I hope that you are all enjoying a restful summer break and wanted to update you about the arrangements for the start of term. Below is a brief summary below of the changes from 19th July that will take effect when we return in September.
• Anyone who is ill with Covid symptoms should not attend school and should have a PCR test.
• Bubbles are no longer needed and so all staff will be back in their classrooms.
• There will be no split break or lunchtimes (Break 11.10 – 11.30am, Lunch 1.30 – 2.15pm) and the dining room will be open for pupils to eat their lunch.
• From 16th August anyone under 18 years of age will no longer be required to self-isolate if they are a close contact and instead will be advised to have a PCR test. Test and Trace will advise direct contacts regarding this.
• Face coverings do not need to be worn.
• Ventilation: spaces to be as ventilated as possible whilst being kept at a comfortable temperature.
• 2 on-site lateral flow device tests 3 to 5 days apart on return to school in the Autumn Term.
• Remote education to stay in place for self-isolating pupils if well enough to access lessons remotely.
There has been one change issued, at this stage, regarding face coverings on home to school transport:
‘The government has removed the requirement to wear face coverings in law but expects and recommends that they are worn in enclosed and crowded spaces where you may come into contact with0202 people you don’t normally meet. This includes public transport and dedicated transport to school or college.’, therefore could pupils please wear a face covering if travelling to/from school on the bus.
It may be that some of the measures could be reintroduced if we are advised by Public Health England in response to a number of cases in the school as happened when we were dealing with the outbreak in the summer term.
Recently, we have been provided with the following guidance from the Department for Education regarding the start of the school year in September:
‘The Department’s focus is on the education of students and ensuring this can continue in the autumn term with minimal disruption. That is why we are following public health advice and asking schools and colleges to test all students at an on-site Asymptomatic Test Site (ATS) on return following the summer holidays. Students will have potentially been mixing with lots of people over the summer holidays and we know that testing participation rates amongst students via ATS are much higher than when testing at home, so it is essential that we encourage schools and colleges to do everything possible to prevent significant transmission in education settings at the start of the new term. We are also asking that schools and colleges encourage students to continue twice-weekly testing at home for the rest of this term and in the autumn, following the two initial on-site tests.’
‘All education workforce should also continue to test – twice-weekly at home – on return in the autumn term. We will review the continued need for testing, based on public health advice at the end of September.’
‘The measures we will have after summer, including testing, strike the right balance as we learn to live with the virus so children can continue in education in the best possible way.’
‘All secondary school pupils should receive 2 on-site lateral flow device tests, 3-5 days apart, on their return in the autumn term.’
Settings may commence testing from 3 working days before the start of term and can stagger return of pupils across the first week to manage this.’
As a result of this guidance for September, and in an attempt to complete the testing programme as quickly as possible, I would like to share with you our plans:
Thursday 2nd September: All year groups to be transported to school by parents/carers, tested on-site and then to return home after their test. Please arrive at the time slot allocated (times have been allocated alphabetically by surname). Year 7 pupils to enter the school through Reception and all other pupils to be tested in the Sports Hall as previously; staff will be around to direct pupils.
9.30 – 10.00
10.00 – 10.30
10.30 – 11.00
11..00 – 11.30
11.30 – 12.00
1.00 – 1.30
1.30 – 2.00
2.00 – 2.30
Friday 3rd September: Year 7 to attend for their first day of term on normal school transport (we have planned a settling in day in response to the pupils missing the normal taster day). On arrival there will be staff on the bus turn to direct pupils to the Hall; the day will start with a short assembly followed by time with their tutor, an introduction to the ICT systems and three lessons. Pupils will not need to bring PE kit. There will be a breaktime service at 11.10am with lunch at 1.30pm, pupils can bring a packed lunch or dinner money. I would suggest £4.50 if planning on having food at break and lunchtime. Staff will be on site on the 1st/2nd September to answer any questions.
Monday 6th September: Year 7 to attend school on normal school transport (they will also be tested for their second time during the school day). All other year groups to be transported to school by parents/carers, tested on-site for the second time and then to return home after their test. We will use the same timings as above.
Tuesday 7th September: All year groups to attend school on normal transport for the full start of term.
Should the Department for Education guidance change over the rest of the summer holidays, we will communicate alternative plans ready for the start of term. Please do check the school website and social media platforms for updates.
I wish you and your families a restful end to the summer holidays and look forward to seeing you all in September.
With very best wishes,
Dr Jane Tinker