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Some School Covid Measures Relaxed

Children won't have to leave their education setting if they're identified as a direct contact of a positive Covid case.

Some school and nursery Covid measures in Jersey are being relaxed from tomorrow (13 October)

The Education Minister has announced the easing of some control measures because case numbers have remained low since the start of the autumn term.

From Wednesday, children in a class where there has been a positive Covid case won't be sent home immediately for a PCR test and to wait for a negative result.

Instead, if they don't have any symptoms, they will be asked to take one within three days, but also take Lateral Flow Tests for ten days. If they are negative they can remain at school or nursery.

“When schools returned last month, I gave an assurance that the measures we had put in place would be reviewed within four weeks, with an aim to further relax restrictions and move closer to normality, if case numbers allowed.

I am pleased to announce that case numbers for children, within schools and nurseries, have remained low over the past four weeks with a daily average in single figures. This is a dramatic drop in case numbers compared to the end of term in July. Where we have seen some evidence of spread within a class or school, prompt reactive measures have been implemented to mitigate this and stop the spread.”

The current process causes lost education time for students and disruption for parents and carers and businesses, as parents have to leave work at short notice to collect their children and stay at home with them until a negative PCR result is received.

The new process, which will come into force from Wednesday, means that children, identified as a direct contact, will not be required to leave school or nursery immediately to take a PCR test unless they are symptomatic.”  - Deputy Scott Wickenden, Minister for Children and Education.

Nearly 15,000 lateral flow tests have been completed by secondary school students and staff since the start of term.

The government says this has allowed the early identification of more than 20 cases and prevented further spread of the virus.

The three-day period for direct contact to take a PCR means that parents can arrange an appointment time outside of school or working hours.

LFT kits will be issued at school and nursery.  They will also be offered to indirect contacts who are not required to take a PCR test.

Secondary schools will be allowed to put on music, dance and drama performances from this week and it is likely primary schools will be permitted from after half term - which is set to mean nativities and Christmas plays will be back on.

“I am also delighted to announce that school performances, which are an integral part of school life and education, giving children and young people opportunities to participate in activities such as music, dance and drama, can go ahead.

This will commence immediately in secondary schools and we are asking all those participating in a school production to sign up to the lateral flow test screening programme and adhere to new guidance. I will continue to monitor case numbers in primary schools and should these carry on remaining low it is my intention to enable school performances and rehearsals to commence again in primary schools after half term.” - Deputy Wickenden added:

The government says if a child or a member of staff has Covid-19 symptoms they should not attend school, nursery or college.

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