Blog # 21 – w/c 08/03/2021
So, after what seems like an eternity, we’re back into the swing of things.
We were delighted to welcome all of our students back to school this week. And, what a great start they have had. Almost all parents and carers gave consent for their children to be tested, which is great news. Students had a staggered return to school between Monday and Wednesday, were tested in the Sports Hall and got their negative results before they entered the main building and joined the main school community.
Whilst we all know that the lateral flow tests are not 100% accurate, they do offer an extra layer of protection to everyone, therefore reducing the risk of potential infection. Students will be tested a further twice in school and, after that, will be issued with testing kits so that they can complete the tests at home. It is important that everyone sticks to the testing schedule and reports their test results online. Of course, we will give further guidance and support when we issue the home-testing kits. If your child has not been tested, it is still not too late. Either fill in the online form or contact the school and we can help you to do this.
I have to say that our students looked amazing when they returned on Monday and thanks goes to all of our parents and carers for support with uniform. There were, as always, one or two who didn’t quite get it right, but these issues have now been resolved. It is so important that, after the most disrupted academic year in recent history, our students are supported to get back into the usual routines of the school day and wearing the uniform is just one small step towards reminding everyone of the high expectations we have of all of our students. It sets the tone for learning and helps to support a calm environment. Please help us to make the transition back to school successful and continue to ensure that your children are dressed in line with the uniform policy.
You will be aware that the government has made the wearing of face masks compulsory at school, including during lessons. Once again, thanks go to the vast majority of parents and carers who continue to support this. Everyone who wears a mask is being responsible by protecting others. I am conscious that there are some people who are exempt from wearing a face mask, while others find it difficult. I am also aware that some argue that the wearing of face masks doesn’t reduce transmission of the virus, despite there being a lot of data to suggest otherwise.
Whatever our personal feelings may be, the wearing of face masks is a national strategy that is part of ensuring a safe return to school for all students and, as such, it is our duty as a school to support that initiative. Whilst we won’t send anyone home who is not wearing a mask, we will strongly recommend that they do wear one, and we have a stock of masks in school. I’m sure that the need to wear a face covering in school is fairly short term and is part of a concerted effort to prevent a surge in infection rates now we have started mixing as a school community once more. We will, of course, keep you up to date with the latest guidance.
It is ironic that it happened during the last week before school reopened but you will be aware that a very small number of students recently tested positive for Covid 19. All of these students were part of the Key Worker group that has remained in school since January. As a result, no returning students have been affected. Those students who tested positive, along with their contacts, will all be back in school next week so the disruption to learning has been minimised. It may not be the last time that we have to deal with a positive case, but I’m sure that, as the vaccine continues to be rolled out, the incidence of new infections will continue to reduce.
Spring is definitely in the air. The cold days are not so cold, the sun has shown its face quite a bit during the last couple of weeks and the mornings and evenings are much lighter; this always makes me feel more positive.
And, we’re back at school. Whilst we acknowledge that there is going to be a bit of disruption as we work through the testing schedule, at least for the first couple of weeks, it’s important that we regain our focus as soon as possible.
We fully understand that it’s not as simple as ‘picking up where we left off’. Students have experienced almost exactly twelve months of upheaval and faced a variety of challenges. Some students have suffered bereavements, while many have functioned mainly from within the confines of their own home. We all need time to adjust, to connect and re-learn a number of skills, not least simply being in the physical company of others.
If anyone is struggling, or needs help, we have an extended pastoral team in school along with specialist mentors and counsellors. Please ask for additional support if you need it.
We understand that a return to ‘normal’ will not happen overnight but, as always, we have faith in our students, the school community and the wider community of Blacon.
We look forward to a positive and successful few weeks in the run up to Easter and a productive summer term.
Have a great weekend.