School events leading up to Christmas

08 Dec 2021

Message from Public Health

Dear headteachers,

Further to my letter dated 29 November, we would like to provide more detailed advice in relation to school events leading up to the Christmas holidays to keep your school community as safe as possible.

Action: Please circulate letter to parents: Public Health advice to reduce COVID-19 transmission in schools (pdf)

Face coverings

We recommend that schools advise all parents and visitors that they are expected to wear face coverings when attending indoor school events.

Testing

We recommend that schools advise all staff, students, and parents to undertake a lateral flow test prior to attending school events. If the test is positive, individuals should isolate immediately and obtain a PCR test.

Covid positive households

If a member of a student’s household has tested positive, we recommend that the school advises the family to limit social or non-essential activity outside of the school day for 10 days from the date of the first positive test if there are no symptoms or 10 days from the date that COVID-19 symptoms started in the household. This includes school activities such as Christmas events.

Increased ventilation

We recommend that schools ensure that there is adequate fresh air flow in the areas where school events are taking place in line with our ventilation strategy (including the use of C02 monitors to help identify poorly ventilated occupied areas). Air flow can be improved by ventilation systems or naturally by opening doors and windows, although schools should make sure they maintain a comfortable temperature and that they do not compromise fire safety.

Risk assessments

Schools are advised to continue with existing good, covid-safe practices and undertake a risk assessment prior to in-person events such as nativities and carol services. In addition to baseline Covid measures that schools already have in place; schools should also consider implementing measures such as:

  • limiting the number of people attending events using a ticketing system or similar
  • crowd control and social distancing measures such as zoning, one-way systems, separate entrance and exit routes, and larger spaces between seats
  • limiting mixing between classes or year groups (and their families)
  • considering whether any events could be held virtually, or whether an option to join virtually could be offered to families if they would like to do so
  • considering whether any events could be held outdoors

Schools under LCRC green or amber measures

Schools which have reached DfE thresholds and are under LCRC amber measures are unable to go ahead with in-person school events. Schools that have reached DfE thresholds and are under LCRC green measures will need to discuss their event plans or day trips with LCRC and the Local Authority on a case-by-case basis.

Currently approximately a third of Ealing schools are under LCRC green or amber measures. We anticipate that the number of schools under LCRC measures will continue to increase over the winter period. Considering this, it would be prudent for schools to consider alternative options to in-person events in advance, eg. virtual events. Schools already have experience in running virtual events such as using pre-recorded videos and presentations for example.

Thank you for all your support as we continue to work to keep Ealing safe, and we wish you all the best for a safe and happy festive period.

Kind regards,

Anna Bryden, Director of Public Health, Ealing Council

Cllr Josh Blacker, Cabinet Member for Healthy Lives, Ealing Council

Cllr Kamaljit Nagpal, Cabinet Member for A Fairer Start, Ealing Council

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Last updated: 10 Dec 2021

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