Figures reveal the number of Calderdale secondary school children who had Covid
One in 40 children in Calderdale secondary schools had COVID-19 last week, councillors heard.
Since returning for the new school year, the pandemic has caused a problem for schools, with a case rate of 2,500 per 100,000 people, said Public Health consultant Ben Leaman.
Mr Leaman said Calderdale’s schools were doing a “fantastic job” managing what was a difficult situation.
“But it is a challenge on a day to day basis,” he said.
It was highly likely every child would get COVID at some point, said Mr Leaman.
He was reporting to Calderdale Council’s Children and Young People’s Services Scrutiny Board, and board chair Coun Colin Raistrick (Ind, Hipperholme and Lightcliffe) wanted to know more about the vaccination process for children in age groups the Government has approved.
Mr Leaman said the process would be undertaken by the National Health Service (NHS) and what Public Health had tried to do was co-produce a programme with the education sector and partners so it was delivered on school terms, but the NHS being the accountable body.
The roll-out was expected to begin in October, said Mr Leaman.
The NHS would oversee the element of seeking consent from parents and carers.
Mr Leaman further explained: “Inevitably there is a lead-in time, that is a reasonable date – if we can start a bit quicker, we will do.
“You need the consent right before you give the vaccination, it needs a lot of co-ordination.”
Coun Raistrick asked if the council was giving advice to schools around consent, or was this being done nationally?
Mr Leaman said it was all driven by national policy with a uniform approach across the country – it was not expected schools would be dragged into the consent issue, the NHS was dealing with those matters.
Coun Raistrick said he had been interested by what Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Adviser to the UK Government, had said last year, that every child would have COVID.
Mr Leaman said the figures from last week gave the picture.
It was inevitable most people in the country at some stage might get COVID and children were no exception.
They were at increased risk because vaccinations had not begun yet, or were under the age where they could get a vaccination.
“So with easing of restrictions it is highly likely we will see a lot of children catching COVID, yes,” he said.
Coun Raistrick said he appreciated the pressure public health and education teams were under at the moment.
“I am really quite concerned about the whole education thing,” he said.