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Covid cases in children drop as Kent schools ditch bubble system and face masks


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Covid cases among children in Kent decreased by almost 20% in the first week of term, latest figures reveal.

With most students settling in to their second week back at school, coronavirus cases among youngsters in the county fell by 363 week-on-week to September 11.

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KentOnline analysis of infection rates among those aged under 19 shows 1,568 positive tests were recorded across Kent and Medway in the seven days to September 11.

Although the number of infections deceased from the 1,931 recorded in the week children returned, cases are still 60 times higher among kids than this time last year.

The rate of Covid cases is also far higher among the county's children than in any other demographic.

While a fall is a positive sign cases may not be flagged up for several days after infection, meaning next week's rates will give a fuller picture of the impact of the return to classrooms.

The bubble system has been scrapped and previous rules about safety measures in schools have been turned into guidelines.

Andrew Reese, the CEO of the Skills for Life which looks after Greenacre Academy, Walderslade Girls School, Warren Wood and Hilltop Primary Academies and Chantry Community Academy in Gravesend said: "This year is very different to last.

"Children aren’t in bubbles, there aren’t staggered starts or wearing of masks. Hand washing and social distancing will continue though.

Andrew Reese, the CEO of the Skills for Life
Andrew Reese, the CEO of the Skills for Life

"Risk assessments have been updated to reflect the changes and a contingency plan is in place so stakeholders know what to do in certain situations.

"This also contains how decisions regarding reintroducing restrictions will be made. and when, if necessary.”

Pupils who test positive must isolate at home for 10 days and their close contacts will be asked to take PCR tests in an attempt to avoid whole classes being sent home.

Meanwhile, all secondary pupils are being asked to take two lateral-flow tests at school - three to five days apart.

The bubble system has been scrapped and previous rules about safety measures in schools have been turned into guidelines
The bubble system has been scrapped and previous rules about safety measures in schools have been turned into guidelines

Along with the drop in positive cases amongst pupils the number of those in hospital with Covid across Kent has also fallen to 125, with 10 in ventilation beds.

This comes as 83% of over 18s have had both of their jabs, with 89% having at least one.

Some children are now able to get their jabs after health leaders approved first doses of the Pfizer vaccine for over-12s on Monday.

A poll of KentOnline readers found the majority of people voting were in favour of children having the jab (57%). Some 28% were against it and 15% were unsure.

Of the youngsters in Kent who tested positive for Covid in the week up to September 11, 573 were aged 15-19, 468 were aged 10-14, 300 were aged five to nine and 107 were below the age of four.

Read more: All the latest Covid news

Read more: All the latest Kent news

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