1st December 2021
Update on Covid-19
As you would expect, we are constantly monitoring the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 we have within our school setting at any one time so that we are aware at the earliest opportunity if the number of cases meets the threshold set by the Government. When the threshold is met, we are required to consider whether temporary, additional COVID -19 control measures are required.
The threshold set by the Government is:
- Five children, students or staff, who are likely to have mixed closely, test positive for COVID-19 within a 10-day period, OR
- 10% of children, pupils, students or staff who are likely to have mixed closely, test positive for COVID-19 within a 10-day period.
We are writing to inform you that our outbreak in Year 7 has now ended and to explain the additional, temporary measures we have put in place as more than 5 cases have been identified in Year 8 and this meets the threshold.
We know that you may find this concerning but it is recognised that education settings may meet the threshold from time to time and we are continuing to monitor the situation and work closely with Public Health England and our local Outbreak Management Hub.
The fact that you are receiving this letter does not mean that your child is a contact of case. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
The measures that we already have in place across the school (Stage 0 measures) are:
- Continuing to monitor case levels to determine whether threshold is met.
- Issuing regular reminders to parents/carers and staff to be diligent looking out for symptoms; if anyone has symptoms or is generally unwell with cold-like symptoms, headache and/or body aches – advise to get a PCR test.
- 2 x weekly LFD testing for staff.
- Parents/carers are asked that LFD testing for a total of 10 consecutive days in addition to a PCR test (on day 2-3 after first exposure) takes place for pupil household contacts. A child can continue to attend school if their results (PCR & LFD) are negative. (Not applicable to any person who has tested positive within 90 days).
- If cases start to rise, we will continue to reinforce messaging to staff and parents to look out for symptoms, including wider symptoms, and get a PCR test.
- Maintaining good levels of ventilation with an open window in each classroom.
- Maintaining good levels of cleaning.
- Maintaining good standards of hand hygiene (all staff and pupils).
The following additional measures are now in place for stage 1 measures due to our outbreak in Year 8;
- Enhanced cleaning in classrooms.
- Enhanced ventilation and staff reminded to ventilate classrooms.
- Enhanced frequency of hand hygiene.
- Move to remote assemblies for all year groups.
- Outdoor PE wherever possible (weather permitting) for Year 8 or in sports hall with doors open for enhanced ventilation.
- After school clubs can continue but Year 8 should not be mixing with other year groups.
- No singing/similar activities indoors involving increased respiratory secretions.
- Risk assessments have been updated for all planned school trips and events in the remaining weeks of term. The advice is to consider postponing or delivering online if possible.
As a result of an outbreak in Year 7 closely followed by an outbreak in Year 8 along with rising staff absences, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the Celebration evening and KS3 Film night and cancel the Christmas Fair to reduce transmission rates and avoid the need for staff, students, parents and the local community having to isolate over the Christmas period. We know this will be disappointing for all involved but trust that everyone understands the situation we are in.
- Local planned school trips can continue at this stage but we will review each visit to ensure it is still safe to go ahead. When travelling on any form of transport, students and staff should wear face coverings and if going to a city, they will all be briefed on what to do in the event of a terrorist incident due to the high level of alert in place in the UK, following recent serious incidents in the news.
- Visitors and parents can still come into school for meetings as long as they are wearing a face covering and if visitors are working in school, they will be asked for evidence of a negative LFD test upon arrival.
- Face coverings should be worn by students and staff in corridors and communal areas unless they are exempt, in line with the guidelines in place across England. Where possible, we encourage students to bring reusable masks to minimise the negative impact on the environment due to the volume of masks being used each day. Your support with this is appreciated.
- Staff briefings will be held virtually until the end of term.
All of these measures aim to reduce transmission of COVID-19 in school, and a review will be carried out on the 9th December, with Public Health, to decide whether some or all of the additional measures can be removed or whether they should remain in place until the next review. Scheduled reviews are in addition to the daily monitoring of case numbers in the school. If any further measures are recommended, we will share the details with you as soon as possible.
Regular Lateral Flow Testing
It is very important that all those who have signed up take part in twice weekly testing. We need everyone with a home test kit to test each week on a Monday and Thursday and inform school of any positive results along with registering the result at: Report a COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test result - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) Test kits are issued in school every 3 weeks and are available from the school reception. In January, we will be undertaking LFD testing for all students for whom we have consent, when students return to school after the Christmas break. Further details will be released at the end of term.
What to do if your child develops symptoms of COVID-19
The main symptoms of COVID-19 are the recent onset of:
- new continuous cough and/or
- high temperature and/or
- a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)
If your child develops any of these symptoms, then arrangements should be made for them to take a PCR test as soon as possible. Your child should remain at home while awaiting the PCR test result if they have symptoms. Please note that we are also sending students home if we believe they have a symptom requiring a PCR test. Testing can be arranged by calling 119 or via the NHS website: www.nhs.uk/coronavirus Please keep us informed of the result of the test.
What to do if your child is generally unwell
If your child is unwell with general symptoms such as a sore throat, runny nose, and/or headache/muscles aches, they should not attend school to avoid spreading infection within the school setting. We may send students home if we believe they present a risk of infection to other students, however it is important that students attend school wherever possible to continue with their learning as attendance in school is statutory.
What to do if your child is a close contact of someone who has COVID-19
We would ask all parents/carers of children in school to arrange for a PCR test for their child/children if they are a close contact of someone who has COVID-19. Please note that your child can attend school while waiting for the results of a PCR test providing that they do not have any symptoms.
If a child or parent is in the same household as someone who tests positive for Covid, they should take a PCR test 3 – 5 days after the first day of exposure and should do daily LFD tests. Additional testing kits can be requested and collected from the school office. Students can continue to attend school if their results both LFD and PCR are negative. This is not applicable to any person who has tested positive within 90 days. Please note that in England, you do not have to isolate whilst waiting for a PCR result if you have no symptoms whereas in Wales, you do.
Thank you for your continued support and please rest assured that we will continue to monitor the situation carefully and to be guided by the advice of our Local Public Health Team. I will keep you updated as necessary.