Dear Parents and Carers,
Since the wider relaxation from 17 May this year, we have begun to see a worrying rise in positive cases, and this has been particularly high amongst in children and young people and those in their thirties. Like the rest of the country, the more transmissible ‘Delta’ variant (the variant of concern first identified in India) is now the dominant strain in Leicester. The infection rate in Leicester remains significantly higher than the national average.
We are writing to ask for your support, as parents and carers, to continue to be careful when organising any ‘gatherings’ such as birthday parties or sleepovers. Please follow the guidance, including the rule limiting the indoor mixing of households.
Schools in the city are continuing to follow the same measures that kept the case numbers low between March and May this year. We recommend secondary pupils continue to wear face coverings in communal areas and many children will sensibly continue to wear face coverings in lessons to lower the risk of spreading the virus.
Secondary schools are providing children with lateral flow tests to be taken twice a week at home while they have no symptoms. Please encourage your child to take the lateral flow tests and to report the results. The tests have picked up cases in many children who had no symptoms and this meant the child could self-isolate and not spread the virus to others.
You, as parents, can also take lateral flow tests twice a week and we encourage you to do this. Remember if you or your child has any symptoms, you should self-isolate for 10 days and book a PCR test (gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test).
For any of your children who are moving to a new school after the holidays, there would normally be a day for them to visit their new school and meet new classmates and teachers. This is called Transition Day. Unfortunately this day will not be going ahead in Leicester schools this year because of the pandemic and the risk of mixing children from many different schools. Each school is making arrangements to welcome children with virtual tours of the school and online sessions with new teachers and classmates.
We would also urge everyone who is eligible to have their vaccination when invited to do so. Vaccination, alongside the measures above, are the best ways to reduce the spread of coronavirus and protect both ourselves and our loved ones. Other than in a very few cases, the tiny risks associated with vaccination are far lower than the very real risks from infection. If you are over 23, you can now get vaccinated to prevent further spread. You can book your vaccinations on the national NHS system (nhs.uk/covidvaccine), at a hospital hub (leicestercityccg.nhs.uk/my-health/coronavirus-advice/coronavirus-vaccine) or contact your GP.
Remember, the best way to reduce the transmission of ALL cases, not just variant cases remains: social distancing, frequent hand washing, wearing face coverings when required, keeping the number of people you are in contact with as low as possible and getting tested regularly as part of the lateral flow testing or when symptomatic. In other words:
• Do not send your child to school if they have any symptoms
• Arrange a test if any member of your household has symptoms and isolating all contacts until the results of the test are known
• Keep your child at home if they have been identified as a contact with a confirmed case
• Continue to do twice weekly lateral flow tests and confirmatory PCR tests if any results are positive
Schools and settings continue to have arrangements so that children are able to attend school so please do keep sending your child to school throughout the rest of the summer term unless they are unwell, have had a positive test or advised to self-isolate. As usual schools will only grant leave of absence for exceptional circumstances.
For further help and advice, visit the council’s website (leicester.gov.uk/coronavirus) and remember to keep a distance from others, wear face coverings and wash hands often. Get tested regularly.
If you’re getting together with friends and family, please remember that the pandemic isn’t over. Take care to avoid spreading the virus and do take the opportunity to get vaccinated.
Martin Samuels Ivan Browne
Strategic Director, Director of Public Health
Social Care and Education and Sports Services