'We're committed to keeping schools open," Doncaster education chief says amid Covid staff shortages

Doncaster’s education chief has said she is committed to keeping the town’s schools open amid growing staff shortages caused by Covid.

By Darren Burke
Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 8:22 am

Spiralling cases across the country have seen many schools hit with a lack of staff in recent days as pupils return to the classroom after the Christmas and New Year break.

In an open letter to parents and pupils, Riana Nelson, Director of Learning, Opportunities and Skills, Learning and Opportunities at Doncaster Council also said it was ‘not ideal’ that students were having to wear facemasks in school again, but has urged them to follow the guidelines.

She said: “We are still facing difficult challenges caused by Covid-19 and I have met with head teachers to discuss the plans we have in place and going forward.

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Riana Nelson says she is committed to keeping Doncaster's schools open.

"We are all firmly committed to keeping our schools open, but unfortunately, many are having a difficult start with staff shortages. We are working closely with them to monitor this and support wherever possible.

“We can all play our part in helping to safely keep our early years and schools open by reducing transmission as much as possible. I know that it’s not ideal for secondary school students to be wearing face masks but they help keep the environments safe.

“Lateral Flow Device testing continues to be vitally important. Secondary school pupils and household members of any school age child should continue with twice weekly home testing, as it is most effective at identifying people with the virus when they are at their most infectious period. We know there have been issues accessing LFTs but we are working with schools to ensure they have all the stock they need to support testing programmes.”

Further guidance about self-isolation advice is below:

If someone has tested positive for Covid-19 it is now possible to end self-isolation after seven days, following two negative LFD tests taken 24 hours apart. The first LFD test should not be taken before the sixth day. Pupils who have two consecutive negative tests on day six and seven can return to school.

For anyone who is a close contact, or shares a home, with someone who has tested positive the guidance is:

Vaccinated adults and children: Any fully vaccinated adults (2 doses) and children are strongly advised to take an LFD test every day for 7 days. This daily test should be completed before the person leaves home for the first time that day. If any of these test results are positive, the person should self isolate and arrange a PCR test.

Adults who are not fully vaccinated: Any adults not fully vaccinated and living in the same household as someone with COVID-19 are legally required to stay at home and self-isolate.