Herts parents urged to continue testing and follow isolation rules

The Public Health director of Hertfordshire, Jim McManus, has urged parents to continue testing in a bid to suppress the spread of coronavirus.

There has been an increasing worry of the rise in infection rates in schools in Hertfordshire, as the county started opening up a few months ago.

John F Kennedy Catholic School in Hemel Hempstead – which has pupils aged 11 to 18 – made the decision to enforce a ‘fire-break’ to help control the spread of the Delta variant.

The school moved to remote working from yesterday (Wednesday June 23) after an increase in Covid-19 cases at the school.

Read more: Hemel Hempstead school forced to shut for 10 days after Delta variant outbreak

The virus was already spreading fast around students in Year 10 which resulted in the whole year group being told to self isolate at home.

Now the remainder of the 1,084 students have to stay at home for the next 10 days.

During a media briefing earlier today (Thursday, June 24), Jim McManus said: “I think the message to parents remains, please continue with the regular testing, and if someone tests positive on the lateral flow device you have to self isolate, you have to get a PCR test. That is the law.

“The earlier you do that, the fewer people and the fewer school children will have to self isolate.”

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The Public Health director mentioned that if there are a lot of infections in a school, then the school will sit down with the dedicated school Covid team – which include experienced headteachers, experienced education specialist infection control nurses and consultants in public health – who will reach a decision in line with the national guidance about what needs to happen.

“They also reach a decision about any extra measures like face coverings in schools and we advise and support local heads to make decisions,” he added.

“So you will see continued measures in schools including self isolation of bubbles, because that’s what the law says we have to do to manage the numbers.”

He continued: “I think schools have done a good job, you look elsewhere in the country and you’ve got many more schools having to close.”

Each decision is made school-by-school, locally based on the particular circumstances of the school and often the physical layout and the size of the school.

HertsLive – Hemel Hempstead