Calderdale Council is showing its appreciation to schools across the borough for their tireless efforts to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Throughout the pandemic, the Council has worked closely with schools to keep children and staff as safe as possible.
The Council issued advice to schools before October half-term in response to particularly high rates of infection, driven by the virus spreading in schools. This included recommendations on wearing face coverings and limiting mixing where possible. In addition, schools were advised to consider asking children and young people who live in a household where someone has COVID-19 to stay away from school for 3-5 days, get a PCR test(external link) and only return to school if the result is negative.
Schools have been able to introduce additional measures when necessary and in response to the situation in their school and the local community. This has helped prevent the virus spreading in schools, reduced the number of outbreaks and increased school attendance.
The Council has decided that this advice to schools will stay in place until the first week of the new term when it will be reviewed again. Schools are also being supported with the actions included in the latest guidance issued by the Department for Education.
Calderdale Council’s Director for Public Health, Debs Harkins, said:
“I really want to thank school staff, parents and young people for their ongoing efforts to help reduce the rates of COVID-19 in school-age children.
“Before half-term we were seeing worryingly high rates in schools, with the virus spreading through families and to wider communities, subsequently causing pressures on health and social care services.
“Since we issued the advice that schools consider additional measures, we’re thankfully seen a big reduction in cases which has led to a significant increase in school attendance. There has also been a reduction in the number of people needing hospital care for serious illness caused by COVID-19, relieving pressure on local health and care services. We’re keeping the advice to schools in place until the start of the new term in January.
“We know that the festive period is likely to bring further challenges and individual schools are working hard to ensure that the season can be enjoyed in ways that reduce risks to children, school staff and the wider community. Each school is assessing its own situation and Council teams are on hand to offer advice and support schools in their decision making.”
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services, Cllr Adam Wilkinson, said:
“School have faced extremely challenging situations throughout the pandemic and the hard work and dedication of educational leaders has been, and continues to be, extraordinary.
“We understand that schools know their communities best and so have advised them to introduce the public health measures which they feel will be most effective. We’re so grateful for their efforts and the impact this work has had on case rates and we’re asking schools to continue to implement their chosen measures until after Christmas.
“We’ll continue to support our schools as much as possible and will remain in regular contact with head teachers to advise of any further developments or recommendations.”