As Bristol reaches the end of the spring term and the Easter holidays begin, Bristol City Council Director for Education and Skills, Alison Hurley, shares an update with schools, teachers and parents across Bristol.
Alison said: “It has been yet another busy and challenging term for schools and settings across Bristol. Since the wider re-opening from Monday 8 March, staff have had to quickly put in place robust safety measures and risk assessments to welcome back larger groups safely. I want to thank all the staff and wider school community, who have worked hard to make this happen so quickly and effectively.
“All of our schools have adapted very quickly to changes in regular testing and rules related to wearing masks in school buildings and in the grounds. Regular rapid testing has been introduced for education staff, the wider school community, household bubbles with children and young people in education and for secondary school settings. Logistically, this has been a huge undertaking and I want to thank once again everyone involved for their patience and cooperation as these processes have been put in place.
“Some schools have had to react to positive cases of COVID-19, at times having to send large groups of pupils or classroom bubbles home to contain the virus and stop any further spread into the school community. I know this is always a challenging decision for our educational leaders but those actions have been vital in stopping further transmission of the virus in our communities. I want to thank all of the parents, carers and guardians across Bristol for your patience throughout this time; I know how disruptive the last twelve months have been and we are hugely appreciative of your understanding of the necessary closures and isolation periods.”
The local authority continues to work closely with education leaders, staff and Public Health England (PHE) to support education settings through the coronavirus pandemic.
Between 22 February and 31 March 2021, there has been:
- 141 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in students
- 108 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in staff
- 75 schools with cases
- 1 school closure
Alison said: “All of our education settings, parents, carers, guardians and pupils have done such an incredible job once again over this term, and I wish everyone a well-deserved break over the Easter holidays. However, we must remember during the time off it’s really important that everyone remembers to follow the public health guidance. Bristol has now taken another cautious step to easing restrictions in the city, which means you can meet outdoors in groups of six or as two households and some outdoor sports facilities are able to reopen. I know that this will bring relief for a lot of families.
“We encourage pupils and families to continue to take their regular lateral flow (rapid) tests over the Easter break, and for those wider households and support bubbles connected to them who are eligible to visit our Community Collect sites to collect tests to complete. It’s really vital that we keep up these behaviours to drive down our infection rates, to protect our communities and help make this the last time we unlock from national restrictions.
“Thank you all once again and have a restful break.”
If you, or your children, are feeling anxious, support is available to you. Visit our website for a range of mental health and wellbeing services for all ages, or call the 24/7 Support and Connect helpline on 0800 0126 549.
Practical support for those unable to leave home, such as shopping and picking up prescriptions, is available through the We Are Bristol free helpline on 0800 694 0184.
See the latest COVID-19 guidance and information on the local authority website.