Public health leaders in York have written to parents of school-age children, asking them to adopt additional measures to help reduce the spread of coronavirus in the city.
The move follows a significant rise in the number of children and young people testing positive for Covid in the last few weeks, together with an increase in household transmission of the virus.
Data shows that children are passing Covid to family members and into local communities and this is leading to rising infection rates in adults, particularly older adults, who tend to be more vulnerable to the effects of both coronavirus and flu.
Parents are being asked to carry out daily lateral flow tests on children who go to primary or secondary schoo when they have been identified as a ‘close contact’ of someone who has Covid, or they live in the same household as someone who has the virus.
Where possible, parents should ensure their child takes a daily lateral flow test while waiting for their PCR test result.
Provided the lateral flow test is negative they can return to school.
The updated guidance is temporary and will be reviewed every two weeks, taking into account the rate of infection in schools and the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccination programme for 12-15 year olds.
Cllr Ian Cuthbertson, the council’s executive member for children, young people and education, said: “I know that parents, carers, teaching staff and young people in York have been working incredibly hard to minimise the spread of covid and I’d like to thank them their continued efforts.
“We also recognise the impact Covid has had, and continues to have, on the lives of children, which is why we have committed to review this new advice after half term.
“I would urge parents, carers and children to support the new guidance as we continue to work together to reduce the spread of the virus.”
York director of public health Sharon Stoltz said: “We have been working closely with schools and colleges in York since the pandemic started, and their tireless efforts have played a huge role in minimising covid rates in York.
“But with infection rates rising, it is vital that we recommend families take additional action now, before cases rise further.
“We will continue to work with partners to assess the impact of the additional measures, before re-assessing whether they are needed in two weeks’ time.”