5th September 2021
I hope you’ve had a relaxing and much deserved summer, despite only having the best weather at the start of our break. As we approach the new academic year, I wish to set out the actions that we have taken to do our upmost to safeguard the educational provision and well-being of students as we are still very much in the grip of COVID-19.
We have been living in a period of uncertainty and it is difficult for us to give full confidence during a time when the guidance for schools is often at odds with that in industry and society, or where it changes with such pace that we are constantly in a state of adjustment. New guidance for schools was published at the end of August. This guidance allows a more flexible and local response for schools to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside the experts at public health and the local authority.
The main elements of this guidance are:
· To enable education to operate as close to normality as far as possible.
· To continue to strive for the best outcomes for all in our community, being mindful of their needs but also the impact on their well-being over the past two years.
· To manage and mitigate as far as possible any risks associated with COVID-19 or indeed any other element that would interrupt school.
We will continue to work with the local authority and have updated our risk assessment following their advice, looking at additional measures of control at the start of the year. The main measures remain:
· Staff and learners must not attend school if they have any Covid symptoms.
· We will continue to promote regular hand washing and the highest standards of respiratory etiquette, reminding all to “Catch it, Bin it, Kill it.”
· Where the building will allow and safety is not at risk, nor the temperatures compromised to an extent that it would make it difficult to carry out lessons, windows and doors will be open for added ventilation.
· We continue to ask the building facilities management to enhance their cleaning operations.
· We will continue to request that staff and students carry out to lateral flow tests a week.
· Seating plans will remain in place and students will be forward facing.
· Face coverings will not be routinely used in school, unless it is the wish of the individual to do so or advice from public-health or the local authority suggests that this is an important step for our school.
he best way to manage the risks is to take up the opportunity of a vaccination and we encourage those eligible to take this offer. Should a member of staff or student test positive for COVID-19, they must self-isolate and not attend school. Contacts of that case who are under the age of 18 or those who are fully vaccinated no longer have to self-isolate unless they themselves start to show symptoms. I know that this, will be of much relief to parents following the disruption of last year.
I would also like to take this opportunity to remind you of the arrangements for the staggered return of students, following the Staff only INSET day on Monday 6th September. The staggered return is in place to allow for the college to offer two on-site lateral flow device tests, 3 to 5 days apart, in line with the Department for Education ‘Schools Covid-19 Operational Guidance’.
The table below summarises arrangements for each year group.
* For students that have given consent for Covid-19 testing ONLY. Students will be invited in by appointment on their set day and then return home.
Disruption Free Learning & Mobile Phones