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Children, young people, teachers and care workers praised for their efforts through the pandemic

09 July 2021

With just a few days left of the school year, children and young people and their nurseries, schools and colleges have been praised for their dedication and determination through another difficult stage of the pandemic.

In a letter and video message to all children and young people, the Acting Medical Officer of Health, Deputy Ivan Muscat, offers his thanks on behalf of the Government of Jersey for showing "real courage, hope, and understanding".

Following a significant increase in COVID-19 infections, Dr Muscat, who has been leading the Island's health response to the pandemic, has also offered reassurances that "children and young people remain at the lowest risk from the effects of COVID."

He said: "Most children don't have symptoms at all and if they do, they will be mild symptoms. But as with flu some will feel unwell and need to rest."

In an effort to engage and explain the recent changes to the COVID-19 policy guidelines, directly to children and young people, Dr Muscat, added: "The reason is that lots of adults in Jersey are now vaccinated.

"This has meant that COVID infection is mild in the community and not many people need to go to Hospital because of COVID. And this means that we can all start to enjoy our freedom again with our friends and family, which is so important for everyone's health and wellbeing.

"However, COVID has not gone away, so it is still really important to keep your guard up and follow the public health guidelines and keep washing your hands and ensure adequate ventilation. And if you are worried about anything it is important to, speak to a parent or carer, trusted adult or teacher. There are also services to help over the summer such as YES, (Youth Enquiry Jersey) Kooth Jersey and the Children and Families Hub."

The Children's Commissioner, Deborah McMillan, has also shared a video message to all children and young people and said: "I've been working with the Government closely, to ensure that any decisions that they have made are based on your best interests, as children and young people, to make sure that your health and wellbeing is at the forefront of those decions."

Writing to staff across nurseries, schools and colleges, Dr Muscat said: "You should be proud of the efforts you have all made across the early years, school and college communities during the last year. Through your rigorous and effective implementation of public health guidelines, you have helped to keep nursery, school and college settings open and children in continuous face-to-face learning all year.

"It has been heartening to see the continued passion and professionalism that has been displayed demonstrating your commitment to putting children and families first."

Education and Children's Minister, Deputy Scott Wickenden, also personally thanked nursery, school and college leaders, and their staff for their "amazing efforts" at a meeting he attended with headteachers, yesterday afternoon.

Deputy Wickenden said: "Thank you for all efforts this year and last year during COVID and the extra mitigations you have had to rapidly put in place and manage, such as Lateral Flow Testing on site, class bubbles, staggered starts and drop offs.

"You have also been dealing with children, young people, parents and carers as well as teachers and staff who are anxious about what is going on. You and your staff have all done an amazing job and I want to thank you all for that."

Dr Muktanshu Patil, a Consultant Paediatrician, at the General Hospital, has also answered some common questions to help children and young people and their families to understand more about COVID and his videos will be shared on social media and with nurseries, schools and colleges.

The Government of Jersey has created a playlist Children, Young People and COVID-19 - YouTube, which is dedicated to COVID advice for children and young people, including videos from, Dr Ivan Muscat, the Children's Commissioner, what a PCR test looks like for those children and young people who haven't had one before, handwashing reminders and questions answered by Dr Muktanshu Patil.

Further information and advice will be added to the playlist throughout the summer.

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