Change to school policy on face coverings

Dear Parents and Carers,

Change to school policy on face coverings

Thank you for your continued support with organising our students into their new routines; we believe that everything is starting to become the established normal.

However, we have said to you that every week we would be reviewing our practice based on feedback from students and staff and also on government guidance as well as the situation happening locally and across the country.

We are pleased that the vast majority of our plans are working well. The one area we remain concerned with is student's ability to carry out social distancing. Before our return to school, the government gave schools the choice to decide about the wearing of face coverings and at the time we made this optional for students and staff in communal areas. However, since the start of September, the national context has changed.

In line with many other schools in Hampshire, we are therefore changing our policy. This means from Monday 21st September, and until further notice, students, staff and visitors will be required to wear a face covering when arriving to school, when moving around the school at lesson changeover, on their way to and from their zones at break and lunchtimes, when queuing for food in the serving areas, when visiting the toilet and upon leaving the site at the end of the school day. 

Whilst students are in their zones during break and lunchtimes they are not required to wear face coverings as they will be eating and drinking and are within their year group bubbles. Once the end of break warning bell has sounded, students should put their face masks on and begin to move to their next lesson.

Students will be asked to put their face coverings on before they leave a classroom and then sanitise their hands as they leave the room. They will be able to take them off when they arrive in their next classroom and sanitise their hands again. This, together with the attached advice, will ensure the safe use of face coverings. We believe that wearing face coverings will enhance the preventative measures such as hand hygiene, good ventilation, and enhanced cleaning we already have in place.

At the present time, face coverings are not to be worn in lessons unless with agreement due to medical needs.

We have given you notice of this change prior to the weekend to ensure that you are able to check that your child has an appropriate face covering and plastic sealable storage bag for it to go into when not being worn. We also ask that you take some time to discuss with your child(ren) the reason behind our change and the latest government guidance.

Should you believe your child to be exempt from wearing a face-covering for health or disability reasons, please write a short note in their planner for them to show to their tutor on Monday morning where they will be provided with an exemption pass.

The guidance below is useful in clarifying what is expected as far as face coverings are concerned. 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own

We understand that for some families this will be welcomed whilst for others there will be reservations. However, our review has shown that this measure is required to further ensure the safety of our direct and extended community so that we look out for and after each other as much as we can in these changing times.

Thank you in anticipation of your continued support.

Have a lovely weekend

Ceri Oakley
Headteacher 

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