Dear Parents and Carers,
Happy New Year and I hope you have had a great Christmas with family and friends.
This is my first letter of 2022 and I just wanted to update you as we start the new term still facing the challenges of Covid in our society.
The main points I would like to bring to your attention are:-
• All our schools are fully open for the start of term and currently we have good levels of staffing with only a few staff unwell.
• All staff in all our schools will be wearing masks in all community areas and when teaching if they choose to do so.
• All staff are expected to take twice weekly LFTs and report on the NHS website to ensure they are free from the virus.
• We have high levels of cleaning during the school day in our buildings.
• We expect staff and children to follow good hygiene with regular hand washing and use of sanitisers.
• There is a focus on ventilation and keeping windows and doors open to allow good air flow.
• All our schools comply with Government guidance.
For secondary age students only the following applies:-
• All secondary students will have an administered lateral flow test as they return to school so we can identify any cases of Covid, particularly where there are no symptoms. This means a slight staggered start for these schools so we can test all students before a full return. You will have received information on dates and times from your child’s school.
• All secondary age students MUST do twice weekly LFTs at home and I strongly urge you do this with your child so we can closely monitor any infections in our schools.
• All secondary age students MUST wear a face covering in classrooms and communal areas (unless medically exempt) until the Government’s next review on the 26th January.
• Please provide a mask plus a spare each day – we only have minimal supplies in schools.
• Vaccinations are available at vaccination centres for children 12+ years old – if your child has not yet been vaccinated, I urge you strongly to get them vaccinated. This is the most significant factor in reducing the spread of the virus.
Second vaccinations are being made available to 12+ year olds. This is 12 weeks after their first vaccination, and you can now take your child for their second vaccine. There are walk in clinics, Book online for an appointment at a vaccination centre or pharmacy or Find a walk-in vaccination site.
For all children and young people regardless of the school they attend:-
• If your child has Covid symptoms of a new, continuous cough, high temperature or loss of taste/smell then please keep them at home and take them for a PCR test. If the PCR test is negative, then your child may return to school. If the test is positive, you will receive advice from Test and Trace/NHS app as to the isolation period.
• If your child is unwell showing any Covid – like symptoms then please take them for a precautionary PCR test and keep them at home whilst awaiting results.
• If your child is a close contact of a family member who has tested positive then they should do a daily LFT for 7 days – if the test is negative each day they can continue to attend school. If they have any symptoms then please take them for a PCR test and keep them at home until you have the results.
• If your child tests positive for Covid, they need to stay at home for 10 days – you can test them using an LFT test on Day 6 and 7 and if they are negative they can return to school on Day 8.
• All children need to attend school as long as they are well and not isolating.
We are determined to keep our schools fully open and maintain face-to-face teaching but at this stage we have little understanding what the impact of Omicron will have as schools reopen. All the measures we can have in place are in place to reduce the spread and I do ask you to support these so we can maintain high quality education for all our children.
I will keep you up to date with information over the next few weeks.
My best wishes to you and your family for 2022, we all hope it will be a really great year and we see the end of Covid!
Dr. Gill Eatough