Schools open but Hounslow still has highest infection rate in London

Image above: LB Hounslow’s Director of Public Health, Kelly O’Neill

The start of the Prime Minister’s ‘roadmap’ for the gradual easing of lockdown is the opening of schools nationwide on Monday 8 March.

“For some parents this will be a moment of elation” says LB Hounslow’s Director of Public Health, Kelly O’Neill, but for others “but for other parents this will be a very anxious time”.

In a video message to residents on Friday 26 February, she said:

“School head teachers and the staff have invested much of their time in making schools a very safe place for your children to learn. Added safety measures are in place within all schools. All school staff are being tested twice a week and secondary school students will start to be tested from their return to school”.

This, she said, would allow schools to be safer places, but she warned that Hounslow, even though rates rates of infection have dropped since mid January, still had the highest rate of infection in London.

Watch Kelly’s video message here.

 

Parents must play their part in keeping the infection rate down

It is important to children to reduce the impact of isolation and to reduce the loss of learning that we saw last term, but she said, it is inevitable that when the schools go back there will be a corresponding increase in infection levels.

“As parents, if you do have secondary school age children it is really important that you consent to them being tested.

“Children in primary schools and specialist schools do not require to be tested. As parents though, you can all play your part and help contribute to reducing the rates of infection. There are processes which schools have set up and put in place. Please follow those processes.

“Wear a mask and socially distance when you drop off and collect your child from school. That is really important.

She also encouraged parents to get themselves tested, to help her and her team understand the pattern of infection in the borough and to keep schools as safe as they can be.

“If you have symptoms of coronavirus, get tested and isolate. Don’t be irresponsible and put others at risk” she said.

Image above: The gym at Chiswick School, converted to Covid test centre for staff and students

Chiswick School ‘ready’ to start mass testing

At Chiswick School, staff are getting ready to welcome students back to classrooms. The sports hall has been transformed into a lateral flow testing site where students will learn how to self-test before being given test kits to use at home.

Since January, teaching and support staff have been running the test site for those children still attending school on site and the school say they are very confident that they can manage the increase in students using the facility.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: More cases of SA variant detected in Ealing

See also: Big campaign under way in Ealing to get people tested for SA variant

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