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Update for early years providers – July 2021

Contact tracing and isolation from 19 July 2021

GOV.UK: Actions for early years and childcare providers during the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Parents and staff are still required to report all positive tests LFD and PCR to the setting as they have been to date
  • From 11.59 on Sunday 18 July schools, early years settings and holiday clubs are no longer responsible for identifying close contacts in the setting for a positive case. This is now the responsibility of NHS Test and Trace
  • Contacts identified within settings prior to 19 July will still be required to complete their ten day isolation period.
  • From Monday 19 July NHS Test and Trace will follow up all positive PCR results of children in early years and education settings. This will be done within 24-48 hrs of the test result being released.
  • NHS Test and Trace will contact the parents of a positive PCR case by phone and ask them questions about contacts at home and in the community. They may not ask them specifically about contacts in the setting, but they will ask parents to inform the setting of the positive result. Contact Tracing From Step 4 Onwards – Google Drive
  • Settings will not be routinely contacted by NHS Test and Trace to ask for information, but they may be contacted if they are in an ‘outbreak area’ where there are high levels of community transmission with outbreaks in other settings as currently happens in managing other infectious diseases.
  • The legal requirement to self-isolate has not changed for individuals:
    • if they have been notified by NHS Test and Trace that they are a close contact (changes from 16 August awaiting clarification)
    • if they or someone in their household has tested positive with a PCR
    • if they or someone in their household is symptomatic
  • From 19 July, staff who test positive with an LFD in your settings are still required to:
    • self isolate with their household members
    • notify setting of a positive LFD result
    • seek a confirmatory PCR test within 2 days of the positive LFD
    • notify setting of their confirmatory PCR test result – if PCR test is negative and taken within 2 days the isolation period will end for the individual and their household – if the PCR test is positive full 10 days isolation must be completed by pupil and household
  • NHS Test and Trace will only follow up and contact trace for positive PCR results not Positive LFD results
  • From 16 August 2021, children under the age of 18 will no longer be required to self-isolate if they are contacted by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case. Instead, children will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace, informed they have been in close contact with a positive case and advised to take a PCR test. We would encourage all individuals to take a PCR test if advised to do so.

When the setting is informed of a positive case until 16 August

  • Setting must continue to inform the Local Authority
  • While settings are no longer required to contract trace, under the health and safety duty of care regulations settings are required to take appropriate action to protect pupils and staff. This includes those in relation to communicable diseases such as COVID. Under this guidance settings can require pupils who are close contacts of the positive case not to come into the setting. This however does not mean that the person needs to self-isolate but it is recommended that they limit their contact with others during the identified period. If your setting would like to take this approach you can phone the DfE helpline 0800 046 8687 and they will support you to do this up to the 16 August and provide the relevant letters to send to parents to communicate this.
  • Devon County Council will support settings who take action to carry out their duty of care in this way and to continue with the contract tracing arrangements they have in place until 16 August. Note the updated template DfE letter to parents now says the pupil must not attend setting (but it is still not a legal requirement to self-isolate)
  • The Devon Public Health and DCC Early Years team will continue to support schools, as they have done previously, through the holidays. (please ensure you request this through the smart survey)
  • The DfE helpline 0800 046 8687 PHE SWHPT will also continue to offer support to schools as they do now

Mitigation measures

  • Guidance around enhanced hygiene and ventilation are advised to remain in place to reduce transmission in the setting.
  • Continue to follow the guidance at COVID-19: cleaning in non-healthcare settings outside the home.
  • Guidance no longer recommends bubbles/limiting mixing but you may wish to keep these in place to reduce transmission in the setting.
  • Face covering will no longer be recommended for adults or children in the setting.
  • Directors of public health will have discretion to work with settings and reinstate measures in response to outbreak/high community transmission.