EducationKensington & Chelsea

Children to receive three Covid tests during first week back at school

Health chiefs also revealed that a long awaited mass vaccination centre will open at the Science Museum in South Kensington next week.

Meanwhile the borough’s infection rate has fallen to 85.2 per 100,000, which is its lowest level since late September.

The case rates among people aged over-60 are also much lower than younger generations, which is thought to be caused by rollout of Covid vaccines.

Natalia Clifford, K&C’s deputy director of public health

News about the reopening of schools was discussed on Tuesday during the council’s Adult Social Care & Health Select Committee.

“There’s loads of support going into schools… primarily around testing,” said Natalia Clifford, the borough’s deputy director of public health.

“At primary schools there will be staff testing twice a week.

“All secondary pupils will be tested three times as they start back, and then have two tests a week, and so will staff as well.

“And in colleges there will also be an expectation around regular testing.”

The Government also announced yesterday that it will recommend that secondary school pupils use face coverings, “including in classrooms”, for a “limited period” until Easter.

On the success of the vaccination programme, the council’s lead member for health, councillor Cem Kemahli, said: “The important metric to look at is the case rate among people aged 60+, the people most vulnerable to coronavirus.

Councillor Cem Kemahli

“Where our oldest residents are placed we’re seeing a much lower case rate than the younger population.”

Ms Clifford also said: “The case rate today continues to be a good picture.”We’re at 85.2 per 100,000, which is really great, and it’s a decrease of 28 per cent since last week.

“Our neighbours [other boroughs] around north-west London continue to be higher – around 100-150 cases per 100,000 – which is probably to do with the surge in the South African variant.”

Mr Kemahli told the meeting that the Science Museum’s mass vaccination centre, which will be run by the NHS, was originally due to open in early February.

It will instead open “in the beginning of March”.

Three vaccination centres are already operating in the borough, at St Charles’ Hospital in North Kensington, the Earls Court Health Centre and the Violet Melchett Centre in Chelsea.

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