Firstly, I hope you have had a good Christmas break and wish you a happy New Year.
On Sunday, the government released new school guidance for the start of term, which I am sharing below.
Today, we are carrying out the lateral flow tests for students in school before their return to the classroom tomorrow. In addition, students are encouraged to continue to test themselves at home, twice a week, with LFTs which have been given out in school.
One of the changes now is for those individuals who have previously tested positive for COVID within the last 90 days. The government is strongly encouraging all to take part in LFT testing at home once they have completed their isolation period for their prior infection.
One of the other major updates is that face coverings are now required in classrooms in addition to communal areas for all year groups. The advice is short term only, to support students and teachers as they return to school this term and builds on the existing guidance that recommends face coverings for all in communal areas of all settings.
The advice on face coverings in classrooms will be in place until Wednesday 26th January, when ‘Plan B’ regulations are currently scheduled to expire, at which point it will be reviewed by the government and we will update you through our weekly newsletter.
Those students who are medically exempt will need to wear their exemption badges or lanyards, and spares are available from Year Offices.
Since Wednesday 22nd December, the 10-day self-isolation period for people who record a positive PCR test result for COVID has been reduced to 7 days in most circumstances, as long as they conduct LFT testing.
Individuals may now take LFT tests on day 6 and day 7 of their self-isolation period. Those who receive two negative test results are no longer required to complete 10 full days of self-isolation, and may return on day 8.
The first test must be taken no earlier than day 6 of the self-isolation period and tests must be taken 24 hours apart.
If both these test results are negative, and you do not have a high temperature, you may end your self-isolation after the second negative test result and return to school from day 8.
Since the start of the academic year, Track & Trace is being operated by the NHS and not the school. People who are fully vaccinated, or young people identified as a close contact of someone with COVID, should take an LFT every day for seven days and continue to attend their school as normal, unless they have a positive test result or develop symptoms at any time. If the test is positive, they should follow the stay at home guidance here.
We very much look forward to seeing the students back in school tomorrow for in-person learning. At the current time, I am pleased to report that levels of COVID-related staff absence are low.
Please contact the Year Office in the first instance if you have any questions or queries.
Thank you for your continued support.