A Letter from TIM BOWMAN Director of Education (Tameside & Stockport)

Step 4 of the Covid-19 Roadmap in England
 
Dear Parents and Carers,
On Monday July 19tt 2021, England will move to Stage 4 of the Covid-19 Roadmap. On this date, most legal restrictions will be lifted, and we will all – as members of the public – be asked to take personal responsibility for limiting the spread of Covid-19 as we learn to live with this virus. We are all asked to be considerate of the needs of vulnerable people; to continue to isolate if we test positive; to continue social distancing around people we don’t know, and to continue wearing of face coverings in crowded places. This includes both public transport and school buses. The requirement for contacts of cases to self-isolate will continue until 16th August, when it will be replaced for under 18s and fully vaccinated over 18s by a request to get a PCR coronavirus test.
 
Today, Stockport reached the highest rate of COVID-19 infection that we have seen in this pandemic. Most coronavirus cases are in young people, with extremely high rates among both primary and secondary age children. Most schools in Stockport are still open next week. As a result of very large numbers of cases in schools, and in the best interests of our community, we have recommended that schools continue to protect their communities by maintaining their current COVID-19 arrangements for the last few days of the Summer term.
 
Schools in Stockport have decided to maintain their current arrangements until the end of term. This is an option for schools that sits entirely within the Government guidance for Step 4 of the roadmap, acknowledging the hard work that schools have put in to set these infection control measures in place, and understanding that further changes at the end of term may be disruptive.
 
This means that for the remainder of this summer term children will still be taught in designated bubbles, social distancing rules continue to apply, and schools will still ask children to wear face coverings as they have been doing. In support of this, please continue to take regular lateral flow tests at home and encourage secondary-age pupils to test regularly. When school staff or children test positive before the end of term, we will continue to work with schools to identify children and staff who need to isolate.
 
When your school term ends you no longer need to report positive cases to school. Schools will not ask anyone to self-isolate due to cases notified to them during the holiday period, but you may still be contacted by NHS Test and Trace if you have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive.
 
We hope that you will support us and your child’s school in our ongoing work to help keep everyone safe. Schools are working hard to support their school community and will be following this guidance so please do not blame them if you are feeling upset about these arrangements. Stockport has endorsed a Respect Agenda across schools and settings which states that aggressive and abusive behaviours towards school staff will not be accepted. We know that this year has been incredibly hard for families and teaching staff alike. The vast majority of families have been very supportive of their schools. However, should you have any concerns or queries please raise these through the normal school channels.
 
We also expect that holiday clubs that are open this summer will follow the new Stage 4 guidance. If your child is due to attend a holiday club, you will need to continue to keep them at home if they have symptoms, test positive or are a close contact of someone who tests positive. The requirement for contacts of cases to self-isolate will end on 16th August, when it will be replaced for under 18s and fully vaccinated over 18s by a request to get a PCR coronavirus test.
 
By far the best form of protection against Covid-19 is to be fully vaccinated and if you haven’t yet had both your jabs, please book an appointment as soon as possible, or attend a drop-in clinic using the details at https://www.stockportccg.nhs.uk/news/covid-19-vaccination-options/
 
Should you have any questions about the information in this letter, please contact school.enquiries@stockport.gov.uk
 
Thank you, once again for all you have done this year to support our schools and our community to stay safe.
 
Yours sincerely,
Tim Bowman
Director of Education (Tameside and Stockport)
 
Jennifer Connolly
Director of Public Health

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