I hope that you are well and looking forward to the Christmas break when it arrives in a few weeks time. I am writing to you following the announcement over the weekend from the government and Department for Education on additional measures to be put in place for schools. As you are aware there is a new variant of Covid-19 called Omicron and the government has put in place these additional protective measures in childcare settings and schools to reduce the transmission rates of COVID-19.
Please see below the guidance from DFE below:
New Information for all education and childcare settings on new measures in response to the identification of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in the UK
The new measures will be introduced as a precaution to slow down the spread of the variant while we gather more information. DfE will continue to keep this under review as the situation develops.
- Face coverings: Face coverings should be worn in communal areas in all settings for staff, visitors and pupils or students in year 7 and above, unless they are exempt. Pupils or students (in year 7 or above) should continue to wear face coverings on public and dedicated school transport, unless they are exempt.
- Testing: All educational and childcare settings should continue to encourage staff and students to test twice weekly using lateral flow devices (LFD).
- Contact tracing and isolation: The current guidance on contact tracing and isolation remains in place. Any suspected or confirmed close contacts of the Omicron variant will be asked to isolate for 10 days
As a result of this guidance, from tomorrow (30th November 2021) we will be reintroducing wearing masks in all communal areas for staff and students. Please can you ensure that your child brings in a face covering everyday to school to support the reduction in transmission of Covid-19. We will provide a small number of disposable masks to students but please be aware that we do have limitations in stock. Your child does not need to wear a mask if they are exempt and should already have an exemption card which can be replaced if needed via the pastoral team. Please can you also continue with lateral flow testing every Wednesday and Sunday and inform the academy of any positive results.
On our return in January we have been asked to carry out testing on site once again following the Christmas holidays. We are currently working out the plans for this and once details have been finalised we will write to parents/carers to inform you of these arrangements.
We recently wrote to you regarding lockers being reintroduced in a staggered manner for year groups, as the guidance for COVID-19 has been updated, we will be postponing this until the new year. We understand that this may be frustrating for you and the students, however, we need to ensure that students are not congregating in corridors which will increase transmission rates.
Across the academy the number of cases has been broadly low over the last three weeks and significantly lower than before the half term. The next few weeks are critical though and hopefully the measures re-introduced today should further limit transmission.
Our parents evenings have continued to be virtual this academic year with year 7 commencing as normal 2nd Dec 5-7.30pm and next week we will be reviewing our Christmas events such as the school play to see if these large gatherings are safely feasible given the current situation for COVID-19.
Finally, if you are planning to go abroad over the Christmas holidays please be aware that under the government’s new rules, everyone entering the UK (other than those coming from the Common Travel Area that covers the Channel Islands and Ireland) will have to take a PCR test by the end of the second day after their arrival and self-isolate until they receive a negative result. This includes UK citizens returning from an overseas trip. Please be aware of these new regulations if you are planning to go abroad over the Christmas period as any absences caused by having to isolate after a holiday in school time may be recorded as unauthorised.
I would like to thank you again for your ongoing support during these unpredictable times.