The UK government has just released a statement outlining its expectations for children returning to school after the COVID-19 pandemic. The statement emphasizes the importance of vaccinations and general hygiene procedures in order to maintain public health.
Vaccinations are strongly recommended, especially against influenza or “the flu”. Pupils should receive their annual flu vaccination before the start of term in order to reduce risks of infection. It is also important that pupils continue to refrain from exchanging items such as water bottles, cutlery and sports equipment with each other during school time.
Hygiene procedures like regular hand washing and using sanitizer is essential for all pupils, staff and visitors on the premises of any educational institution. Schools have implemented additional protocols for cleaning surfaces, such as desks, chairs etc., in between lessons or breaks.
Official UK Government statement:
Following simple steps can help protect children, minimise the spread of illness in education and childcare settings and protect wider communities.
Flu and coronavirus (COVID-19) are currently circulating at high levels and are likely to continue to increase in coming weeks. High numbers of scarlet fever, which is caused by group A streptococcus, also continue to be reported.
Professor Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Adviser at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:
It’s important to minimise the spread of infection in schools and other education and childcare settings as much as possible. If your child is unwell and has a fever, they should stay home from school or nursery until they feel better and the fever has resolved.
Helping children to learn about the importance of good hand hygiene is also key, so practice regular handwashing at home with soap and warm water. Catching coughs and sneezes in tissues then binning them is another simple way to help stop illness from spreading.
Adults should also try to stay home when unwell and if you do have to go out, wear a face covering. When unwell don’t visit healthcare settings or visit vulnerable people unless urgent.
Remember that flu vaccination is still available for all eligible groups and is the best protection against the virus. We have seen good uptake in older age groups but vaccination among young children remains low. Flu can be very unpleasant and in some cases can lead to more serious illness. Getting your child vaccinated protects them and others they come into contact with, and it’s still not too late.
Eligible children include:
- those aged 2 and 3 on 31 August 2022
- all primary school-aged children
- some secondary school-aged children
You can get more information getting your child vaccinated against flu on NHS.UK.
Sources: UK Government, THX News & UK Health Security Agency.