I hope you find the response that follows helpful from our Director of Public Health Rachel Flowers:
Thank you for your email. I am aware of the outbreak at Ridgeway Primary School and a member of my team spoke with the head teacher yesterday to provide health protection advice.
In the early stages of the pandemic, the closure of schools had a negative impact on children’s wellbeing and social development, disproportionately affecting children from disadvantaged backgrounds. In the current phase of the pandemic, the priority is to keep children in school and reduce disruption to their education.
When a school reports a number of cases within a class or group, they will be advised to implement additional health protection measures for a few weeks to try and reduce transmission of infections.
We know that the identification and isolation of cases as soon as possible is one of our best defences, (along with hand washing, ventilation and vaccination). Therefore, if there are a number of cases within a class the school will contact the parents of children that have ‘mixed closely’ with these cases to ask that the children take a precautionary PCR test.
In primary schools, where it is difficult to ascertain who has ‘mixed closely’, a classroom approach may be required.
I hope this helps and provides some assurances to the parents. Our schools are doing their upmost to continue to provide education to children in Croydon whilst working very hard to operate within the public health advice and guidance and reduce infections.