As you are no doubt well aware, Gov UK and Public Health England have re introduced some Covid related restrictions following the discovery of the Omnicon variant in the UK.
Have schools been told anything different to what we know?
No. What you know, we know, but nothing more. As yet, the Department of Education have given no direct guidance to primary schools. There are changes to recommended practices in secondary schools, which are commonly a precursor to later guidance to us.
Are Ashgate making any changes now?
Yes. There are two major changes in place as of today. These are in place for common sense reasons as we try to negate any risk to pupils, staff and parents in the run up to Christmas. The last thing we want is to have to close classes due to lack of staff (supply agency staff are not readily available) and enforce staggered starts/bubbles owing to increased cases, or families finding themselves in isolation before and during Christmas.
Change 1: Face masks for visitors when in the school building.
All visitors entering the school building will be required to wear a face mask. This is only indoors at this present time, but may extend to the wider school if cases rise or guidance dictates.
If you declare yourself as medically exempt from wearing a mask or state your objection for other reasons, we will respect this, but it will not give you access to the school building. It is your right to not wear a mask, but others have the right to be protected from potential consequences of your choosing (or not being able) not to wear one. No mask, no entry to the school building.
Change 2: Christmas performances to be recorded.
In order to avoid the risk of isolations or cases spreading, we will no longer be able to perform the Christmas nativity and associated church activities face to face. We will however record these for parents to view. A single case of the new variant being identified at one of these events could put multiple families into isolation, regardless of vaccine status.
My aim now and in the near future is to ensure that there is limited negative impact on children and families. Please view these precautions, and any that may follow, as sensible steps to protect all and reduce the risk of multiple families isolating over Christmas.
Cases in school
Cases in school of Covid 19 remain very low. This will only be maintained if the school community acts with consideration to others.