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Return to school | January Update

Dear Parents and Carers, Firstly, I hope that you have all had a fantastic Christmas and New Year with your family and friends and that you remain safe and in good health.


I am writing to remind you about our staggered return to school between the 5th and 7th of January (see below). I also thought it might be helpful for me to explain in detail the key operational updates In light of the latest DfE guidance received on January 2nd. I am in no doubt that the start of term will be challenging for everyone, but I am equally certain that the staff and students will once again negotiate that time with the same courage and resilience as they have in the past. We would like to thank our parents and carers for their support, as it will once again be needed to ensure that we can keep every safe and to continue to deliver a high-quality education to all of our students. I will begin with the new measures we will be introducing from Tuesday 4th January, then go on to reiterate those that we already have in place.


New Covid measures for January 2022 (To be reviewed on 26th January at government level):

  • Please can all students complete a home test the night before or the morning of their first day at school (see dates below).

  • Between the 5th and 7th of January every student with consent will receive one LFD test on site in school. Students remaining at home during that time in Year 8,9,10,12 should access remote learning through ClassCharts. Year 7 should use their Autumn knowledge Organisers to go over work form the previous term.

  • Students must wear face coverings in classrooms at all times. The only exceptions will be those students that have already declared exemption and have the relevant lanyard/badge which, again, must be worn at all times. Please ensure that your child(ren) has adequate numbers of fresh masks with them every day.

  • Following a positive PCR test, the isolation period for students has been reduced from 10 days to 7 days, as long as negative LFT results occur on days 6 and 7 of isolation. If LFT results remain positive, isolation should continue for 10 days.

  • Booster vaccinations will be offered to all at risk children aged between 12 and 15 and to all 16 to 17 year olds. The school have secured a second vaccination clinic day for students and staff on Thursday 13th of January (further details to follow).

  • Close contacts of those testing positive (e.g. siblings) should continue to attend school, but ensure that they test every day. If the test returns positive, then a PCR should be sought.


Existing Covid measures that will continue this term:

  • Students should continue to face coverings on school transport.

  • Good ventilation will be promoted through the use of our mechanical ventilation system and ensuring that windows and doors are left open in classrooms.

  • Face coverings must be worn in all communal areas, including corridors.

  • Good hand hygiene through regular hand sanitisation

  • Twice weekly LFT testing will continue. Please ensure that your child(ren) tests every Sunday and Wednesday night. You only need to report the result to school if it is positive, at which point you should seek a confirmatory PCR test and commence isolation.


There have been reports in the media about LFT shortages, but the Department for Education has reassured schools that our supply chain will be unaffected. Therefore, please ensure that your child(ren) picks up test kits from school when requested. This testing regime is the most important tool we have in fighting against Omicron, so please do ensure that you are as rigorous as possible. Test results should be reported through Test & Trace here: https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result.


Testing should continue even if your child(ren) has contracted Covid within the last 90 days.

Reminder Staggered Return

  • Wednesday 5th of January – Years 11 and 13 start

  • Thursday 6th of January – Years 7 and 10 start

  • Friday 7th of January – Years 12, 9 and 8 start

Exams to continue

The Secretary of State for Education has confirmed that any exams scheduled for this term for Year 11 and 13 will go ahead as planned.


Reviewing our measures

The school will keep a close eye on developments in terms of the infection rate in North Devon and especially within our school. The school may have to adapt our measures if cases and isolations amongst staff meet threshold. In this case we cannot rule out considering closing specific year groups and reverting to online learning for a short period. If it appears that this contingency may be required then, of course, I will write to you with as much notice as possible. However, maintaining face to face learning remains our absolute priority.

We look forward to your child returning to school and once again, thank you for all your support for the school, our staff and all our students. I will write with further information and updates as they arise.


Regards


Steve Rogers (Headteacher)

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