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Cirencester Deer Park School

Cirencester Deer Park School

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Living with COVID

Changes in school after half term

On Monday 21 February 2022, the Prime Minister set out the next phase of the government’s COVID-19 response ‘Living with COVID-19’ and he made explicit reference to schools. As you are aware, this announcement coincided with our half term break; however, we were anticipating the change in the law regarding the requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for COVID-19.

We have made our best endeavours to minimise the risk of transmission in school and to manage our pupils’ learning throughout the pandemic. We have reviewed the revised guidance for schools (received Thursday 24 February 2022) and, on our return to school will be undertaking a further review of our COVID-19 risk assessment, outbreak management plan and policies.

However, we recognise the need to live well with COVID-19 and, in preparation for the return to school, I confirm that we will be making the following changes from Monday 28 February 2022:

  • Pupils and staff will no longer be asked to wear face coverings anywhere in school, unless we are expressly asked to reinstate them by the UK Health and Security Agency or the local health protection team should we see a further outbreak in school. However, we appreciate some pupils and members of staff may continue to choose to wear a face covering and we ask that these personal decisions are respected.
  • Pupils are no longer advised to undertake twice weekly asymptomatic testing. This is in line with the Prime Minister’s announcement and we have subsequently been advised that as a school we are no longer able to order or distribute free test kits unless we have a further outbreak and are given the authority to do so by the local health protection team.
  • Assemblies and school events. Pupils and parents will be able to meet together in school. We began our Year Group Assemblies on Monday 14 February and we plan to continue to bring pupils together in this way once a week. We are looking forward to welcoming our first audiences back into school from Wednesday 2 March 2022 for our production of ‘Matilda The Musical Jr’.

However, in line with our established control measures, we ask pupils and staff to continue to help us by observing the following:

  • Self-isolation. We appreciate there is no longer a requirement for anyone to self-isolate. However, to minimise the risk of transmission in school, we strongly recommend that if pupils or members of staff have symptoms of COVID-19 and test positive, they self-isolate for a minimum of 5 days or until they have two negative tests. School attendance is mandatory for all pupils of compulsory school age and it is a priority that we ensure as many children as possible regularly attend school. Consequently, parents are asked to liaise closely with our Attendance and Support Officer, Miss Johnson, who will continue to monitor pupil absences.
  • Good hand and respiratory hygiene. We encourage frequent hand washing in the external sinks provided for this purpose and the use of our hand sanitisers on entry to each classroom. We ask pupils and staff to exercise the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach and to sneeze/cough into their elbows and to throw any dirty tissues or wipes into the grey bins we have provided for this purpose.
  • Keep occupied spaces well ventilated. We will continue to keep classroom windows and doors open and, in all internal areas, we will monitor the CO2 levels. As we move into the Spring and hopefully warmer weather, we ask all pupils to wear their school uniform correctly. Teachers will use their discretion and advise pupil whether or not they can wear their coats in classrooms.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

Chiquita Henson, Headteacher

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