29th September 2021
Dear Parents and Carers
Urgent Update regarding the Covid-19 situation in school
Following a sudden and quite sharp rise in the number of positive Covid-19 cases in school this week, we will be reinstating some contingency measures in school from tomorrow. This is in line with our Covid-19 School Risk Assessment, our Outbreak Management Plan and with the advice and consultation I have had with the Department for Education and the North Yorkshire Public Health England team.
Understandably, concern is growing among our students and families, and it is important that we take swift actions to mitigate against the spread of Covid. However, please can I ask parents to rely on information that comes directly from school about this situation, rather than unofficial sources such as social media. Yesterday we were alerted to a post on Facebook claiming that we have over 100 positive cases in school. This is not the case, and it will only spread alarm and panic. It was only yesterday that we reached the 10% of the school cohort figure which is one of the thresholds to prompt further action.
I am constantly in touch with other schools and our Local Authority School Adviser has told me this morning that they are seeing many similar patterns, ‘and worse’ in many other schools in the area. It is in fact a national trend and one that was acknowledged and predicted by the DfE before students returned from the summer.
What measures will be in place from tomorrow?
- Classrooms will be ‘spray & wiped’ in between lessons.
- Year group social zones will be back in place outside, at break and lunch.
- Students and staff must wear masks again on corridors, and can choose to wear them in lessons. Those who are exempt will not have to.
- Students should still be wearing masks on buses (whether it is a public bus or school bus).
- The single file corridor rule will come into effect again on the one-way system.
- Hand-sanitising on entry into every lesson will continue.
- Rooms will continue to be well-ventilated.
- Students and staff should continue to be testing at home, twice a week.
- Students will be regularly reminded of our No Physical Contact
Why are we not reverting to year group bubbles?
This is not currently being advised as it becomes too prohibitive for schools to carry out the day to day activities that need to happen. If the situation gets significantly worse, this and other measures will be considered.
My child does not have Covid-19, but I am worried about sending him/her into school
We understand that many parents will feel this way, and that students will also be more anxious. This is where we ask that you put your faith in the actions the school is taking to mitigate against the situation becoming much worse. But the guidance we are required to follow is very clear:
- We can only authorise an absence as Covid-related if your child has tested positive, or has symptoms, or has been instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, or has a specific condition that has led to your GP advising you to keep them at home at this time.
- Covid-related absences do not count against your child’s school attendance.
- For these students, we are required to set work each day, for each lesson.
- We cannot authorise absences for students where parents are choosing to keep them at home because they are worried about Covid, unless they meet the criteria in no.1.
- Any absences that fall under no.4 are unauthorised, and work is not set for these students.
I would ask for parents’ understanding that this is not a BHS school policy – it is national guidance that we are required to follow.
What should I do if my child has symptoms or receives a positive result from a home test?
- If your child has symptoms, please get them to take a home test, (and please do this routinely twice a week). Do not send him/her into school
- If it is positive, they should self-isolate straightaway and report their test result
- Parents should email firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com to inform school of the day of the test result, and the first day of symptoms
- Parents should book a confirmatory PCR test for the child as soon as possible, either online, through the NHS COVID-19 app, or by calling 119 and the child continues to self-isolate whilst awaiting results of the PCR test
- Any unvaccinated adults in their household should self-isolate whilst awaiting their PCR result, unless they are exempt.
PLEASE REMIND YOUR CHILD TO BRING A FACE COVERING WITH THEM TO SCHOOL
This is a very difficult time for you as families, and for the students and staff in school. Please be assured that we are following all the latest guidance, and reviewing the situation daily as it is ever-changing. As always, if you have any specific issues or concerns that are not addressed within this letter, please email firstname.lastname@example.org .