Return to school arrangements 5th January 2022
On Sunday 2nd January, the Government issued new guidance for schools including the introduction of face coverings in classrooms, encouraging all pupils to take an LFD test including those recently infected, a reduction in the number of days of isolation, and daily testing for close contacts. The new guidance is explained below and comes into effect when students return to school this week.
I would like to take this opportunity to also remind parents that, as per the Parentmail sent on Friday 31st December, students should take an LFD test tomorrow, Tuesday 4th January, and report any positive test results to school.
Return to school arrangements for Wednesday 5th January 2022
We are committed to reducing the further disruption to students’ education as much as possible, whilst reducing the potential transmission of the virus. We are however aware of the increasing cases of Covid19 in the local area, even though we only have a few cases reported directly to us at the moment.
We are therefore continuing with our plan to test all year groups in one day on Wednesday 5th January and to return to normal lessons as soon as they have been tested.
However, in order to reduce the mixing of year groups before they have been tested on-site, and potential transmission of the new variant, we are asking parents if they could possibly bring students into the school on Wednesday at staggered start times. Students who walk or cycle to school should also arrive at the allocated time.
- Year 7 to arrive at school as normal at 8.55am
- Year 10 arrive between 9.45 and 10am. Testing at 10am
- Year 8 arrive between 10.45 and 11am. Testing at 11am
- Year 11 arrive between 11.45 and 12pm. Testing at 12pm.
- Year 9 arrive between 1.45 and 2pm. Testing at 2pm. (students in year 9 will have work set for them on Google Classrooms for the morning)
- On arrival, students must register on the school field and will be asked to wait outside before the testing and during the processing period. They will therefore need warm outdoor clothing over their school uniform.
Unless your child has Covid symptoms or has returned a positive LFT/PCR test result on Tuesday evening/Wednesday morning prior to attending school, students should attend College as per the timings above regardless of whether they are taking part in the testing programme. However, if your child is in Year 9 and consent to testing has been withheld, then they do not need to come into school for the testing process at 2pm as this is taking place at the end of the school day.
The school buses will run as normal for students who cannot be brought into school by car. However, as I have already mentioned, we would really like to reduce the numbers of students travelling into school on the buses in the morning if at all possible to reduce the mixing of year groups before they have been tested on-site and therefore I would ask that parents do try to make arrangements for their child to arrive at school at their allocated arrival time. Buses will run as normal for the homeward journey. If students in years 8-11 do have to come into school first thing in the morning, or prior to their allocated arrival time, they will need to bring in a reading book and revision work with them. They will be supervised whilst completing independent work until their year group’s allocated testing time. Lessons will start after their year group has been tested as staff are needed to assist with the testing process.
After this on-site testing on Wednesday, students are strongly encouraged to test twice weekly at home (Sunday and Wednesday night) and to report all results to school (using the regular ALIS emailed link) and to NHS Test and Trace.
New guidance states that ‘even if someone has tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days, they are strongly encouraged to take part in LFD testing on-site or at home once they have completed their isolation period for their prior infection.’ If you now need to change permissions as a result of this change in guidance, please contact the school by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The ten-day self-isolation period for people who record a positive PCR test result has been reduced to seven days if recording a negative test result on day 6 and day 7. Those who cannot test must self-isolate for ten days.
Students may take LFD tests on day 6 and day 7 of their self-isolation period. Those who receive two negative test results are no longer required to complete ten full days of self-isolation. The first test must be taken no earlier than day 6 and tests must be taken 24 hours apart. If both of these test results are negative, and the pupil does not have a high temperature, they may end their self-isolation after the second negative test result and return to College from day 8.
Students identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19, should take an LFD test every day for seven days and continue to attend school as normal unless they have a positive test result or develop symptoms at any time. The school is not responsible for notifying close contacts.
Vaccinations for all 16-year olds and eligible 12-15-year olds
In response to the Omicron variant, the JCVI advise that a Pfizer booster vaccine should be offered to all young people aged 16 or 17 and to children aged 12 to 15 years old who are in a clinical risk group or who are a household contact of immunosuppressed individuals, and those who are severely immunosuppressed and have had a third primary dose. Further information will be issued by the NHS to parents on how eligible children and young people can get their boosters shortly.
Unless exempt, students will be expected to wear face coverings in classrooms and all indoor spaces when they return to school this week. This national advice will remain in place until Wednesday 26th January at which point it will be reviewed.
Face coverings continue to be mandatory on school transport.
All students are advised to bring a spare face covering. We have a limited supply of face coverings but will give out spares to those in need.
Other existing measures
We will continue with all other existing measures as follows:
- CO2 monitors will be used in classrooms to aid ventilation control;
- rooms will be ventilated with a regular throughput of air;
- hand sanitisers will continue to be available in corridors and communal areas;
- routine and regular hand washing is encouraged;
- ‘catch it, kill it, bin it’ encouraged for respiratory hygiene;
- on-site visitors will be restricted;
- planned events and meetings will be on-line or postponed as required;
- enhanced cleaning will be in place.
Thank you for supporting these measures and for your understanding.
Uncertainty around staff absence may require some flexibility in the coming weeks but we shall do our best to keep everything running as near as normal as possible. Together, we aim to keep each other safe and to keep school fully open.