I hope everyone enjoyed the Christmas break and managed to spend time with loved ones. May I wish all of you a very happy and peaceful new year.
As the pupils begin to return to school, I want to update you on the situation with the pandemic, following new guidance issued by the government on January 2nd. Please read the following information carefully and contact your child’s form tutor in the first instance if you have any questions.
Pupils are now required to wear a face covering during lessons as well as in the corridors and communal areas in school. Please support us by ensuring your child has a face covering every day and that if it is a disposable one, it is changed regularly for hygiene purposes. Face coverings will support us in keeping our school as safe as possible, especially with the new Omicron variant, which is highly transmissible.
If your child is exempt from wearing a face covering, they should have seen Mrs Lloyd in the medical room for a letter. If your child is exempt and has not yet spoken to Mrs Lloyd, please remind him/her that they must see her as a matter of urgency on their return to school.
TESTING AND REPORTING POSITIVE CASES
Confirmatory PCR tests following a positive lateral flow device (LFD) test result are to be temporarily suspended from Tuesday 11 January. This will mean that anyone who receives a positive LFD test result will be required to self-isolate immediately and will not be required to take a confirmatory PCR test.
Pupils who test positive for Covid must not attend school and should remain at home in isolation. Current NHS guidance states that the isolation period is for 10 days, but can be reduced to 7 if the following criteria are met:
You can stop self-isolating after 7 days if you do a rapid lateral flow test on days 6 and 7 of your self-isolation period and:
you did both tests at least 24 hours apart
you do not have a high temperature
If your child tests positive for Covid, please ring the absence line and inform us as soon as possible.As a school we strongly encourage regular, twice weekly testing for all pupils. We currently have test kits in school and your child can collect these from their form tutor.
STAFF ABSENCE AND CONTINGENCY PLANS
There has been considerable media interest and reporting on concerns over levels of staff absence in schools across the country due to the pandemic.
At Archbishop Ilsley Catholic School we are experiencing higher levels of staff absence than normal, but to date we have managed to keep school open for all pupils, thanks to the considerable efforts of the staff team, who have worked tirelessly to cover absent colleagues and ensure pupils are still getting in person learning.
However, I must make you aware that there may be days where I cannot staff a full school safely and may need to send year groups home if I do not have enough staff to cover lessons and duties safely. If this is the case, we will prioritise keeping Y11 and Y13 in school because of their forthcoming examinations. Sending year groups home will be a last resort but I want to make you aware that this is a possible scenario for this half-term.
Should I need to send a year group home, you will be notified by text and through Class Charts. Please be aware that it could be very short notice, as staffing levels can fluctuate on a daily basis and we may not know what these levels are until first thing in the morning. Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding in this matter.
We are now in the depths of the winter months and pupils must come to school with a suitable winter coat. Hoodies are not winter coats and they are not permitted. We will continue to uphold our uniform policy and confiscate hoodies if pupils are seen wearing them in school.
May I also remind you of our policy on piercings. Pupils may wear one small stud per ear but all other piercings are not allowed, including nose piercings.
Your ongoing support and understanding throughout the pandemic has been much appreciated as it has enabled us to keep school running as smoothly as possible. Thank you for everything you are doing to support us and we continue to think of all of our pupils and their families in our prayers.
Miss H Burrows