Letter to Parents/Carers – COVID 23/04/21

23rd April 2021

Dear Parents and Carers

Now that we have welcomed all our students back to school for the summer term, I would like to take this opportunity to update you on our COVID precautions and the systems that we have in place in school for this term. You will be aware that nationally there is a gradual programme of ‘easing lockdown’ and the associated COVID restrictions. In line with this, we review all the systems that we have in place in school as soon as we have updated information from the Department for Education (DfE). So far, there have been no major changes with regards to COVID precautions in school, but there have been some amendments and clarifications that I would like to make you aware of.

The ‘bubble system’ and school routines

The school is maintaining the bubble system whereby all the year groups are kept in separate areas of the school for their lessons and have staggered break times. We maintained this rigidly throughout the height of the COVID pandemic and will continue use the bubble system until the DfE guidance changes. Whilst maintaining the bubbles, we have been able to make some changes to allow things to run more smoothly in school. At the start of term, we rotated the bubble areas and moved year 10 to a new area closer to their ‘options subject’ classrooms, swapping year 7 into the science area for their lessons. The science labs have stools rather than chairs and we appreciate that there have been some concerns over this. The use of stools in classrooms is in line with all health and safety legislation and risk assessments. There is a lot of guidance about adopting a correct posture that points to the health benefits of using stools rather than chairs. For year 7, the science area will be used until half term and then we will rotate the year groups again and they will move into a different area. In addition, students in year 7 will be allowed to stand and have the opportunity to stretch at every lesson changeover; they do have that same opportunity at 10.35am and then again at 12.50pm when it is break and lunch. Obviously if there are any specific medical reasons why the use of a stool would not be appropriate, then please contact us directly and we will address that immediately.

Finally, following a clarification of the guidance from the DfE, we will be returning to year group assemblies in the theatre from next week. This will still maintain the bubble system but will be a welcome return to a communal gathering for the year groups.

Masks

It is still the requirement that all staff and students wear their masks, unless exempt, whilst in classrooms and in all areas of the school. Students are not expected to wear masks whilst taking part in PE or whilst outside during their lunch break.

Coats and hoodies

In line with DfE guidance, classrooms will continue to be ventilated by having windows open during lesson times. The windows only need to be opened a little way to allow fresh air into the room and this will not have any significant effect on the overall temperature in the room. As temperatures are now much higher at this time of year, students will no longer be allowed to wear their coats or hoodies inside classrooms or the school buildings. We appreciate your cooperation in ensuring that students comply with these uniform

requirements. Should there be any significant long-term fall in the normal temperature for this time of year, we will of course review that policy. Students can still choose to wear their coats when outside at lunchtime.

COVID Testing programme

COVID testing should still be done twice weekly at home for all students who have chosen to participate with the results reported to the NHS via the app. Any student testing positive should self-isolate for 10 days and parents/carers should inform school in the usual way. Testing kits were issued to all students who wished to have them at the end of last term, new stocks arrived from the DfE this week and new sets of testing kits will be issued to students next week. You can now register results on the homepage of the school website under Covid 19 – ‘Record Student COVID-19 Home Test Results’ as the previous issue with this has now been resolved. The testing programme is not overseen by the school and is entirely voluntary. Should any parents/carers have any questions about the home testing programme, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Martyn Searles

Assistant head teacher

© Heworth Grange & Consilium Academies 2020
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