Call to carry on doing your bit as schools return
Children and their parents are being urged to continue being cautious when schools go back next week.
In her latest video to residents, Gerry Taylor, Sunderland's Director of Public Health, also talks about the importance of regular testing and of following the guidance put in place by individual schools to help keep children safe.
Gerry said: "We know that being in the classroom is best for education and for overall mental and physical health but with Covid infections still higher than we'd like them to be, I know that some parents may be wondering about the measures which will be in place to keep both children and staff safe.
"Firstly, I would like to say a huge thank you to our schools who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to manage and respond to the changes we have faced.
"That work continues as we move to a phase where we learn to live alongside the Covid virus and many of the protective measures we are all so familiar with such as hand hygiene, face coverings and keeping spaces well ventilated, continue to be important.
"Schools will be in touch with parents directly to explain what their children can expect when they return and with cases higher among our younger population, I would urge everyone to follow the guidance put in place by your school.
"Regular testing will continue to help us find people who may be carrying the virus without knowing it. All secondary school pupils will be asked to test twice at school at the beginning of term and then asked to continue regular home testing twice a week. You can find out more information about this type of testing on our website. https://www.sunderland.gov.uk/testing
"And, as always, anyone with symptoms must isolate and get a PCR test and those who test positive must still self-isolate for 10 full days."
Gerry also urged every pupil who is eligible for a vaccination to take advantage of this.
She said: "Our best defence against Covid continues to be vaccination. Everyone 16 and over can now get vaccinated as can 12-15 year-olds if they have underlying health conditions or live with someone who is immunosuppressed. All of the information about how to get your vaccination is on our website and I would encourage everyone who is eligible to take up the offer.
"I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of our school staff, parents and young people for all of their efforts and sacrifices over the past 18 months. If we all continue to do our bit, together we can keep moving forward."
Gerry's video is available to view here: https://youtu.be/16ElkeorhAE