7th June 2021
When I last wrote to you, just before half-term, the spread of the Indian (or Delta) variant of Covid was speeding up in the area. Over half-term we have received extensive further advice from Wigan Council and the Director of Public Health, Professor Ardern:
‘All areas of GM now have a high probability of being in an epidemic phase, meaning that we are seeing an exponential rise in prevalence.’
‘GM Directors of Public Health believe there is a very real risk that a reduction in mitigations in schools will contribute significantly to spread of the Delta variant, and lead to significant increases in transmission as the new variant gains dominance. As a result, we have secured permissions from the Government to, until the end of the summer term, reintroduce the use of face coverings and on-site lateral flow testing in secondary schools and colleges as required in response to rising rates.
In relation to the use of face coverings in Wigan, schools and colleges Kate Ardern – Director of Public Health is now recommending that, where pupils in Year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils when moving around the premises, outside of classrooms, such as corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained. Face coverings do not need to be worn by pupils when outdoors on the premises. As before, some pupils will be exempt from wearing face coverings, and schools should take this into account.’
The guidance also covers issues such as Lateral Flow Testing, PCRs, Self-isolating, Proms and transition events. Clearly, the purpose of the advice is to keep schools as safe as possible whilst enabling children to continue to access face-to-face education.
What does that mean for my child at Byrchall?
All staff and children should wear a face covering when inside unless in a large area where social distancing can be easily maintained. This will include classrooms
Staff and pupils without symptoms should continue with twice weekly lateral flow tests. Please let the school know of any positive tests either by telephoning reception, or by emailing email@example.com
Anyone who has symptoms, or a positive LFT, should stay at home, or return home as soon as possible, to isolate and seek a positive PCR test by calling 119 or visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus
All staff and pupils who are identified as a contact of a confirmed COVID-19 are asked to access testing and household members of those isolating can also book a PCR test on https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test. If you have no symptoms pick the option which says ‘My local council or health protection team has asked me to get a test, even though I do not have symptoms’
Should the school experience a high number of cases (which it has not) further measures, such as on-site testing, may be imposed
Year 11 pupils should be aware that the Prom can only go ahead if restrictions are eased enabling it to do so. We shall have to wait until at least 21st June to see if that is the case. The guidance says: ‘given the prevailing circumstances, proms and other similar events should not go ahead under the current circumstances’.
As our planning of transition events, for current year 6 pupils joining Byrchall in September, fits within the guidance and risk assessments these will still go ahead
In the unfortunate event that you/your child need to self-isolate, please click on the icon below to access the Council’s guide
It seems a long time since the disruption due to Covid began last year. I am sure that we are over the worst of the crisis and hope that we will be able to return to fully normal operation in September. Thank you for your patience and support.
Mr A. R. Birchall