Support available for schools over the Christmas period
The Public Health Agency (PHA) operates a dedicated COVID-19 education team to provide support on cases of COVID-19 that occur in a school setting. The team operates from Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm, and on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 2pm during term time.
Our dedicated education team will remain open until 4pm on 23rd December.
While schools are closed over the Christmas period and not directly providing contact tracing support in schools, the service provided by the education team will continue to be delivered through our Health Protection Duty Room or on call service and Contact Tracing Service.
The Duty Room provides public health management advice to range of professional organisations for all reported infectious diseases including those that occur in a school setting. Schools may therefore have had previous experience of working with the Duty Room.
If a school principal becomes aware of a case of COVID-19 in their school and needs further support or guidance during this period, they can contact the Duty Room or on call service for advice – this is a 24/7 service. All schools will receive a reminder of the contact details for support in a letter that will be issued this week.
Any issues relating to contact tracing in schools over the Christmas period will be managed by our Contact Tracing Service, which will provide advice to individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 and inform close contacts of their exposure. This service will continue to operate throughout the Christmas period.
It is important to emphasise that schools will receive the support they need throughout the Christmas and New Year period. We are grateful to schools for having worked so closely with us to date to manage COVID-19 occurrences, and this collaborative approach will continue as we move forward into 2021.