This advice is issued by BSA in conjunction with our partners AEGIS and BAISIS and should be read in conjunction with the previous update on February 24. BSA reminds all schools that it is not a medical or legal authority and that this advice must be read in that context.
When our latest guidance was issued on Monday, news of the rapidly worsening situation in Italy had only recently broken. Since then, things have moved on considerably, not least because of a hotel being quarantined in Tenerife and first cases in Switzerland, Austria, and Croatia.
The latest DfE/PHE advice (updated this evening, February 25) can be found here.
With regard to Italy, Public Health England advice, largely mirrored by that in Wales and Scotland, continues to state that only those who have visited the quarantined towns in northern Italy need to self-isolate and that anyone else travelling from the northern part of Italy (Pisa, Florence and Rimini northwards) needs to do so if they become symptomatic. However, many schools have chosen to go beyond this advice and to require anyone coming from that part of Italy to stay at home or with a guardian, even if they have been on a school organised trip.
Public Health advice
BSA believes that school leaders must continue to consider public health advice, evaluate the risk of each individual situation, but also ensure that they take no unnecessary risks. This remains the same as the countries and areas which pose a risk continue to increase.
Advice has also changed for people travelling from Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia, as well as Iran and specific parts of South Korea. For advice about specific cases, Public Health England has a number of regional offices who can be contacted, and their contact details are here, along with those for Health Protection Scotland, Public Health Wales, Public Health Agency (Northern Ireland) and Department of Health (Ireland).
Further to our guidance regarding forward planning, BSA reiterates that schools should advise anyone planning to travel at Easter to have a plan b in case they are not able to travel or not able to return to the UK, which includes staff.
BSA has received some offers from schools remaining open over Easter to help those unable to and will include these in our Friday newsletter. Where it is possible for boarding pupils to see their parents or carers over the Easter holiday, as many will wish to do, all reasonable efforts should be made to facilitate this, while safely observing any self-isolation period which might be advised or operational at that time.
BSA also advises planning for a possible case in school. We are currently seeking advice regarding the implications for boarding schools should a local public health body close all the schools in a particular town or area, and school leaders should develop contingency and communications plans to deal with this eventuality.
BSA fully appreciates the strain this issue has put on staff in schools, and particularly on pupils and their families, some of whom are making considerable sacrifices. BSA and our partner organisations AEGIS and BAISIS will continue to support our member schools as best we can during this very challenging period.
If you would like further advice from the BSA nursing advisors, please email email@example.com.