Parents of pupils at coronavirus-hit Ross-shire secondary Gairloch High School given answers to questions about the Covid-19 situation
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PARENTS of pupils at a Ross-shire school with a confirmed coronavirus case are being given answers to a host of questions they may have.
On Friday last week, NHS Highland confirmed that senior pupils at Gairloch High School have been urged to self-isolate after one of them tested positive for Covid-19.
Contact tracing is under way but the the authority has advised that with mixed classes for pupils in years S4-S6 – coupled with the fact the infected youngster has to take a long journey to school each day – it has proven difficult to tell which fellow pupils have had close contact.
As a precautionary measure to prevent further spread, any senior pupil in S4-S6 has been advised to remain at home for 14 days and self-isolate at home until Friday, October 2.
Any pupils – regardless of their year group – who travel to school on the minibus from Shieldaig, are also being told to self-isolate for the same period of time.
All other pupils in S1-S3 can continue to attend school as normal "if they remain well".
The school today said that many questions relating to the current situation will be answered in a document which has been posted on the Highland Council website.
It stresses that any decision made regarding health matters are made by the NHS Health Protection Team.
It said: "As a school, will be unable to answer specific health/Covid-related questions and would advise you to review the listed document or visit www.nhsinform.scot in the first instance.Thank you to all our followers for your ongoing support, it is very much appreciated by pupils and staff here at Gairloch High School."
Frequently asked questions relating to symptomatic individuals:
1. My child has symptoms that could be Covid-19. What should I do?
If your child has symptoms of Covid-19 then you should not send them to school.
Please look at the guidance on NHS Inform ( www.nhsinform.scot ) and arrange a test via the Government Portal. The rest of the family should also isolate until you know the result. If the result is positive, then you will be provided with further advice from NHS Highland’s contact tracing team who work with the Health Protection Team.
2. A member of my household has symptoms of Covid-19. Can my child attend school?
No, they should not attend school. If anyone within a household has symptoms of Covid-19 the whole household must isolate for 14 days from the date the symptoms
started. If the individual with symptoms is tested and receives a negative result then your child should be able to return to school as long as there are no other symptomatic
people within the household. (This advice is not applicable for individuals that have been identified as contacts of a confirmed case).
3. What will happen if the result is negative for my child, or for a member of staff?
If a Cvoid-19 test is negative and the child/staff member is fully recovered, and without a fever, for 48 hours, then they can return to school/work if no one else in the household has symptoms. (This advice is not applicable for individuals that have been identified as contacts of a confirmed case).
4. I have heard that a child who was in my child’s class at school is being tested for Covid-19. Do I need to do anything?
As long as your child is well then you do not need to take any action. If the testing is positive and your child is identified through contact tracing as a contact of a case, you will be contacted through NHS Highland’s contact tracing team. In the event of a confirmed case in a school, the School, Education Department and NHS Highland’s Health Protection Team will meet and decide who else needs to be notified and any other action required.
5. I have heard that a teacher/staff member/pupil was at school with symptoms today.What should I do?
Please contact the head teacher, who is best placed to investigate. They can then involve the Education Department and/or Health Protection Team as needed.
6. Can an individual parent be sure they will be notified anytime there is a case of Covid-19 in a child or staff member at their child’s school?
NHS Highland’s Health Protection Team will follow up and provide advice and, in conjunction with the Education Department and the school, will agree what notification is required, e.g. to one class, several classes, whole school etc. This approach has been risk assessed to ensure the confidentiality of individuals involved.
7. A parent has been notified their child has a positive test for Covid-19. What should we advise them?
The parents will be contacted by NHS Highland’s contact tracing team who will ask a series of questions to inform what actions are required. The child and their household
need to stay in self isolation and follow the advice from the contact tracers. NHS Highland’s Health Protection Team will also make contact with the school to provide advice in the event that one of the school pupils tests positive and has been in school during their infectious period.
8. A member of the school staff has been notified that they have a positive test for Covid-19. What should we advise them?
The staff member will be contacted by NHS Highland’s contact tracing team who will ask a series of questions to inform what actions are required. The staff member and their household members need to stay in self isolation and follow the advice from the contact tracers. NHS Highland’s Health Protection Team will also make contact with the school and provide advice in the event that one of the school staff tests positive and has been in school during their infectious period.
9. A member of my household has had a positive Covid-19 test. My child has no symptoms, and has had a negative test. Can they return to school?
No, they cannot return to school. Your child is a household contact of a case of COVID-19 and is required to isolate for 14 days. It is important to highlight that a negative test is only valid at the point of testing and your child could still be incubating the infection.
10. I have heard that a child who was in my child’s class at school has Covid-19. Do I need to do anything?
Whenever a confirmed case is identified, NHS Highland’s contact tracing team will first contact the family of a case to provide advice and to identify their child’s contacts. If your child is then identified as a contact then you will be contacted by NHS Highland’s contact tracing team.
In the event of a confirmed case in a school, the School, Education Department and NHS Highland’s Health Protection Team will meet and decide the actions required.
11. One of my children has been identified as a contact of a confirmed case but my other child has not been identified as a contact. Neither of them have symptoms. Do they both need to isolate?
The child who has been identified as a contact of a confirmed case needs to isolate for 14 days. The rest of your household, including your other child, do not need to isolate as you are ‘contacts of a contact.’
12. I have heard that a child/teacher/staff member has tested positive for Covid-19. Can you confirm this?
All information relating to a case is confidential patient information. As such, case specific details relating to individuals will not be shared.
13. Staff with underlying health conditions and parents whose children have underlying health conditions have requested that they be advised when a symptomatic pupil is identified. Can we provide this information?
It is not possible to share this information as this is confidential patient information. As such, case specific details relating to individuals will not be shared. The protective measures schools are taking are sufficient in the absence of a positive test.
14. A pupil in my child’s class is returning from an area that is subject to quarantine restrictions upon return to the UK. Can they return to school?
No, they should not return to school as they need to isolate for 14 days from their arrival in the UK.
15. I have heard that schools are taking the temperature of both pupils and staff members. Should all schools be doing this?
We do not advise temperature testing as routine because there is not enough evidence to show it is effective and may lead to false reassurance. Another reason for not advising routine temperature checking is because a pupil or staff member may not have a temperature but may have other symptoms.
16. If there are several children in the same class who develop symptoms at school and need to go into self-isolation before being picked up, can they self isolate in same room?
Several children from the same class can self isolate in the same room whilst awaiting collection. Children from different classrooms will need to self isolate in a different area.
17. Can we use electric fans in school?
We advise against using fans in closed environments, such as a classroom, as it may circulate virus particles further. We recommend opening windows and doors to improve airflow, where possible and compliant with health and safety regulations.
18. Can we go abroad for a family holiday/skiing, for example, at Christmas?
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office currently advises against all but essential international travel. Advice about travelling abroad is available on the UK Government website (www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice). This is constantly being updated.