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Luton Borough Council

Schools and educational establishments

Schools reopened in March 2021

Schools reopened  to all pupils on 8 March 2021.

All nursery and primary schools are open to all pupils and secondary schools will operate a flexible staggered return to enable the testing of students. See the Department for Education blog for further information.

Please also check the school's website for more details.

 
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Measures in schools

For those children attending school during lockdown, ​Luton schools have a wide​ range of strong measures in place to reduce the risk of infection and to create a safe environment for your child. These are specific to each school and include some or all of: 
  • potential staggered timings to help children get used to the new routines
  • potential changes in pick up and drop off times​
  • increased cleaning of frequently​ touched surfaces and equipment
  • frequent hand washing with soap and water
  • ‘catch it, kill it, bin it’ – encouraging good respiratory hygiene (sneeze or cough into a tissue and immediately put it in a bin)

All secondary school and college students will be given the option to take three rapid lateral flow) tests as they return to the classroom from the 8 March over the first two weeks. And soon, students will be able to carry out testing twice a week at home to help reduce the spread of the virus.

Public Health England continues to advise that the existing range of safety measures in place in education settings remains appropriate.

However, to strengthen existing protective measures, staff and students in secondary schools and colleges are advised to wear face coverings in all areas, including classrooms, where social distancing cannot be maintained as a temporary extra measure. This will be reviewed at the end of term.

See Public Health England blog ‘what we know about COVID-19 in schools’ for more details.

Together we can help reduce the risk of infection by:

  • not sending your child to school if they have coronavirus symptoms (persistent cough or high temperature or loss/change in sense of smell or taste) or if anyone they live with has symptoms
  • complying with the measures put in place at your child’s school
  • undertaking regular testing
  • following local and national guidance including frequent hand-washing, regularly cleaning
  • frequently touched surfaces and social distancing 
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Risk to children

As per the latest national guidance, children have a lower risk of getting infected with coronavirus, and evidence shows that even when infected they usually only develop a mild infection and are less likely to pass it on to other children. There's no evidence that children transmit the disease any more than adults. 
 

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Frequently asked questions

We've created frequently asked questions to address some of the concerns raised by parents and carers and to correct misinformation which is circulating on social media and WhatsApp groups.
 
To ensure you are receiving the correct facts please get your information from official sources such as:
If you still have any concerns please discuss this with the school in the first instance. You can also email questions to [email protected] and we will be regularly updating this web page with latest information.
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Each tab below contains questions relating to that particular subject. Expand for more information.
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When do schools reopen?

Primary schools will reopen to all pupils from 8 March. Secondary schools year groups and college students will return throughout the week.

Schools will contact parents directly to inform them of their return to school arrangements.

Please contact your school or view the school website for further information.

Are you putting my child in danger by reopening schools?

From 8 March, it will be compulsory for all school-age children to attend school.

Keeping children and staff safe is the number one priority for schools and they have put robust measures in place to reduce the risk of infection and create a safe environment for your child.

Schools work closely with Public Health and Health and Safety to ensure robust risk assessments are in place. They have the safety and wellbeing of children, families and school staff at the heart of everything they do. Decisions are made locally by individual schools on how to ensure safe environments for all children, families and staff. We know that missing too much school also badly affects children – on balance being in school is the best thing for children.

I am shielding and concerned about my child going back to school, can they continue with home learning?

School is compulsory for all children from the 8 March. Please speak to your school if you have concerns.

Will schools start and finish at the normal times?

To reduce children mixing, some schools may apply different drop off and pick up times for different classes or year groups. Please speak to the school or visit their website to find out details of the arrangements they have put in place.

Will breakfast and after school clubs continue?

The welfare and safety of all pupils and staff will be a priority for schools, so they will need to consider how they can operate breakfast and after school clubs while ensuring they can still have the robust measures in place to ensure a safe environment for all.

Please check with your child’s school for details of the arrangements which have been put in place.

Will schools/colleges be undertaking Covid-19 testing on students?

Secondary school/college students have the option of taking a rapid (lateral flow) test at school/college – they self-administer the swab, under supervision, before going to class. The hope is that as many students as possible take up this option and undertake three tests over the first two weeks. This will identify students who have the virus but don’t have symptoms.

These tests are voluntary and students need their parents’ consent to participate.

Once secondary and college students have undertaken tests at school/college and know how to self-administer, they will be provided with their own testing kits to do at home with parents supporting them.

Testing is a useful tool along with social distancing, good hand hygiene and wearing of face coverings, to reduce community transmission of the virus.

Get your family tested before children return to school
We're encouraging families to visit Luton’s rapid test (lateral flow) centres sites or the mobile testing unit to check children and family members are negative before they return to school. And to carry out testing twice a week to help reduce the spread of the virus, to help make schools as safe as possible and to protect your community.

Our rapid test centres are open Monday to Sunday, 8am to 8pm at:

All staff in early years settings, nurseries and primary schools have home testing kits to use twice a week before they leave home to come to work. Secondary school staff will receive these soon – in the meantime they can get a test at their school.

If I refuse to give consent and my child is not tested will they be refused entry to school?

No - all testing is voluntary. Children or students who do not take tests will be allowed to attend school/college.

Are secondary school and college students required to wear facemasks in school?

In schools and colleges where pupils and students in year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn by everyone (unless exempt) when moving around the premises, outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained.

