Christmas contact tracing: Rules for FE providers

The DfE advises that face-to-face teaching in FE should end on 17 December to ease the contact tracing burden
8th December 2020, 5:41pm
Tes Reporter

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Christmas contact tracing: Rules for FE providers

https://www.tes.com/magazine/news/secondary/christmas-contact-tracing-rules-fe-providers
Coronavirus Contact Tracing: Rules For Fe Colleges Over Christmas

Colleges should stop all face-to-face teaching on 17 December, the government has said.

In new guidance published today, the Department for Education said this would "give a cut-off date of 23 December" for coronavirus contact tracing. "After 23 December, further education providers will not be contacted by NHS Test and Trace for contact tracing," it added.

The government explained that further education providers already had flexibility to determine term dates and decide how to deliver planned hours across the study programme. "We know that further education providers appreciate the importance of on-site teaching for young people. This change does not diminish our view that colleges should continue to maximise access to face-to-face teaching, supplemented by some remote education," the DfE said.


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However, the government said that if the amount of face-to-face planned hours for students is reduced before the end of term, it expected that "additional face-to-face planned hours will be provided before the end of the study programme".

Coronavirus: Reducing the contact tracing burden on college staff

The guidance goes on to say that colleges should make sure that staff, students, parents and carers are aware that where a student or staff member tests positive for coronavirus, having developed symptoms more than 48 hours since being on site, colleges should not be contacted. "Students should follow contact tracing instructions provided by NHS Test and Trace," it adds.

"Staff, students, parents, and carers only need to inform further education providers of a positive case where symptoms occur within 48 hours of the confirmed case being on site. Leaders will need to help identify close contacts and advise them to self-isolate."

According to the guidance, staff do not need to be available for contact tracing duties beyond the first six days of the end of term - "meaning that where a provider ends face-to-face education on Thursday 17 December, there will be no need to remain on-call after Wednesday 23 December".

"For the first six days after the end of term, further education providers are not asked to be on-call at all times. Staff responsible for contact tracing may designate a limited period in the day to receive notification of positive cases and advise close contacts to self-isolate (this can be done by text or email). The Department for Education coronavirus (Covid-19) helpline and PHE [Public Health England] advice service are available to support with any queries you have about positive cases in your college."

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