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Coronavirus: King's Lynn secondary school insists support is on offer for testing after parent concerns

A Lynn secondary school has stated support is on offer for coronavirus testing after concerns were expressed by a parent this week.

A spokesman for Springwood High School said all parents have been reminded on several occasions what they need to do if their child develops symptoms.

This includes guidance on which websites and phone numbers to call, while the school’s own website has also been posting regular updates.

Springwood High School in King's Lynn
Springwood High School in King's Lynn

A parent, who did not wish to be named, said she was unable to directly contact the school for advice after her son displayed symptoms such as a high temperature, coughing and loss of taste in mid-September.

The mother, who says she is in the high risk category due to severe asthma, said the “school needs to get its priorities right” after she was contacted about her son wearing prohibited white socks instead of Covid advice.

She added that the son never did get tested and described him as feeling “frightened in the corridors” due to the potential risk of Covid-19. The school announced a third coronavirus case on Monday morning after a second sixth form student tested positive for Covid-19 over the weekend.

And the anonymous parent's son has been off school again this week due to ongoing concerns related to the virus.

In response to the mother's concerns, Andy Johnson, executive headteacher, said: “Parents were all written to at the start of term, and have been on several occasions since, with advice on how parents can support their child if they display symptoms.

“Our parents have been told that if their child develops symptoms of Covid-19, they must not come to school and should remain at home as per government guidance - as was the case for this individual involved in this story.

“We’ve also repeatedly made it clear that anyone with symptoms will be eligible for testing and that this can be arranged via a dedicated NHS website link that we have included in our letters and parents have also been told they can call 119.

“We’ve also repeatedly reminded parents of the most common symptoms of coronavirus and always included additional NHS website links as well as reminding them if they are concerned about their child’s symptoms to seek advice from NHS 111.”

Regarding the parent’s complaint about their child’s socks, Mr Johnson added: “We have a strong focus on behaviour and uniform in the school.”

A Government spokeswoman said:“The number of coronavirus cases in schools remains low.

“Testing capacity is the highest it has ever been, but we are seeing a significant demand for tests. It is vital that children and school staff only get a test if they develop coronavirus symptoms.

“It is testament to the hard work of teachers and school staff that the vast majority of schools are open, and 7.4 million pupils were attending school last week."

Every student at the Lynn school has now been asked to wear a mask from Monday [October 5].

The school’s website states pupils will be issued with a washable, reusable mask and a carry bag. But students can wear their own if preferred.

The website adds: “Please also take note of government advice regarding what to do if someone in your household develops Covid-19 symptoms.

“In this case, the person with symptoms should obtain a test and the whole household should isolate for 14 days from the onset of the individual’s symptoms.

“This means that if your child is in a household, or ‘Support Bubble’, where someone else is displaying Covid-19 symptoms or awaiting a test result, they must not come into school.

“Please check the government website for further details. As a school, we are promoting the government’s campaign - ‘Wash hands, cover face, make space’ - and we value your support in keeping our school open by encouraging your child to follow these guidelines.”

The government has said schools have plans in place to deliver remote education for pupils that are self-isolating, and they have provided 250,000 devices for eligible children who need them.

From September 17 the government has been running a new dedicated service to advise nurseries, schools and colleges who have been informed of confirmed cases of coronavirus in their setting (i.e. a pupil or staff member testing positive).

This dedicated helpline has been set up by Public Health England, the Department for Education and NHS Business Services Authority.

A team of advisors will inform education settings what action is needed in response to a positive case based on the latest public health advice, and work through a risk assessment.

Usually, full closure will not be necessary, but some individuals may need to self-isolate if they have had close contact with the confirmed case.

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