The government now also recommends that face coverings should be worn in classrooms and during activities, unless social distancing can be maintained. This will not apply in situations where a face covering would impact on the ability to take part in exercise or strenuous activity, for example PE lessons.

The wearing of face coverings in classrooms is being introduced as a temporary extra measure and will be reviewed at the end of term.

Are children in primary schools required to wear face coverings?

Younger children in nurseries, childminders and primary schools do not have to wear face coverings. Adults (including staff and visitors) should wear face coverings in situations where social distancing between adults is not possible.

See Public Health England blog ‘what we know about COVID-19 in schools’ for more details.

My child has a runny nose, sore throat and a cough, should I keep them at home and book a test?

It is common for children to have cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, earache or a sore throat without a fever. If your child has these symptoms but is otherwise well, they can still attend school. If your child has any of the symptoms of Covid-19, they should stay at home for 10 days and get tested:

  • a high temperature – this means they feel hot to touch on their chest or back
  • a new, persistent cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if they usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed they can’t smell or taste anything or they tell you that things smell or taste different to normal

Can a school insist on my child regularly using hand sanitiser throughout the day?

Children are washing their hands regularly throughout the day. Schools are also providing hand sanitiser as this is faster and will keep pupils in class for longer. If you do not wish your child to use hand sanitiser, they will use soap and water to wash their hands for 20 seconds.

Can I refuse my child from having their temperature taken at school?

If your child has a temperature, you should not send them to school. Taking children’s temperature is not part of the daily routine at school , but some schools may take a pupil’s temperature if they suspect they have a fever. If this confirms the pupil has a fever, you will be contacted to take them home. If it shows they do not have a fever, they will be able to remain in school as long as they feel well.

If you do not wish your child to have their temperature taken, and the school suspects they have a fever, your child will be sent home. If your child returns to school but is still displaying signs of a fever and the school is are not able to verify otherwise, they will be sent home again.

If I have not given my consent for my child’s details being shared as part of the NHS Test and Trace process and the school shares the information are they are in breach of GDPR?

The school is legally able to share data under GDPR article 6 and 9 (public task and public health). Further, the school is required under notices issued by the secretary of state in relation to control of patient information (COPI) to share data in relation to Covid-19. The school will ensure however that all information is treated sensitively, kept secure and we will only share the minimum required to meet legislative requirements and for the safety of our staff and pupils.

If a child tests positive within the school community, we are required by law to engage with the national Test and Trace process. In this situation Luton Council Public Health and/or Public Health England will support the school in identifying any other individuals who would be required to self-isolate and they would contact those individuals accordingly. It is important that families comply with this to help stop the spread of the virus. The school will arrange remote learning for all children who are having to self-isolate.

I have heard a rumour that schools are allowed to detain children on school premises if they suspect they have Covid-19, is this true?

If a child begins to feel unwell with coronavirus (Covid-19) symptoms while at school, safety measures will be put in place including the following:

  • schools will contact the parent or carer to collect the child and to arrange for them to have a test
  • while the child is awaiting collection they will be moved to a room or an area where they can be kept least two metres away from others, after the child has left the school, all areas where they have been will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected

Can I stop the school from teaching my child about Covid-19, I’m worried they will find it upsetting?

Schools feels this is an important topic at the present time to educate pupils about, and will do so with the greatest regard to their mental health. Teachers are therefore likely to speak to classes, assemblies and groups about Covid-19 on occasion.

Can a school vaccinate my child without my consent?

No. Schools would not vaccinate any pupil without the consent of a parent first.

I’ve heard rumours that whole classes have tested positive

Sadly there are people deliberately spreading fake news on social media and WhatsApp groups.

To ensure you are receiving the correct facts please get your information from official sources such as:

What happens if my child develops coronavirus symptoms at school?

If a child begins to feel unwell with coronavirus (Covid-19) symptoms while at school, safety measures will be put in place including the following:

  • schools will contact the parent or carer to collect the child and to arrange for them to have a test
  • while the child is awaiting collection they will be moved to a room or an area where they can be kept least two metres away from others, after the child has left the school, all areas where they have been will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected
  • the child will need to self-isolate for 10 days or until a negative test result has been received and people who they live with will need to self-isolate for 10 days, only people who have symptoms should be tested, even if they are asked to isolate
  • if the child tests negative, they can return to school and the people they live with can end their self-isolation, providing that the child is well enough to go to school
  • if the child tests positive, the rest of their class or bubble will be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 10 days, however household members of the class will not need to self-isolate unless the child they live with develops symptoms

I’m having difficulty booking a PCR test online, should I call 111?

Please do not call 111, as they cannot arrange a test for you. If you are experiencing problems booking Covid-19 test please call 119. However, if tests are not available near where you live, please keep checking back on the NHS website as new test slots are released throughout the day. You should only call NHS 111 if you need urgent medical care and help.

Coronavirus testing for children at rapid test centres

Children aged 11 years or under can attend a rapid test centre with a parent or adult. The adult will be asked to administer the test on the child.

Children aged 12-17 years can self-administer the test under the supervision of their parent or adult or if required the parent or adult can administer the test.

Please note: Rapid testing centres should only be attended by children or adults with no symptoms. For more information please visit our Coronavirus testing page.

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Further information

See translated information on coronavirus available to download.

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© 2021 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