Coronavirus in schools could be “part of the new normal” in Lincolnshire until at least next spring, but parents are being told not to panic.
Since the start of term at least 19 schools in Greater Lincolnshire had confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 15 in Lincolnshire, four in North East Lincolnshire and one in North Lincolnshire.
Director of public health for Lincolnshire County Council professor Derek Ward said: “I expect this way of life over the winter, and into spring. It’s what we’re going to need to deal with until we get a proper vaccine that can be rolled out across the entire population.”
He said, however, that schools had access to a number of support services both at the county council and nationally if needed – with even more now being invested in the council’s team.
“We will support them around contact tracing to help them make sure that they isolate the children who are at risk, or only the children who are at higher risk, so they can continue their education.”
He told parents “please, don’t panic” if their school was affected by a positive case. He advised parents to look out for the key three symptoms – loss of smell/taste, a new continuous cough and a high temperature – when deciding if their child needs to isolate with their household.
“If your child gets sent home because they’re a close contact, they just need to isolate, but keep an eye on them to make sure that they haven’t got symptoms.
“As long as we self isolate for 14 days for close contacts, even if they’ve got it but they’re not symptomatic, they’re clear and they can go back to school.”
“It’s going to be a couple weeks off school, and then back in and that education is the most important thing,” he said.
Council bosses say that since schools returned the overall attendance rate at local schools varied between 85-95%.
Councillor Patricia Bradwell, executive member for children’s services, said: “The lockdown had a serious impact on pupils’ learning, and a major focus now is helping our young people catch-up on what they’ve missed. Getting them back at school with their teachers is the best way to achieve this.
“I want to thank all schools, pupils and parents for their support in getting our children and young people back into school. It’s great to see them back with their friends.”