Siblings of Covid positive pupils told to isolate

Pupils whose siblings test positive for the coronavirus will now be told to self isolate

Pupils whose siblings test positive for the coronavirus will now be told to self isolate - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The siblings of Suffolk pupils who test positive for coronavirus are to be asked to isolate in a change to guidance. 

Public Health Suffolk is now recommending that any siblings of children aged four to 18, unless exempt, who have tested positive for Covid-19, must now stay at home for three days.

After the third day, any siblings that live at the same address as the positive child can get a PCR test. If the test comes back negative, and they are not showing Covid symptoms, the siblings can return to school. 

Suffolk County Council said that the case rates in the county are currently high and is bringing in additional local actions to break the chain of transmission. 

High levels of coronavirus cases in schools were attributed as the cause of a spike in cases in the Belstead Hill area of Ipswich earlier this week.

The new isolation measure is only applicable to settings deemed to have an outbreak of coronavirus, as advised by Suffolk County Council.

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Currently one school in Suffolk has been asked to put these enhanced measures in place. As yet, it's not clear which school is the one using restrictions.

Children and young people can continue to go to school if they meet one of these exemptions:

  • 12 – 18 year-olds who have had at least one dose of the vaccine more than 14 days ago;
  • Anyone aged between 4 – 18 who has tested positive for Covid-19 themselves via a PCR  test within the past 90 days and has completed their isolation;
  • Those who are medically exempt from vaccination as determined by their clinician.

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The council said that any parents or carers who still want their child to continue to attend school have the right to send their child into the setting.

In these situations, the child or young person should produce a negative PCR test and continue to undertake a daily Lateral Flow Test for four days and attend school only if negative. 

"Safety comes first," said Dave Lee-Allan, headteacher of Stowmarket High School. 

“It does create more of a workload for staff. 

“However, teachers across the county have absorbed that.” 

He said, however, that more pupils having to isolate was the preferable option in this case. 

“We would rather have that than be in the situation where people sat in front of us that are likely to be infected," he said.   

“We would rather be safe.” 

Suffolk’s director of public health, Stuart Keeble, said: "Although we are making significant progress in weakening the link between infection and serious illness; through the vaccination programme, Covid-19 is still present.

"We of course want young people in school, but the rate of infection is increasing resulting in more children having to self-isolate, missing vital education for a sustained period. 

"To help stop the virus spreading we are advising this new isolation policy for siblings to help contain the disease. The Council will continue to offer support to all of our school’s who may have Covid concerns.

"We thank parents and carers for their understanding."

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