The Giles Nursery and Infants' School

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COVID outbreak rules

As many of you are aware, the school is currently experiencing ‘COVID outbreaks’ in several classes.   An outbreak is defined as 10% of pupils in any given class (i.e. 3 children in a class of 30).  Many of our classes have fewer than 30 children, so the number might be even smaller. 


Given how transmissible Omicron is, three children testing positive can happen very quickly.  Fellow head teachers in Stevenage are reporting over 30% of staff and pupils off across the entire school!   


Unfortunately, once there is an ‘outbreak’, a school is required to report it and are then given instructions by Public Health England, which they have no choice but to follow.  Three classes in the school are currently in this situation.  I can only apologise for the significant inconvenience involved as part of the process involves closing the classes into ‘bubbles’ again.  And this means the closed bubble can’t attend After School, Breakfast or any other clubs where they are mixing with other children. 


For these three classes, the situation happened quite abruptly and I can only apologise for this.  Until contacted by the authorities, I had had no idea that the measures required would be so significant.  I'm desperately sorry for the inconvenience and I do absolutely appreciate how terribly disappointing this is and how incredibly difficult it is for parents. 


I wanted to write this letter to the whole school so that just in case other classes follow suit (as will likely be the case), everyone has a bit of preparation and planning time. 


Additional requirements are as follows: 

  1. Outbreak classes eat lunch in their classrooms. 
  2. These classes are given a designated area or time for play. 
  3. The range of symptoms must be broadened to include fatigue, runny nose, headaches, aches, feelings of sickness etc. so apologies but if a child in an ‘outbreak class’ exhibits any of these symptoms, please do not send them to school.  
  4.  We will also have to request that children who start to exhibit these symptoms during the school day are collected early from school and lateral flow tested at home or stay at home until their symptoms stop. 
  5. It is recommended that children and adults in each class do LFT testing daily for 7 days. 
  6. It is recommended that when a sibling has tested positive, all children remain at home. 
  7. For two weeks after the inception of the outbreak, children in these classes cannot attend clubs including Breakfast and After School Club or any other club where they mix with other children in the school. 


Please note that that the fact that an individual child in a class has already had COVID, or has tested negative that morning will not alter the overall rules for the bubble.   


The virus is passing very rapidly amongst children and inside the outbreak class children could have touched other children who might have COVID and could be transmitting the virus elsewhere in the school by carrying it on their person, on their clothing or on resources they're carrying.... 


 I am so terribly sorry for the inconvenience involved.  Public Health England are clearly worried about schools having to close entire classes and return to online teaching for a time.  This would be just dreadful for everyone and I know we all want to work together to make sure that this is avoided.  Usually measures such as those outlined above are sufficient to halt transmission –and half-term will help.   


We all hope so much to prevent this outcome which is the last thing that anyone wants for our children.   I feel we're letting people down but it's the most terribly difficult situation;  lots of my staff are ill as well and we just have to work together to try to ride out the current wave of the pandemic as safely as we can. 


Thank you for your understanding.  Throughout the entire pandemic, we have worked together courageously and supportively to overcome every obstacle in our way – and I know we will continue to do so.