Our parents who have children in Wigan and Leigh schools may want this information about the phased return to face-to-face classes.
The Government has announced that some students can return to their schools from next Monday, if conditions allow.
GPs will not issue risk assessments for children who are asked to go back in the coming weeks, but some children should not return if they or their family are in the at-risk groups.
The information below is from the Wigan Local Medical Committee, which has issued this guidance for parents of children returning to school this term.
“We are aware that some parents might be understandably anxious about the Government’s recent announcement, advising that children of a certain age return to school in the week commencing 1st June 2020. GPs are unable to provide individual risk assessments or letters to a child, in order to confirm their suitability (or otherwise) to return to school.
Wigan Local Medical Committee has prepared this guidance note to help parents, on behalf of your practice. The Local Medical Committee is a statutory body that advises and supports all GPs and practice teams in the Borough of Wigan.
Should I keep my child at home if they have an underlying health condition or live with someone in a clinically vulnerable group?
1) Children and young people who are considered extremely clinically vulnerable and shielding should continue to shield and should not be expected to attend school (see Appendix 1).
If you have already received a letter from the NHS Executive, a Hospital Department or your GP advising you that your child is extremely clinically vulnerable this is sufficient evidence to confirm that your child should not attend school.
2) Clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable) people are those considered to be at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus (see Appendix 2). A small number of children will fall into this category. If your child is in this category you may have received a letter from your GP or hospital Department advising you that your child should be shielding. Your child should not attend school until the clinical advice about shielding changes.
3) Children and young people who live in a household with someone who is extremely clinically vulnerable (see Appendix 1) and shielding should only attend if stringent social distancing can be maintained and the child or young person is able to understand and follow the instructions associated with it.
4) Children and young people who live with someone who is clinically vulnerable (but not extremely clinically vulnerable) as defined in the social distancing guidance (Appendix 2) can attend if strict social distancing can be adhered to in the school
5) You may find it helpful to note the guidance issued by the Government with respect to attending the reopening of schools at this time: “We strongly encourage children and young people in the eligible year groups and priority groups (such as children of critical workers) to attend, as requested by their school or college unless they are self-isolating or there are other reasons for absence (such as shielding due to health conditions). You should notify your child’s school or college as normal if your child is unable to attend so that staff are aware and can discuss this with you. Parents will not be fined for non-attendance at this time.”
6) What are schools required to do to minimise the risk of COVID19 infection?
Schools have been instructed as follows:
• To carry out a risk assessment before opening to more children and young people, and directly address risks associated with coronavirus so that sensible measures can be put in place to minimise those risks for children, young people, and staff.
• To make sure that children and young people do not attend if they or a member of their household has symptoms of coronavirus.
• To promote regular hand washing for 20 seconds with running water and soap or use of sanitiser and ensuring good respiratory hygiene by promoting the catch it, bin it, kill it approach.
• To clean more frequently, to get rid of the virus on frequently touched surfaces, such as door handles, handrails, tabletops, play equipment and toys.
• To minimise contact through smaller classes or group sizes and altering the environment as much as possible, such as changing the layout of classrooms.
• To reduce mixing between groups through timetable changes, such as staggered break times or by introducing staggered drop-off and collection times.
7) Parents should seek medical advice if their child at any time becomes unwell.
We hope you will find this guidance note useful, and that it will also help to answer
some of your concerns.
We ask parents to follow the most up to date national guidance published on this issue, during the Covid-19 pandemic. Further information is available at:
Appendix 1: Who is ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’?
Clinically extremely vulnerable people include the following:
1. Solid organ transplant recipients.
2. People with specific cancers:
• people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy.
• people with lung cancer who are undergoing radical radiotherapy.
• people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment.
• people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer.
• people having other targeted cancer treatments that can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors.
• people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs.
3. People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma, and severe chronic obstructive pulmonary (COPD).
4. People with rare diseases that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), homozygous sickle cell).
5. People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase the risk of infection.
6. Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired. Wigan Local Medical Committee
Appendix 2: Clinically vulnerable people
If you have any of the following health conditions, you are clinically vulnerable, meaning you are at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. You should take particular care to minimise contact with others outside your household.
Clinically vulnerable people are those who are:
1. aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
2. under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (that is, anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds):
• chronic (long-term) mild to moderate respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis.
• chronic heart disease, such as heart failure.
• chronic kidney disease.
• chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis.• chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), or cerebral palsy.
• a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets.
• being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
• pregnant women.