Advice on when to keep Calderdale kids off school to stay for at least another two weeks

Calderdale Council's Director of Public Health Debs HarkinsCalderdale Council's Director of Public Health Debs Harkins
Calderdale Council's Director of Public Health Debs Harkins
Calderdale parents are still being asked to follow council coronavirus advice about keeping their children home - not the Government's.

Calderdale Council’s Director of Public Health, Debs Harkins, says "encouraging" figures suggest Covid-19 cases are falling among children but rates in the borough are still high.

The council had said it would review its advice - which differs to that issued by the Government surrounding when children should be kept off school - after the half-term break.

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Ms Harkins said: “The council continues to work closely with schools to keep children and staff as safe as possible.

"As pupils and staff return to schools following the half-term break, we’re continuing to recommend that schools follow the existing advice around the use of additional measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

“Although we’ve seen encouraging figures to suggest that the COVID rate in primary and secondary age children is reducing, cases still remain high.

“Measures will be reviewed again in two weeks when the impact of the half-term break on case rates will be clearer.”

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Calderdale Council issued fresh guidance to schools and parents last month in a bid to reduce coronavirus cases.

It includes asking parents to keep children at home for three to five days if anyone in their household tests positive for Covid-19. They should then take a PCR test and only return if the result is negative.

Ms Harkins has stressed the importance of taking a PCR test, rather than a lateral flow test, as she said the results are more reliable.

Current Government advice means that under 18s do not need to self-isolate if there is anyone in their household who tests positive, although they are advised to take a PCR test.

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Ms Harkins has said the aim of the measures is to reduce coronavirus rates in schools and beyond to relieve the pressure on hospitals and social care services, and have less children off school with the virus.

As well as the new advice to parents, Calderdale Council has issued a series of new measures for the district’s schools to consider.

It is advising secondary schools to look at bringing back face coverings for pupils and staff, and all schools ensure windows are open and reduce mixing between class groups.

Schools are also being asked to limit visitors, look at holding events like parents evening online, rather than face-to-face, and carefully consider whether to go ahead with residential visits.