Dear parents and carers
I am writing to thank you all for the support you have given to the school over this last term. It has been a difficult time for many families so we are more grateful than ever for your flexibility. Whilst we have not always got it right, we have tried hard to adapt to new ways of working to meet the ever changing conditions we find ourselves in.
Yesterday evening, the Department for Education updated schools on changes to the start of term. In January, all secondary schools are required to operate a staggered start to the term. Only vulnerable children, the children of critical workers, and students who have examinations this academic year are expected to access on-site education provision from the 5 January. These are all Y11 and Y13 students, and some Y12 students. Y12 should only attend if they study Travel and Tourism, Applied Business, RSL Music, Sport (single and double) and Health and Social Care. All other students should not attend that week and will be provided with remote education until 11 January when they should return to school and resume face-to-face attendance. We understand that the school buses will run as normal from 5 January.
The government has also announced that schools will be offered lateral flow testing from January. This test helps identify individuals who may be positive for COVID-19 but are asymptomatic (showing no symptoms). The details, training plan, arrangements and sources for these tests have not been released yet, but we do know that the workforce and those attending in the week commencing 4 January will be prioritised for testing first. Testing will not be mandated, it is an offer. Students will not need to have had a test in order to return to school on 11 January.
Regardless of the date that students return to school for face to face teaching, all of the arrangements we put into place this term will remain. This means that students have their own year group social area and entrance, their own eating area and times, the one way system must be followed and good respiratory and hand hygiene rules must be maintained. Enhanced cleaning will still be in operation. Students will be required to use the hand sanitiser provided, wear a face covering in all circulation spaces and on the bus, and rooms will remain well ventilated.
If anyone in your household shows signs and symptoms of COVID -19 please do not send your children to school. A regular PCR test should be carried out as soon as possible. A negative result will mean that fac-to-face teaching can continue. This is in everyone’s interest and will help stop the spread of the virus.
We will continue to be part of the NHS contract tracing programme up until Christmas Eve. If a student tests positive in this time, please let us know by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
May I take this opportunity to wish you all a merry Christmas.