The government has published it's Autumn/Winter Plan 2021. As part of this there are some changes that have been announced:
- Booster vaccine dose for people most at risk from COVID-19
People aged 50 years and over, care home residents, frontline health and social care workers, and those aged 16 to 49 years with specific underlying health conditions will be offered a booster vaccine dose.
- First dose vaccinations for young people
All young people aged 12 to 15 will soon be offered a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
12 - 15 year olds
This autumn all young people aged 12 to 15 years are being offered the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
The government has published some guidance for children and their parents.
Letters have gone out to schools for parents, and you should receive this shortly.
The NHS is offering a booster vaccine dose to people most at risk from COVID-19 who have already had 2 doses of the vaccine.
Protection given by the COVID-19 vaccine decreases over time. A booster dose helps give you longer-term protection against getting seriously ill from COVID-19.
The NHS will let you know when it's your turn to have a booster dose. It's important not to contact the NHS for one before then.
For all information about vaccinations and who is eligible visit the NHS website.
Back to school guidance
From early September, schools and other education settings will begin to reopen following the summer holidays.
The Department for Education (DfE) and Public Health England (PHE) have issued advice and guidance for families ahead of the return to the classroom.
School, college or Early Years are the best places for young people to be.
It keeps their education on track, so they can achieve their full potential, while also benefitting their mental and physical health and wellbeing.
With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, young people are now able to enjoy more freedom in their education.
If your child develops COVID symptoms they should not attend any education setting and you should take a PCR test. But children who are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 no longer need to self-isolate. They should take a precautionary PCR test but can otherwise attend as normal.
The last 18 months have seen a great deal of disruption to children’s education. There is a lot of support available to help children catch up on lost learning.
Some COIVD-19 precautions will remain in place such as enhanced cleaning, ventilation and regular, twice weekly home testing.
Bolton Council works closely with all education settings to ensure robust risk assessments are in place and will monitor COVID cases closely taking appropriate action where necessary.
- Early Years settings like nurseries, pre-schools and childminders play a vital role in children’s educational and social development
- The DfE recommends all children attend early years settings to learn new skills and make friends, funding support is available
- All Early Years settings are following the PHE COVID-19 guidance which includes enhanced cleaning, regular had washing and staff testing
- Current evidence suggests that pre-school children are less susceptible to infection and are unlikely to contribute to the spread of COVID-19
- Bubbles and staggered start and finish times are no longer advised
- Children can again have breaktimes and lunch together and take part in practical lessons and sports with other classes and year groups
- Schools are advised to continue with regular handwashing, cleaning regimes, and to keep spaces well ventilated
- If your child is identified as a close contact they will not need to self-isolate
- Schools will have plans in place on what to do if anyone at school tests positive for COVID-19, or if additional measures are needed to be reintroduced for a limited period
- Bubbles and staggered start and finish times are no longer advised
- Young people can again have breaktimes and lunch together and take part in practical lessons and sports with other classes and year groups
- Schools and colleges are advised to continue with regular handwashing, cleaning regimes, and to keep space well ventilated
- Rapid COVID-19 testing of secondary and college students should continue even for those who have been vaccinated
- Students are advised to take two on-site rapid COVID-19 tests (3-5 days apart), followed by twice weekly testing at home
- If your child is under 18 and 6 months and is identified as a close contact they will not need to self-isolate. Instead, they will be advised to take a PCR test
- Schools and colleges will have plans in place on what to do if anyone at school tests positive for COVID-19, or if additional measures are needed to be reintroduced for a limited period
England is in Step 4 of the Roadmap
This guidance is now in place.
While cases are high and rising, everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious. This is why we are keeping in place key protections:
- testing when you have symptoms and targeted asymptomatic testing in education, high risk workplaces and to help people manage their personal risk.
- isolating when positive or when contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
- border quarantine: for all arriving from red list countries and for those people not fully vaccinated arriving from amber list countries.
- cautious guidance for individuals, businesses and the vulnerable whilst prevalence is high including:
- whilst Government is no longer instructing people to work from home if they can, Government would expect and recommend a gradual return over the summer
- Government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport;
- being outside or letting fresh air in
- minimising the number, proximity and duration of social contacts.
- encouraging and supporting businesses and large events to use the NHS COVID Pass in high risk settings. The Government will work with organisations where people are likely to be in close proximity to others outside their household to encourage the use of this. If sufficient measures are not taken to limit infection, the Government will consider mandating certification in certain venues at a later date.
You can read more on the government's website.
Support and guidance
For more information on COVID-19 in Bolton visit our coronavirus support pages.
Testing people to see if they have COVID-19 is really important. It allows us to identify people who have the virus and stop them from spreading it to others.
There are two types of test - for those with symptoms and those without symptoms.
As of Monday August 16, people who are fully vaccinated or under 18 no longer need to self-isolate after close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
Instead, anyone contacted by NHS Test and Trace is advised to take a free PCR test to check if they have the virus.
If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, self-isolate immediately and get a PCR test, even if your symptoms are mild. You should self-isolate at home while you book the test and wait for the results. You must self-isolate if you test positive. Your isolation period includes the day your symptoms started (or the day your test was taken if you do not have symptoms), and the next 10 full days. This is the law.
Unless you are exempt, you must also self-isolate if you are told to do so by NHS Test and Trace or live with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Only some people are exempt from this requirement – find out if you are exempt on our page of Frequently Asked Questions.
You may also need to self-isolate if you are entering the UK from abroad – find out the details on the UK government website.
You may be eligible for a self-isolation support payment.
Support for the vulnerable
The changes at Step 4 also apply to the clinically extremely vulnerable. However, we continue to advise the most vulnerable to think about extra steps they may wish to take to protect themselves.
There is additional guidance for those classed as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) who may be at greater risk from the virus.
The guidance sets out additional precautions CEV residents may consider taking, including:
- Meet friends and family outdoors or in a well-ventilated space
- Make sure you and your adult contacts are fully vaccinated
- Wait 21 days after your second vaccine before meeting others
- Ask others to wait 14 days after their second dose before meeting
- Continue to work from home where possible
- Speak to your child’s school about additional precautions for CEV pupils
Anyone worried, or feeling unsafe, about the end of legal restrictions can contact Bolton Council’s Humanitarian Support Hub for advice and support.
The hub was set up at the beginning of the pandemic and continues to provide guidance, practical help and the delivery of essential items to those who still require support.
Anyone who does not have a support network of family and friends, can call the helpline on 01204 337221 (Mon-Fri 8.30am – 5.30pm and Sat 9am-1.30pm).
Hands. Face. Space. Ventilate.
Approximately 1 in 3 people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and could be spreading it without realising it.
Remember - ‘Hands. Face. Space.Ventilate’
- hands – wash your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds
- face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet
- space – stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings).
- opening windows and doors at home is the simplest way of improving ventilation for most people.
Wherever you live, you may be able to get financial help:
- financial support packages for businesses
- financial support for closed businesses as a result of tiering restrictions
- claim for employee wages through Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- check if you can claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
- financial support if you're off work because of coronavirus