Staying Safe During COVID
The Department for Education published revised guidance for schools on the 17th August and our COVID-19 protocols and procedures have been revised once again in the light of this.
The control measures in place for Education Settings consist of 4 aspects:
- Follow public health advice on testing, self-isolation and managing confirmed cases of COVID-19
- Ensure good hygiene for everyone
- Maintain appropriate cleaning regimes
- Keep occupied spaces well ventilated
All educational settings will continue to work with the local health protection teams in the case of a local outbreak. If there is a substantial increase in the number of positive cases in a setting, or if central government offers the area an enhanced response package, a director of public health might advise us to temporarily reintroduce some enhanced control measures, yet we sincerely hope these will not be required.
The main changes will be:
- There will be no class or group bubbles. Children will be able to mix in all aspects of school life.
- School will not close to large groups of pupils for single positive cases anymore as the requirement for other children (all under 18s) to isolate following a close contact with a positive COVID-19 case ended on 16th August.
Responsibility for reporting and informing close proximity contacts has shifted from schools to the NHS Track and Trace systems.
What you need to know…
Follow public health advice on testing, self-isolation and managing confirmed cases of COVID-19, pupils should not come into school if:
- They have symptoms of COVID-19 which include:
A High temperature
A new, continuous cough
A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
- They have had a positive test result themselves (Note: In line with the new guidance, individuals are no longer required to self-isolate if they live in the same household as someone with confirmed COVID-19, or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 and are below the age of 18 years and 6 months. Instead, they will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace, informed they have been in close contact with a positive case and advised to take a lateral flow test and, if positive, a confirmatory PCR test. We would strongly encourage all individuals to take a PCR test if advised to do so. Once confirmed negative, children may return to school.
- There are other reasons requiring them to stay at home due to the risk of them passing on COVID-19 (for example, they are required to quarantine following international travel).
If anyone in school develops COVID-19 symptoms, however mild, they (and any siblings who live in the same household) will be sent home to follow public health advice.
Your child’s academic recovery is reliant on good attendance. The Department of Education identifies attendance below 95% as being poor and below 90% as ‘persistent absenteeism’. Our own school data, as well as that issued nationally, makes it clear that poor attendance results in poorer outcomes for children.
From September, attendance related to COVID that is not linked to a direct positive test outcome for the pupil will not be authorised, nor will absences resulting from wider COVID-related concerns / anxieties raised by parents. Therefore, the only legitimate reasons for COVID related non-attendance will be because the individual pupil has received a positive test result themselves or have symptoms and are awaiting the results of a PCR test. (The latter takes approx. 48 hours).
We will of course continue to support those who need to learn remotely as they self-isolate, because they have tested positive, with remote learning should they be well enough to undertake this.
Staff will maintain their twice-weekly lateral flow testing until such a point as government advice on this changes.
Ensure Good Hygiene For All
We will continue to maintain frequent and regular hand washing / sanitation and adopt the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach to respiratory hygiene.
Enhanced Cleaning Regimes
We will also preserve the enhanced cleaning regimes across the Academy, which include a midday-circulatory clean.
As COVID-19 is known to spread via air particles, maintaining good levels of ventilation is a key strategy to reduce the risk of transmission. When the Academy is in operation, we will continue to ensure it is well-ventilated, but also that a comfortable learning environment is maintained.
Face coverings are no longer advised for pupils, staff and visitors either in classrooms or in communal areas. However, as a setting we are giving our staff team the option to continue to wear these should they so wish. Face masks are still recommended to be worn in enclosed and crowded spaces where people may come into contact with people they don’t normally, including school transport. It is therefore recommended that those travelling to school via bus / taxi continue to wear a face mask when on transport unless exempt.
Again, if we have a substantial increase in the number of positive cases in our setting, the wearing of face coverings by staff and visitors (unless exempt) in communal areas or classrooms may be re-introduced as part of our containment management plan. However, we will communicate this with you should the need arise.
Should you wish to discuss any aspect of our COVID response measures with us, please contact the Academy directly.
Details of the steps we are taking to safeguard each other can be found below: