Regular testing, remote learning, vaccinations and police turning up to deal with anti-vax protestors have become the routine at schools in Bracknell as coronavirus cases increase nationwide.

Here, we’ll try to give you an idea of what it’s like to go to school during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Although mask requirements at schools have been lifted, mask-wearing is still recommended both at school and while pupils travel there, either by bus or dedicated transport.

Police have also been called to schools to move on vaccine-sceptic protestors. While the numbers of these protests have been 'low level', officers have been called to move the protestors on.

READ MORE: Bracknell Forest Council 'ready' to implement Plan B coronavirus restrictions

At Garth Hill College, one of the biggest secondary schools in Bracknell, pupils are encouraged to take coronavirus tests twice a week on Monday and Thursday.

If they test positive, they are asked to self-isolate if they are unvaccinated.

Pupils and students are not required to self-isolate if they live in the same household as someone with Covid-19, or are a close contact of someone with Covid-19, and any of the following apply:

  • They are fully vaccinated
  • They are below the age of 18 years and six months
  • They have taken part in or are currently part of an approved Covid-19 vaccine trial
  • They are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons

When pupils do need to self-isolate, they can receive education remotely.

At Meadow Vale Primary School, one of the biggest primary schools in Bracknell, pupils are encouraged to wash their hands and use hand sanitiser for 10 seconds. This advice is given in a pupil-friendly ‘Coronavirus Work Tool’ that can be found on the school website.

Children aged 12-15 have been able to receive the coronavirus vaccine as part of the Government’s schools vaccine programme.

Eligible school aged children have also been encouraged to get the flu vaccine – but not at school – as these vaccines can be booked at GP flu clinics and pharmacies.

READ MORE: Latest coronavirus case and death numbers in Bracknell Forest

The coronavirus situation at schools in Bracknell Forest was discussed at a meeting of the council’s local outbreak engagement board on Tuesday, October 19.

During the meeting, councillors received a presentation from Kellie Williams, the council’s interim head of transformation and engagement.

Coronavirus statistics presented at the meeting showed that school age children (five to 18 years old) have among the highest infection rates by age demographic in Bracknell Forest.

That is according to Government data on the rolling infection rate, which is the rate of people with at least one positive Covid-19 test result, either lab-reported or lateral flow device per 100,000 population in a rolling seven day period.

The most recent data was published on October 20. You can see the rolling infection rate in school age children below:

Age – rolling infection rate

5-9 – 1,019.8

10-14 – 2,1364

15-19 – 801.7

Councillors were also told what advice has been given to schools by the East Berks Health Protection Board. Two of the boards are overseeing the response to the pandemic aross the county.

The board recommends schools introduce mandatory face masks in communal areas for staff, pupils and visitors in secondary schools, unless exempt.

It also advises that face masks should be mandatory for staff and visitors in primary schools, unless exempt.

On the issue of vaccine-sceptic protests at schools, a council spokesperson confirmed reports of such protests at local schools. They said: “While there has been a low level of anti-vaxers at Bracknell Forest secondary schools, they have been swiftly managed by the police.

“We will continue to work with partner agencies as necessary to respond to such incidents.

“The Covid-19 and flu vaccination programme for secondary schools is due to finish a couple of weeks after half term.”

Pupils and staff will return to school after the half-term break on Monday, November 1.