I wanted to write to update up on the Academies policy and planned management of COVID.
All restrictions have now been lifted and this includes the closure of school bubbles and the need for anyone who has been fully vaccinated and those under 18 to have to self-isolate should they come into contact with a positive case.
Underpinning our processes is a full risk assessment, COVID management plan and regular updates and conversation with the Department for education and the borough.
The wearing of masks in the Academy will not be expected, it is down to individual students and staff to decide if they wish to. Hand sanitiser will remain in place and we ask that students use it as they enter the site and around the building to help with not just preventing COVID but other winter flu viruses as well.
I do understand that we all share a social and moral duty to reduce the risk of a virus spike resulting from the relaxed rules over summer, and it does seem that identifying and isolating asymptomatic positives will be an important part of that duty. You may have seen on the news that secondary schools and colleges are being asked provide onsite testing to students in the new term, twice in their first 5 days of attending. Specifically, that means that students will be offered a test weekly (with results taking 30mins) twice during the first 2 weeks of term. The testing would be optional, although we encourage as many students to take up the opportunity to prevent outbreaks on site.
If a student tests positive, we will ask that a parent or guardian collects the student or arranges travel home for them.
Students test themselves with the processes supported by trained staff running the testing program over the first 2 weeks.
After the first 2 weeks all students will then be issued with home testing kits to use and we encourage you to take a test twice a week to support the Academy to remain COVID free.
What to do if you develop symptoms of COVID 19:
If you or anyone in your home develops symptoms of COVID-19, they should remain at home for at least 10 days from the date when their symptoms appeared, take home test and if positive arrange for a PCR test.
The 10-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.
However, if you develop symptoms please email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know. We will need to know the date your symptoms started and the test date and date you were confirmed as a positive case.
The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:
- new continuous cough and/or
- high temperature
- a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)
For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.
If you or anyone in the household does develop symptoms, you can seek advice from NHS 111 at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms/ or by phoning 111.
How to stop COVID-19 spreading
There are things you can do to help reduce the risk of you and anyone you live with getting ill with COVID-19.
- wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- wash your hands as soon as you get home
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
Further Information Further information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19
I am hoping with us all working together, being proactive to avoid COVID outbreaks we can have a term with minimal or no disruptions and all students can enjoy their time in the Academy.
Stay well and stay safe.
Sacha Corcoran MBE