Return to school, January 2022

I am writing to wish you and your children a very happy new year, and to give some more details about the start of term tomorrow. There are important announcements here about face coverings, school bags and lateral flow tests.

I hope you have had a good break over Christmas and the New Year, and that you are now helping your children prepare to return to school.

As you know, Tuesday 4 January 2022 is a staff training day. The school is closed to students, apart from sixth form students, who have been asked to come in for a lateral flow device test in the afternoon.

On Wednesday 5 January, all year groups return to school, at the usual school starting time. Students need to have arrived and be within the inner school gate (the ‘late gate,’ as some students call it) by 08:40.

We are following new government guidance: ALL STUDENTS ARE REQUIRED TO WEAR A FACE COVERING when they are inside the school buildings, INCLUDING IN CLASSROOMS, UNLESS THEY ARE MEDICALLY EXEMPT. Medically exempt students should wear their yellow lanyards.

We understand that wearing a face covering for sustained periods is a challenge, and I ask for your cooperation in helping your children to meet with this change in government guidance. Please make sure your child comes to school each day with TWO face coverings. They will need to change their face covering during the course of the day, for hygiene reasons.

We will be wearing face coverings indoors to keep one another as safe as possible. We hope that this will mean we can keep school open and attendance high. We know that this is better for students’ education, their wellbeing and their mental health.

Wearing face coverings in lessons is a change from the position in December, and it is in response to the huge rise in COVID-19 cases that the country is experiencing right now. Government guidance will be reviewed on 26 January, and I will keep you informed about any changes.

Students will continue to have break and lunch times outside, unless the weather is extreme. They do not need to wear their face coverings outside the school buildings.

Please remember that your child needs to bring their school bag with them every day to school.

All students should be carrying out lateral flow tests twice weekly. This is even more important now, with such high numbers of people infected. We will test students once during the first week. If your child tests positive or shows symptoms of COVID, they must not attend school. They will need to have a PCR test to confirm the diagnosis.

If someone else in your household has COVID but your child does not have symptoms, the current guidance is that they must take a lateral flow test every day for 7 days, and they can continue to attend school if the test result is negative.

We will continue to work very hard to keep the school open for learning. We are also required to plan for contingencies, however, and we do not know yet how this part of the pandemic will develop and how it may affect student and staff attendance. If your child does not have access to a computer at home, please let us know as soon as possible. We have some Department of Education laptops that we can lend to students, to support their learning and to use in the event of a partial closure.

With all good wishes, Yours faithfully

Mr A T Fowler

Principal

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