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After-School Clubs Rule 'A Temporary Measure'

Dr Nicola Brink says the current instruction for children who are contacts of school Covid cases not to attend extra-curricular activities is a 'temporary measure' that will be reviewed.

Sports clubs and after school activity groups in Guernsey are being told current policy to exclude students who are contacts of coronavirus cases in their school is a 'temporary measure'.

Dr Nicola Brink has issued a statement amid some criticism of the guidance about extra-curricular activities.

The Guernsey FA is among those to have raised concerns about the instruction  - which says that, although symptom-free children can still attend school during their 'surveillance period', they should avoid after-school lessons, clubs and activities for the ten days that they are doing daily lateral flow tests.

 

Guernsey FA Chief Executive Officer Gary Roberts said it will 'effectively deny hundreds of healthy children the opportunity to do what they also enjoy and need - to participate in physical and social activity external to the education environment.'

He says there is a risk some children will end up in repeat 10-day protocols and unable to participate in sports despite being healthy and never testing positive.

In response Dr Brink  says they are monitoring the first few weeks of term and prioritising keeping young people in education.

"When putting in place measures specific to managing cases of COVID-19 in education settings, our priority is to ensure students identified as contacts can continue going to school so their learning is not disrupted, as long as they remain symptom-free and have negative lateral flow tests.

We are all trying to live responsibly with COVID-19 and asking students identified as contacts to not attend any extra-curricular activities/sports/clubs during the 10 days in which they are taking daily lateral flow tests, is part of that responsibility. We are also asking that identified educational
contacts limit their social and other activities outside of education as part living responsibly with COVID for the 10-day period they are undertaking surveillance testing.

"Being able to keep children who are contacts of positive cases in school is a big step forward from what was possible last term, but children are still a largely unvaccinated group and if we take no precautions at all, there is the potential for cases to spread."

She says the island needs to take 'incremental steps' and assess the impact on Covid case numbers:

"I know not being able to play football, or go to dancing or any other activity outside of school may disappoint any student who has been identified as a contact, but we are  asking the community to continue supporting these measures during this transition phase where we have just had thousands of students return to education. I hope clubs and groups don’t feel they need to cancel their activities entirely because, while we are seeing cases in schools as expected, the numbers remain relatively low and the vast majority of children are not contacts of cases who will still benefit hugely from
taking part.

We are monitoring this very carefully and we really do intend for this to be a temporary measure which plan to reassess in the next few weeks and hope we can relax at the beginning of October, if not sooner."

Covid-19 cases have now been identified at five schools since the beginning of the academic year. 

 

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