I hope you had a lovely weekend and managed to enjoy the warmer weather as we officially head into spring. As promised, I am writing to update you with our plans for the 8th March when students are able to return to school. Getting children back into school is the Government’s top priority, so from 8th March all students will begin returning to face to face education in schools. This approach is based on:
- The overwhelming advantages for children being in school; from an education and life path point of view.
- The risk to children is low from coming to school and catching Covid-19.
- The reason why schools were partially closed was due to the impact on the R number. Professor Whitty said that there is now some headroom and it is right that we open schools first. There is a natural firebreak at Easter.
Returning to school
In order to conduct the testing safely and support students’ transition back into school we will be following the staggered pattern of return as shown below. Students will come in for testing and then return home; they will start school-based learning on the following day.
For example, Year 11 will be tested on Monday 8th March but they will return to school Tuesday 9th March. Students will not be required to wear their uniform on the day they are tested on site and will be expected to return home promptly following social distancing measures once testing is completed. For testing, students should enter the school from the main gates.
|Date||Year group coming in for testing only||Year group starts school-based learning on site|
|Monday 8th March||Year 11 (am) Year 10 (pm)|
|Tuesday 9th March||Year 9 (am) Year 12 &13 (pm)||Year 11 & 10|
|Wednesday 10th March||Year 7 (am) Year 8 (pm)||Year 9, 10 11 12 & 13|
|Thursday 11th March||2nd tests will commence with year groups.||All year groups back on site|
Further details on actual timings will be shared with parents/carers in a separate letter from tomorrow.
Our bus services (routes MY8 and 652), operated by ASD Coaches, will resume from Monday 8th March, following their usual timetable. Please click here to view bus timetables.
While the news of returning to school is most welcomed as we take steps back to normality, please be aware that remote learning is still very much a possibility. Fast and easy access testing has become more widely available but please be aware that increased testing may lead to more self-isolation. Provision for Key Worker/Vulnerable students will continue as normal until they return to face to face teaching when their year group returns to school-based learning.
Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs) can be carried out safely and help prevent the spread of Covid-19 in our community. Testing is voluntary and will commence from 8 March, however, it is very important that as many students as possible take part in the Covid testing programme to minimise the chances of an outbreak of Covid-19 in our school community in the future.
I am attaching our links to the consent forms; please can you ensure this is completed by Wednesday 3rd March. If you have previously consented then there is no need to complete again. If you or your child do not consent to testing, students should attend school from the day that school-based learning resumes. After an initial programme of three tests in school, students will be provided with two rapid tests to use each week at home.
*Years 11, 12 and 13 should complete the consent form themselves via their google account.
How does home testing work?
Comprehensive guidance on self-testing is in the ‘Instructions for Use’ leaflet which comes with the LFT kit; students will need to conduct the test twice a week. Results are ready in around 30 minutes as the LFTs supplied do not require laboratory processing. Once the LFT has been conducted you will need to log the test result online and also, separately, inform the school of the results. Further details will be sent in due course.
Anyone that tests positive in school will need to return home and self-isolate immediately for 10 days. They will not need a PCR test to confirm the result if tested on site at the academy.
Sickness absence and reporting
Please remember that you must not send your child to school if they are unwell or displaying any of the following symptoms of Covid-19:
- New continuous cough
- High temperature
- Loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)
Any member of our school community that is displaying symptoms must self-isolate and be tested. In the event of a positive test result, we will inform Public Health England (PHE) and require all students identified as being within prolonged close contact to the infected person to isolate for 10 days. In the event of a positive case in a child, students identified through close contact will be required to return to remote learning and self-isolate for the government advised 10 days. Staff will also be able to test themselves at home twice a week starting Friday 5th March. If students have previously been tested positive they will not be tested for 90 days as the LFTs can generate a false positive. We are aware of students who have previously tested positive where you have notified the school.
Arrangements for school day
All students will return to classroom-based learning 11th March once the initial test is completed. Students should arrive and enter the school through their usual entrance:
- Year 7, 9 and sixth form – Main gate
- Year 8, 10 and 11 – Copperhouse gate
Students will have access to the school site from 8.30am as they did previously and form time will begin promptly at 8.45am.
Once we are in a position to start any after school interventions or clubs we will let students know. To minimise spread of the virus, lockers will continue to be out of bounds and students will need to take their belongings between lessons. There will be no whole year group assemblies taking place in the hall throughout the Spring Term to ensure safety, instead these will continue where possible virtually.
Lunchtimes will continue to be staggered from Tuesday 9 March so that the Year Groups do not mix and they will have their own areas as they did previously. All students are required to bring in a packed lunch from the 8th to 10th of March when attending school as our catering services will not be resuming until 11th March.
Face masks and social distancing
As part of our protective measures, all staff and students in secondary schools are advised to wear face coverings in all areas, including classrooms, until at least Easter unless they have a medical exemption. As parents/carers please can you ensure that students arrive at school with face masks; previously all students have been excellent at this and this is down to your support. We appreciate that a small minority of students are exempt due to health conditions. We are aware of those students and these will be accommodated.
All normal school rules will apply as well as additional expectations around behaviour in corridors and the maintenance of social distancing. If students choose to ignore these expectations then the school will apply the normal range of sanctions. There will be regular cleaning of all shared spaces including classrooms, corridors, IT suites and toilets. We have put in place a “cleaning habit routine” at the start and end of every lesson in every classroom that is being used. Hand sanitiser will be the principle means of securing hand hygiene and will be easily accessible across school grounds.
Should you or your children be offered a vaccine, we will do everything to support you in accepting it. Please do let us know if it clashes with any timetable commitments, and we will do our best to accommodate. Please be aware that should you or your family have the vaccine, or already be vaccinated, you and your family still need to adhere to the ‘Stay Safe’ rules regarding social distancing, face coverings, hand hygiene etc. While you may be protected from Covid-19 many in our school community are not, and even vaccinated people could still carry the virus.
As always, I thank you for your ongoing support in welcoming our students back from 8th March, and in the meantime, please continue to take care and stay safe and if there are any further questions please feel free to contact the school.
Mrs N Anwar | Principal