17 September 2021
Firstly, I would like to begin by paying tribute to all of our children and young people for their resilience and determination as they returned to school earlier this month.
It has been heartening to also see first-hand how hard schools, nurseries and colleges have worked to ensure children and young people have been able to return safely.
Before the start of school, we announced a package of Covid-safe measures, including some restrictions, which remain in place today.
These measures will provide additional protection to our children and young people and all our staff who continue to give students the best experience possible throughout this pandemic.
One of those measures has been the introduction of home-based Lateral Flow Tests for all staff and secondary school students
The response to the self-testing kits has been outstanding. I'd like to thank the four and a half thousand students and twelve hundred staff who have already registered for the tests to use at home. More than 6,500 tests have been negative with just 13 positives recorded so far.
Proving that the measures we have put in place are working.
We will continue to push for even more students and staff to take up the offer as this remains one of the best ways to monitor COVID in education.
As the Chief Minister has said, we do anticipate cases to rise and fall in our community over the coming months and this is also true in our schools.
So, I would like to take this opportunity to urge all our staff and students to continue to keep their guard up and follow the public health guidelines in place.
We will be keeping our current measures under review, and we will introduce more restrictions if this is needed.
However, we are also keen to avoid the measures themselves becoming a disruption to education, and this balance will be crucial as we progress through the Autumn term.
Today we are also announcing plans to begin offering the Pfizer vaccine to 12–15-year-olds both on island and for those children in care or otherwise cared for off-island.
Like all vaccinations, these will be entirely voluntary, and we will also require parental consent for young people to get their jab.
Our excellent team at the Fort Regent Vaccine Centre will be setting up a specialist area with a team of staff who have experience in vaccinating young people to make the process as easy and welcoming as possible.
We hope to begin offering these vaccines for younger Islanders as soon as the 27th of September and I would encourage all those eligible to sign up as soon as possible.
We will have age-appropriate information available and there will be an opportunity for young people to question the experts on any queries they may have.
I would like to thank the Children's Commissioner for her support and advice with the Child Rights Impact Assessment.
This has been jointly produced by the Children's Commissioner, alongside officers from Children, Young People Education and Skills and Policy.
The Child Rights Impact Assessment explores the proposals to extend the COVID-19 vaccination programme to children and young people and considers this proposal from the rights and perspectives of children and young people. It's now published on gov.je
Evidence for this impact assessment was taken from the views of more than 2,000 children and young people who took part in a confidential joint survey about Covid at the start of this pandemic.
This was led by CYPES alongside the Children's Commissioner's Office. The data showed that the wellbeing of children and young people is affected by the continual withdrawal from school due to the effects of the pandemic.
This is why, we must do all we can to ensure that children do not miss out on their right to education.
Vaccines for children will help to reduce disruption in schools.
We know that young people are at lower risk from COVID, but it is still important to protect yourself and keep your guard up.
Getting vaccinated remains one of the most important things you can do to keep yourself, and those around you, safe.