Principal’s Letter to Parents – 1st March 2021

Principal’s Letter to Parents – 1st March 2021

Dear Parents and Carers,

RE: Arrangements for your child’s return to school

Please find below arrangements for COVID Testing and for your child’s return to school.

A key element of the instructions to secondary schools is that all students who consent must be tested prior to returning to face-to-face teaching. In order to facilitate this, schools are able to spread their opening across the week beginning Monday 8th March. As you are already aware, 3 COVID tests are being offered to all secondary-age students in the period leading up until the Easter holiday. In order to facilitate this, we will need to stagger the students’ return to school. The arrangements for your child’s return to school and the associated COVID Testing arrangements are shown in the table below for each year group.

Year 7

  • First testing day: Friday 5th March
  • Return to School: Monday 8th March

Year 8

  • First testing day: Monday 8th March
  • Return to School: Wednesday 10th March

Year 9

  • First testing day: Monday 8th March
  • Return to School: Thursday 11th March

Year 10

  • First testing day: Friday 5th March
  • Return to School: Tuesday 9th March

Year 11

  • First testing day: Thursday 4th March
  • Return to School: Monday 8th March

Year 12

  • First testing day: Thursday 4th March
  • Return to School: Tuesday 9th March

Year 13/14

  • First testing day: Thursday 4th March
  • Return to School: Monday 8th March

Please note the Small School will remain open for children for students who have previously attended until Friday 5th March and remote education will continue for all other students until they return to school.

Consent

Participation in the COVID Testing Programme requires active consent from the person being tested. If you have not already given consent for your child to be tested following my most recent letter to you last week, then please complete the consent form below. The deadline for this is Tuesday 2nd March.

The Terms of Consent and Privacy Notice at the bottom of this letter detail the personal data required to participate in the programme.

Please be reminded that you will need to complete one form per child and the form should be submitted even if you choose not to give consent. Students in Years 7-11 will require consent from their parents or carers (see below). Students in Year 12 and above can complete their own consent form.

Testing Arrangements

Students should attend the Homewood Test Centre (in the Sports Hall) on their allocated day (see the table above) at their allocated time. Times will be sent out in a separate email for each year group by the end of tomorrow. Students are expected to be in school for only a short period of time for their first test and parents are invited to wait in their cars for their children whilst they are being tested. Students should enter the school via the Fire Station entrance and from there they will be directed to either the Orange, White or Green Zone.

We appreciate the difficulty that this will create for parents who will have to support their children visiting school for their testing slot, however, there is no alternative. If we do not do this then we will not be able to get students back into school on time and we will not be able fulfil the stipulations set down by the Government.

Subsequent tests for Years 7-11 (Tests 2 and 3) will be undertaken during a normal school day and students (where consent has been given) will be collected from their lessons during the course of their day. For Year 12-14 students, tests will be held on Tuesday 9th March and Friday 13th March, but may fall outside of timetabled lessons. Times for Tests 2 and 3 will be advised at a later date.

Return To School

Students who receive a negative test result may return to school according to the information in the table above. Students who receive a positive test must isolate for a period of 10 days before returning to school.

Once your child has attended school for their first day, they should then attend every day thereafter, assuming that they have not developed symptoms or received a positive test within the previous 10 day period. The Government has stated that attendance will be compulsory. Students and staff with a letter from their GP confirming that they are “clinically extremely vulnerable” should continue to work from home until at least the end of March. Any student in this situation will continue to be offered remote learning. Students returning to school will follow their normal timetable and should arrive at school fully prepared for their timetabled lessons.

Face Masks

The Government has stated that face masks should be worn in classrooms unless social distancing can be maintained. All students and staff will therefore need to wear a face mask when inside any building, including their classroom and communal areas. Face masks will need to be worn throughout lessons unless they take place outside or unless strenuous exercise is involved. Please could I ask that you ensure that your child has a face mask with them at school unless they have already been issued with a medical exemption card or lanyard. In line with Government guidance face visors or shields are not an alternative to wearing a mask. This provision is to be reviewed by the Government at Easter.

Catering Facilities

There will be full catering facilities and food available from the week beginning Monday 8th March.

Uniform

All students attending school should do so in full school uniform or in Homewood PE Kit (as described in previous letters) on Dance, Drama or PE days.

Buses

All buses to and from school are expected to be fully operational from Monday 8th March. Students will be expected to wear their face masks whilst travelling to and from school and they should socially distance where this is possible, particularly from students in other year groups.

Timings and Organisation of the School Day

Upon the students’ return the timings of the school day will be the same as they were prior to the Christmas holiday. The “system of controls” will continue to apply in school for everyone’s safety. This includes enhanced cleaning and year group or class “bubble” arrangements for students.

Please can I finish by reminding all parents and students to adhere to the following to allow the safe and smooth administration of the testing process:

  • Ensure that consent for testing has been given by completing the online form
  • Attend your allocated testing appointment times (information to follow). Parents/Carers will need to remain in their vehicles while students are being tested
  • Wear a mask when on the school site and inside buildings (uniform does not need to be worn on the first day of testing)
  • Be considerate of Government guidance when travelling to school. The DfE have confirmed that travelling to be tested at school prior to Monday 8th March is legitimate. However, students should travel singly and not in groups
  • Ensure that students are socially-distancing on arrival for their first test on the school site. They should go directly to their allocated Zone entrance (information to follow) which will be set up as a socially-distanced waiting area
  • Follow instructions carefully and efficiently in order to undertake the test quickly and accurately
  • Leave the school site immediately following their test

Please may I finish by thanking you for your support with this very logistically challenging process. I will be emailing out appointment times to individual year groups either today or tomorrow so please look out for the information.

Yours sincerely,

J K Single
Principal