14th July 2021
Dear Parents and Carers
As you may be aware, the Government, via the Department for Education has now issued new COVID-19 guidance for schools effective from Monday 19th July 2021, in line with the wider removal of COVID-19 restrictions throughout the country from that same date.
We wanted to write today to provide you an update on what this means for your child/children from 19th July 2021.
As our last day of school is 21st July, in line with guidance we will have the same bubble system and COVID-19 measures in place for the remainder of this year.
After the end of the summer term, the following changes will be in place, in line with the new guidance.
- Bubble system: It will no longer be necessary to keep children in bubbles. This means that if your child will be taking part in any summer provision, such as summer schools or activity camps, they will not be bubbles. If also means that there will no longer be a bubble system when we return to school in September for the start of the new academic year, as things currently stand.
- Contact tracing: Schools will only be responsible for contact tracing until Sunday 18th July. From Monday 19th July, close contacts will be identified via NHS Test and Trace.
- Self-isolation for children and young people: From Monday 16th August, children under the age of 18 years old will no longer be required to self-isolate if they are contacted by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case, they will only need to self-isolate if they have COVID-19 symptoms or a positive COVID-19 test result, obtained through either a PCR or Lateral Flow Test. As previously, we would request that students do not attend school should they be showing symptoms of COVID-19. We can also confirm that self-isolating students will still have access to robust and comprehensive remote learning opportunities while self-isolating.
- Face coverings: Face coverings will no longer be advised for pupils, students, staff and visitors either in classrooms or in communal areas. From Step 4, face coverings are also no longer recommended to be work on dedicated transport to school or college and are no longer legally required on public transport. Children and staff can of course continue to wear face coverings.
- Asymptomatic testing: As pupils will potentially mix with lots of other people during the summer holidays, the government guidance states that all secondary school pupils should receive two on-site lateral flow device tests, 3-5 days apart, on their return in September. Schools are able to begin testing up to three working days before the start of term and can stagger the return of pupils across the first week to manage this. Pupils should then continue to test twice weekly at home until the end of September, when this will be reviewed. We will be in touch with an update on our plans for testing pupils nearer the time. We have attached an updated consent form for those parents that did not provide consent in January. Please can you send this back to the academy (if applicable) by 1st September 2021 either electronically to [email protected] or by post. Testing is voluntary and therefore you can withdraw consent at any time so please notify the academy as appropriate. The privacy notice can be found on our website.
Although there will be changes as part of the easing of restrictions, as a school we will have outbreak management plans in place, as required by the Government, to ensure we are prepared to continue to operate if there is transmission of the virus in our school or the local community. These will mean that if the situation requires it, a bubble system or other measures may need to be temporarily reinstated in the future, and we must stress that the safety measures in place will be continually reviewed and assessed in accordance with Government and local guidance.
As has been the case throughout the pandemic, ensuring the health and safety of our pupils and staff is our top priority. As such, we will be continuing to encourage good hygiene including regular handwashing, maintaining appropriate cleaning regimes, keeping occupied spaces well ventilated and following public health advise on testing, self-isolation and managing confirmed cases of COVID-19.
As was the case at the start of the pandemic when we had to adjust to a new way of life, this new change again may inevitably create some uncertainty as we all adapt. However, we will continue to work closely together as a school community to ensure the best outcomes for students, staff and our wider community.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will do all we can to support you.