severe infection

At this stage, this will initially be offered as a single dose whilst guidance on the second dose is formalised. Vaccination of the above groups will not be delivered in school, but those eligible will be contacted directly via the NHS to arrange a suitable appointment time.

Whilst it is acknowledged that there is a very small risk of side effects, the benefit of vaccination in reducing the risk of catching Covid-19 and / or becoming seriously unwell or dying is evident.  Vaccination protects individuals and those around them as well as playing a crucial role in stopping the spread of the virus. We are, therefore, encouraging all adults (age 18 and over), 16-17 year olds and vulnerable 12-15 year olds to take up the offer of vaccination when invited to do so.

This video features young people and frontline staff telling their stories of being unwell with or treating patients with Covid-19 and helps to explain why vaccination is important.

Other action to take/government advice

Schools and settings are advised to refer to the following government guidance to assist them in providing advice for pupils, students, staff and parents or carers. Given the quickly changing nature of the situation, this advice is regularly updated and we recommend that you refer back to it on an ongoing basis:

Please also help to support the campaign which promotes basic hygiene practices, such as regularly washing hands and always sneezing into a tissue (and then immediately disposing of it), to stem the spread of viruses. NHS advice is available regarding washing your hands.

Department for Education Coronavirus Helpline

The Department for Education has set up a Coronavirus Helpline for school staff and leaders to help manage the spread of coronavirus:

Other resources and materials

Contacts

Hilary Smith, Head of Strategy, Policy and Governance