Due to changes in DfE guidance, measures are being increased: face coverings are now required in the classroom as well as communal areas.
Please see information below sent in an email on 3 January 2022
Dear Parents and Carers (and Students copied in for information),
As many of you may have seen on the news, further guidance has been released over the weekend regarding the return to school. I have paraphrased this information to keep you updated on how this will look at Howden School.
- If your child contracts covid and must isolate, they can now take a LFD test no earlier than day 6 of their isolation period. If this test is negative and they take another test (at least 24 hours after) that is also negative, they can end their period of self-isolation and come back to school. If they cannot take a LFD test then they must isolate for the full 10 days.
- Children who have household members who have tested positive must take a PCR test. They can continue to go into school until the results of the test are known.
- Anyone who has been in close contact with someone with covid-19 should take a LFD test every day for seven days but can continue to attend school.
School based test results
We now do not need to upload negative test results within 24 hours. If your child tests positive after an in-school test, we will let you know before the end of the school day. If you receive no notification, please assume your child has tested negative, you will receive the text/email the day after.
Testing students who have had covid in the last 90 days.
This advice has now changed and states "Even if someone has tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days, they are strongly encouraged to take part in LFD testing on-site or at home once they have completed their isolation period for their prior infection."
It is therefore an expectation that students have an LFD test at home prior to starting back at school or if you have indicated that you would like your child to be tested at school on the Wednesday, they will be tested using the LFD by a member of school staff during the first day back.
If your child is isolating due to a current infection
Please let us know if your child will be isolating when school restarts by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org . They will be able to access work on TEAMS. If your child cannot find any work after checking the class materials and assignments, please email the school immediately.
The DfE has stated that children now need to wear face coverings in classrooms as well as communal areas. This is to help keep schools open and will be reviewed on January 26th. The guidance states that schools should "have a small contingency stock of face coverings available if an individual has forgotten or damaged their own". We do have these, but as stated in my previous email we will need to start using our behaviour policy for the small number of students who are continually not looking after their masks or not wearing them around the building. It is the child’s responsibility to bring a mask to school and to look after it. We already have a list of pupils who are exempt and will share this with staff.
While there are obvious drawbacks to the use of face coverings in classrooms, it is clear that the Omicron variant poses a very significant additional risk to education with the potential for further widespread disruption of schools. It is absolutely essential that everything possible is done to reduce transmission and ensure that students remain in school, and we therefore support the re-introduction of face coverings in classrooms for students.
Face coverings are already advised in communal areas for pupils. Pupils are accustomed to their use and we are sure the re-introduction of face coverings in classrooms is something that students will take in their stride.
In addition to the DfE guidance we will also be:
· Continuing with our enhanced cleaning throughout the day
· Providing hand sanitiser in all classrooms, as well as in strategic points around the school site
· Introducing the 2 metre separation lines in all classrooms
The biggest problem all schools face is the likelihood of high levels of staff absence caused by the prevalence of the Omicron variant. While we will do our very best to minimise the impact on students, there is a possibility that this will mean that some classes and year groups will have to be sent home for short periods of time to learn remotely. If this is the case, we will inform parents and carers as early as is possible in a very fast-changing situation.
I know this aspect will be irritating / frustrating / annoying for many students, parents / carers, and staff but, as with many things we have had to face over the last 20+ months, I know we shall do what is required to support everyone in Howden School and the wider community.
Should there be further information from the DfE, I will share it before school opens on Wednesday. I hope you enjoy the remainder of the bank holiday.
Mr G Cannon