Concerns voiced over after-school restrictions

RESTRICTIONS on child Covid contacts attending extra-curricular activities should be relaxed at the beginning of October.

Bailiwick Scout Commissioner Andy Snell. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 29983525)
Bailiwick Scout Commissioner Andy Snell. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 29983525)

Currently if a child comes into contact with a positive case they have to restrict their out-of-school activities and undertake daily lateral flow tests.

The measure came into place to limit potential for cases to spread into the schools, seven of which have detected positive cases since the start of the autumn term. The schools are: Les Beaucamp, Grammar, St Anne’s, Vauvert, St Sampson’s, Amherst and St Martin’s.

Public Health director Dr Nicola Brink said that seeing cases in schools was expected.

‘Children are still a largely un-vaccinated group and if we take no precautions at all, there is the potential for cases to spread.’

Children and young people are still able to attend school, even if they have been contact traced, which Dr Brink described as a big step forward from what was possible last term.

The new restriction on extra curricular activities is a temporary measure and Public Health will reassess the situation in the coming weeks.

It has had some impact on local youth groups and sports gatherings.

Bailiwick Scout Commissioner Andy Snell said some of the affected Les Beaucamps students were members of the scouts, which meant a session at one of the units had to be cancelled.

He said he had concerns about the way in which young people are being impacted by the pandemic.

‘Our younger people are the most affected by Covid – now they’re unable to socialise or go to extra-curricular activities,’ he said.

‘There is a big chance it will affect their mental health. They are losing out on skills for life and I am concerned that there isn’t a voice for young people on this topic apart for in education.’

Guernsey Academy of Theatrical Education principal Brian Webster said he was disappointed that parents and extra-curricular club organisers had not been warned that this was a possible eventuality.

‘It would have been nice to receive some degree of consultation – we could have been better prepared,’ he said.

‘We could have planned more rehearsal times.

‘Everyone gets excited about putting on the shows and we have to think of the mental effect it has on the child if they’re cancelled,’ said Mr Webster.

Gate has worked to make the studio as safe as possible in regards to Covid-19, including installing an air filter.

‘We have had several children say they can’t make it because they’ve been traced but we haven’t had to cancel any classes.

‘We understand that schooling comes first but it would be good to have more of an explanation,’ he said.

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