Breaking the Mould.
HT update: Changes to Covid restrictions as of Monday (19th of July)
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Summer term finishing times
First of all, a reminder that school finishes next Friday at 12.45 and pupils' first day back after the summer holiday will be Monday the 6th of September.
Free School Meals Vouchers
The Government has extended the grant for free school meal vouchers and the school is issuing vouchers for the 26 working days over the summer holidays (26 July - 31 August) excluding the bank holiday 30th Aug = £3 a day so £78 for each eligible pupil. Vouchers are being issued using the same system as at Christmas/Easter and Half Terms as follows:
Friday 23 July - £30.00 to cover 26 July – 6 August
Friday 6 August - £30.00 to cover 9 – 20 August and
Friday 20 August - £18.00 to cover 23 – 31 August
Re: Changes to Covid restrictions week commencing the 19th of July
As you will know, the government have set this coming Monday (19th of July) for the relaxation of much of the Covid restrictions. Yesterday schools were given more details and guidance for Monday, which I wanted to update you on.
In support of this update, I have included below (in blue) the contents of the template letter from the Department for Education which outlines changes to contact tracing in schools that will take place on Monday. I have not adapted it as it is very useful as an overview:
"Self-isolating and taking a test
- If your child has symptoms, they and other members of the household should self-isolate – and you should inform their education or childcare setting. You should immediately order a PCR test for them. If the PCR result is negative, they and other members of their household can stop self-isolating (unless instructed to self-isolate for other reasons). If the PCR result is positive, they, other members of their household and any close contacts identified by NHS Track and Trace must self-isolate until 10 days after the onset of symptoms.
- If your child has a positive result from a lateral flow device (LFD) test, they and other members of the household should self-isolate – and you should inform their education or childcare setting. You should immediately order a confirmatory PCR test. If the confirmatory test is taken within two days and the result is negative, they and other members of their household can stop self-isolating (unless instructed to self-isolate for other reasons). If the confirmatory PCR test is positive (or is taken more than two days after the LFD), other members of their household and any close contacts identified by NHS Track and Trace must self-isolate until 10 days after the LFD test.
- PCR tests can be booked online through the NHS Test & Trace website or by calling 119.
- PCR test results will be recorded with NHS Test and Trace automatically, but you should also communicate the result to the education or childcare setting during term time or summer provision.
- If your child gets a positive PCR test result, NHS Test and Trace will contact you, using the details you registered when ordering the PCR test. You and/or your child will be asked a series of specific questions designed to identify who your child has been in close contact with. Being in an education or childcare setting with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 will not necessarily mean a person is identified as a close contact.
- You will be asked to provide the contact details, if you know them, of any of the individuals – or their parents or guardians – who have been identified as close contacts. NHS Test and Trace will then get in touch with these close contacts and provide appropriate instructions or advice (see below).
Self-isolation and/or testing of close contacts
- At present, anyone identified as a close contact is legally required to self-isolate and must not attend their education or childcare setting (the only exception is if they are participating in a daily contact testing trial). Anyone identified as a non-household close contact by NHS Track and Trace must self-isolate until 10 days after the date of their most recent contact with that person. If they live in the same household, they must self-isolate until 10 days after the date of that person developing symptoms (see point 1 above) or, if that person was asymptomatic, the date of their test (see point 2 above). NHS Test and Trace will notify you of the day on which the self-isolation period ends.
- Close contacts are also advised to take a PCR test. If the test result is negative, they must still complete the full self-isolation period, as the test will not detect all positive cases. If the result is positive, they will need to self-isolate for a further 10 days – and NHS Test and Trace will contact them to identify any close contacts.
- From 16 August, if the close contact is under 18, they will not have to self-isolate (in line with the policy for fully vaccinated adults) but will be asked to take an PCR test immediately, other than for very young children identified as non-household contacts, and they will not need to self-isolate while awaiting the results of the test. If the PCR test is positive, they will be required to self-isolate for 10 days from the date of the test. NHS Test and Trace will then get in touch to identify close contacts (see points 5 and 6 above). Further guidance on these changes to self-isolation will be provided shortly.
We recognise how difficult the past 18 months have been and the sacrifices that all families, education and childcare settings have had to make. This has been an enormously challenging time for everyone and we would like to take the opportunity to thank you for everything you have done".
While the school will be adhering to the changes in this guidance as we have done throughout, I wanted to inform you of our interpretation of parts of the guidance and how we will be implementing them given we have only four and a half days left of term.
While these are now not deemed necessary in the guidance, the school will continue to be careful regarding planning of lessons and events for the last week of term. This is made easier by the fact that we work on a primary model of tutor groups throughout the school.
The guidance states that these are no longer required by anyone in the school. Currently pupils are not expected to wear them and staff are only required to wear them in communal areas, where they are unable to socially distance. – I see no reason to change this before the end of next week and we will review this over the summer before we return. We will still be asking visitors to wear face coverings in communal areas and where they are not able to socially distance.
We will still be encouraging all staff to take two LFDs a week and the guidance is that this will continue in the autumn term.
For pupils and families, we would also encourage you and your children where appropriate to take these tests at home for next week and into the autumn term as per the guidance.
Finally, a reminder of the symptoms of Covid from the NHS website:
The main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are:
- a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
If you have any of these symptoms, get a PCR test (test that is sent to a lab) to check if you have coronavirus and stay at home until you get your result, even if the symptoms are mild.
About 1 in 3 people with coronavirus do not have symptoms but can still infect others. This is why everyone is advised to get tested regularly.
Thank you all for your continued understanding and support this term, as always, please contact the school if you have any queries or concerns,
Very best wishes,