Most areas of the South West have positive coronavirus case rates above the national average for England. In Devon, it’s the high case levels particularly among the secondary school and college-age population that are driving the infection.
Schools, however, are doing their bit to halt the spread.
Most of our secondary schools in Devon have reached the government’s threshold – they have five or more linked cases of coronavirus – which triggers plans for additional actions, in line with the government’s guidance.
But because case rates in the region are high, Directors of Public Health across the South West agreed last month that all secondary schools are advised to consider adopting the additional measures, even those that have not yet reached that trigger point.
Those additional measures are to reduce risk of transmission, and include steps that encourage face covering, hand hygiene, and social mixing.
This decision is being monitored and reviewed again before considering any need for further actions.
Steve Brown, Devon’s Director of Public Health, said:
“Even though there are no national restrictions currently in place in England, we must all take responsibility. For younger people, that means following their school’s rules when there, and remaining extra cautious when out of school and mixing with friends.
“We’re not yet feeling the winter cold, so if you’re meeting with friends, try to do so outside. And if meeting inside, then open the window, even for short periods.
“Face coverings are still important. It might not be a legal requirement at the moment, but wearing a face covering on public transport, or in crowded public spaces, is a sensible way to protect yourself and others.
“If you’re eligible for the vaccination, please take it up. Twelve to 15 year olds who haven’t yet had their jabs can attend walk-in vaccination centres, or wait for it to become available at their school.
“With case levels this high, we need to be proactive in our actions to stay safe. Living with coronavirus in our community means that we must remember it’s there, and that we take what steps we can to keep safe.”