Health Centre Protocol
The protocol mirrors some of the wording in the sections above but remains here, in full, for those that want to use this as a separate and complete document.
Preparation for opening of school in COVID situation
The aim of the protocols will be to create a structure whereby if cases of COVID are confirmed we can close segregated sections of the school to minimise disruption to learning and to reduce the spread of infection. Everything will be done to minimise the risk of infection as far as we are able within the fast-changing circumstances and the parameters of a mixed Boarding and Day school. It is essential to emphasise that to do this, all staff,
students and parents/guardians need to adhere to these agreed principles to keep the school community safe.
Minimising initial risk
Returning Boarders and Day students need to be able to confirm the following:
- Absence of symptoms on arrival
- Absence of any symptoms over the past 10 days
- Absence of any symptoms in the household over the past 14 days
For what constitutes COVID symptoms, we are following the Public Health England (PHE) guidance of:
- A new continuous cough
- A temperature above 37.8°C
- A loss of normal sense of taste or smell
As students return, staff will perform a quick screening questionnaire about the student’s health and recent travel, together with a temperature check. Anyone who cannot confirm that they are asymptomatic or with a temperature of 37.5°C or over will be asked to return home, so we ask parents/guardians to ensure their child is in good health before their return to school.
At this stage we will ask parents of Day students to exercise daily vigilance of the above symptoms. We are not currently planning on doing daily temperature checks after their initial return.
Management of symptoms in school
Please see the management of symptoms diagram to show the management plan for students with COVID symptoms. It is worth a reminder about the usual heavy burden of illness in this term. There will be a lot of illness which will not be related to COVID. What we aim to put in place is a system whereby seemingly ‘well’ students with suspicious symptoms are not sent home unnecessarily, as this adds to the risk of introducing new infection on their return to the boarding community.
Public Health England have informed us of an expected 48 hour testing turnaround time, so we propose to hold these ‘well’ students with minor symptoms whilst we get them tested and manage their symptoms. The test result will inform the decision made for the student tested, and whether any further action is required for those students who had been in contact with the tested student. Any student with symptoms of fever will be required to remain in isolation until the fever has been absent for three days. Any student with a new and persistent cough or loss of taste or smell will be required to isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms.
Likewise, for each symptomatic student there will be a group of close contacts who will also need to be held in isolation until the test result of the symptomatic student is received. In most cases we hope we can do this in identified self-contained areas at school.Again, the aim of this is to prevent large numbers being sent home unnecessarily and returning with the risk of new infection.
We do not have the capacity to hold large numbers of students in isolation areas, so any student with a positive test, and the contacts of any confirmed COVID test, will be sent home for the remainder of their isolation period. This will be 10 days from the onset of symptoms or until absence of fever for three days for the symptomatic person, and 14 days since the last day of contact for the ‘contact group’. Obviously, if members of the contact group develop symptoms in this time they must be tested and follow the necessary isolation rule. We ask parents to be understanding that we will do our best to manage those that need to be held in isolation, but this will depend on numbers relative to our capacity; if parents/guardians are unable to have their child home we can discuss on a case by case basis. Day students will also be sent home if they have symptoms and their parent/guardians asked to arrange a test from home.
GP service for boarders
The NHS Swan Surgery, where our school doctors are based, is predominantly operating by telephone or FaceTime consultations. They will not therefore be attending the usual Bedales GP surgeries on site and will carry out initial appointments online and arrange a visit to the Swan Surgery, where strict precautions are in place, if necessary. We will organise a safe, confidential space for the initial online consultations to happen from the Health Centre.
We are looking at ways to keep the Health Centre a safe place for medical triage and treatment. This currently includes discussion with ICT for possible webcam consultations with the nurses for those who may present for routine health care issues and questions.
As a rule, we will aim to keep all consultations to less than 15 minutes. This is to protect our nurses from infection and from unnecessary isolation given the track and trace cut off for contacts going into isolation is contact over 15 minutes. We realise this will impact on students who use us for mental health support and are looking at other spaces they can use for a ‘time out’.
We will inform all students of our procedures on their return and hope to be able to offer as close to our usual range of services as possible.