Update for schools: 15 September 2020

This includes and important update from Public Health Birmingham, testing capacity issues, advice from Public Health regarding school open sessions and more.

Important update from Public Health Birmingham

We know Covid 19 is proving to be an extremely challenging time for everyone.

Due to the increase in cases we have seen in local education settings, Public Health England is changing its approach and has requested that schools no longer report single positive tests to them. As a result we have updated some processes which we must alert to you urgently:

  • We are now disabling the google form referenced in your flowchart- if you have staff or pupils with symptoms of Covid, please follow the FAQs we have developed are available at this link.
  • If you have one positive case of Covid 19 in your setting, please email a completed checklist to the BCC Public Health Team at contacttracing@birmingham.gov.uk.
  • Do NOT contact Public Health England if you have one positive case of Covid.
  • The checklist which needs completing is available at this link. Please complete all pages before sending them back. Do isolate any close contacts as per your flowchart’s guidance.
  • Once Public Health Birmingham receive checklists, they will be reviewed urgently and you will be informed if any further action is needed.
  • If you have two or more positive cases of Covid 19 in your setting, please contact Public Health England on WM.2019CoV@phe.gov.uk or 0344 225 3560 and press 0 then option 2.
  • If you have any queries not relating to positive cases, please read the FAQs available at this link.
  • We are currently updating the flowchart and will send it to you as soon as possible.  

If your query is not answered by the FAQs, contact Public Health Birmingham on BCCCovid19@birmingham.gov.uk. Thank you for your continued patience while the team are dealing with an increased number of queries.

Testing capacity

In addition to the growing number of bubbles self-isolating due to positive tests, we know that the national issue around testing capacity is currently affecting attendance at many schools. Like you, we are concerned about the disruption to pupils’ education that is resulting from pupils and staff having to stay at home while waiting for a test.

Along with Public Health Birmingham we are working on potential local solutions to this issue as well as lobbying NHS Test and Trace for a rapid solution. We will keep schools informed as more information about these solutions is available.

School open sessions

As local restrictions have now been introduced in Birmingham, Public Health Birmingham have indicated that it is not currently advisable for schools to hold open sessions in person for prospective families. We are aware that many schools had already put arrangements in place to hold virtual open sessions before the local restrictions were introduced.

Important reminder: Early Years Survey

A reminder that we are asking that all providers and schools with a nursery class complete the form every week by Wednesday evening at 7pm; and in addition any time you have changes to your setting. Once a school/setting reports that they are closed, they are not required to submit another return until they reopen. Please note: Schools need only complete information relating to the nursery class. This applies to both the children and staff. Thank you to all of you who are regularly completing this survey.

We are required to report to the DfE on a weekly basis with the information contained within the survey so it is really important that it is completed regularly. The survey can be accessed using this link – Early Years Settings.  Any queries please contact EYDuty@birmingham.gov.uk.

Thank you to all of you who are regularly completing this survey.

Government guidance on remote learning

Where a class, group or small number of pupils need to self-isolate, or there is a local lockdown requiring pupils to remain at home, the government guidance sets out an expectation that schools have the capacity to offer immediate remote education. The guidance is available at this link.

Rule of six

From yesterday (Monday 14th September), new laws prohibiting social gatherings of more than six people came into effect in England. The new ‘rule of six’ simplifies and strengthens the rules on social gatherings, making them easier to understand and easier for the police to enforce. It means that – apart from a set of limited exemptions including education and work – any social gatherings of more than six people indoors or outdoors will be against the law. The approach schools, colleges and other educational settings should continue to follow is set out in the DfE detailed guidance at these links:

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