I am writing to provide you with an update on the changes to the Covid-19 operational guidance for schools in response to the emergence of a new covid-19 variant, commonly referred to in the media as Omicron. The updated guidance was sent to school leaders this evening so I apologise for communicating with you at this time.
The updated guidance states that from the week beginning 29th November: “Face coverings should be worn in communal areas in all settings by staff, visitors and students in year 7 and above, unless they are exempt. Students (in year 7 or above) should continue to wear face coverings on public and dedicated school transport, unless they are exempt.”
In practical terms, and in line with the updated guidance for shops and public transport, this means that from Tuesday 30th November:
- When indoors, staff, students and visitors to the school should wear face coverings as they move around the school e.g. in corridors, staff room, etc.
- Students using public transport (including school buses provided by the LA) are required to wear a face covering unless they have an exemption.
NB: Face coverings are not required to be worn in classrooms, changing rooms or during music and drama rehearsals.
I am conscious that there will be a small number of students who will need to be exempt for health reasons. If you feel that your child should be exempt, please e-mail Mr Pepper, Assistant Headteacher with oversight for Behaviour, via: email@example.com. Mrs Healey, Assistant Headteacher with responsibility for Special Educational Needs, will also be proactively contacting some families who we will automatically exempt from mask wearing.
In addition to the reintroduction of masks, we will continue to emphasise the following measures: the use of outdoor spaces for break and lunchtimes, ventilation in classrooms, one-way systems, handwashing expectations and lateral flow testing at home. Students and staff should stay away from school if there is a positive household case in the household. The Local Authority now recommend that this should be for at least 5 days. Please contact the school should a case emerge at home and we will advise you on the length of time to stay away from school.
At this stage, there are no further updates to the guidance although this may change. In the meantime, unless you hear otherwise, it will be business as usual.
Be on the lookout for updates throughout the week. If you have any questions or queries, then please do not hesitate to make contact with me directly.
Mr Emmanuel Botwe
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