Regular testing, distance learning, vaccinations and the appearance of police to deal with anti-vaccination protesters have become routine in schools in Bracknell as coronavirus cases increase across the country.
Here, we will try to give you an idea of what it’s like to go to school during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Although the requirement for masks in schools has been removed, it is still recommended that masks be worn at school and while pupils are traveling there, either by bus or designated transportation.
Police have also been called to schools to turn to protesters skeptical about vaccines. While the numbers of these protests were “low level”, officers were called in to move the protesters.
Read more: Bracknell Forest Council ‘ready’ to implement Plan B restrictions related to coronavirus
At Garth Hill College, one of the largest high schools in Bracknell, students are encouraged to take coronavirus tests twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays.
If they test positive, they are asked to self-isolate if they have not been vaccinated.
Students and students are not required to self-isolate if they live in the same household with a person with Covid-19, or have been in close contact with a person with Covid-19, and any of the following apply:
- They are fully vaccinated
- They are under the age of 18 years and six months
- They have participated in or are currently part of an approved Covid-19 vaccine trial
- They can’t get vaccinated for medical reasons
When pupils need to self-isolate, they can receive distance education.
At Meadow Vale Elementary School, one of the largest elementary schools in Bracknell, students are encouraged to wash their hands and use hand sanitizer for 10 seconds. This advice is provided in the student-friendly Coronavirus Work Tool which can be found on the school’s website.
Children between the ages of 12 and 15 have been able to receive the coronavirus vaccine as part of the public school vaccination program.
Eligible school-age children were also encouraged to get the flu shot – but not at school – as these vaccines can be booked at GP clinics and pharmacies.
Read more: Latest numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths in Bracknell Forest
The situation of the coronavirus in schools in Bracknell Forest was discussed at a meeting of the council’s Local Outbreak Participation Council on Tuesday, October 19.
During the meeting, board members received a presentation from Kelly Williams, interim chair of transformation and participation on the board.
Coronavirus statistics presented at the meeting showed that school-age children (5-18 years old) had among the highest rates of infection by age demographic in Bracknell Forest.
That’s according to government data on the circulating infection rate, which is the rate of people who have at least one positive Covid-19 test result, whether reported in a laboratory or bypass machine, per 100,000 population in a rolling seven-day period.
The latest data was published on 20 October. You can see the circulating infection rate among school-age children below:
Age – Rolling Infection Rate
5-9 – 1,019.8
10-14 – 21364
15-19 – 801.7
Counselors were also told of the advice that the East Berks Health Protection Board gave schools. Two councils are overseeing the pandemic response in the county bride.
The council recommends schools introduce mandatory face masks in public areas for staff, pupils and visitors in secondary schools, unless they are exempted.
It also advises that face masks be mandatory for staff and visitors in primary schools, unless they are exempted.
On the issue of protests skeptical about vaccines in schools, a spokesperson for the council confirmed reports of such protests in local schools. They said, “While there was a low level of anti-vaccinators in Bracknell Forest High Schools, they were quickly managed by the police.
We will continue to work with partner agencies as necessary to respond to such incidents.
“The Covid-19 and influenza vaccination program for secondary schools is due to end two weeks into the mid-term.”
Students and staff will return to school after the half term break on Monday, November 1.