Posted on: 26th February 2021
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement that secondary schools will reopen from 8th March 2021, we are looking forward to welcoming all of our students back to the Academy. We have been so impressed by their efforts and resilience during this period of national lockdown, but are now excited to get back to face-to-face teaching.
Students in years 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 will return to the Academy from Thursday 11th March and year 7 will return from Friday 12th March. All of our protocols and procedures from last term will still be in place, including staggered break times, the one-way system for movement around the site and different finish times for each year group to reduce crowding at the end of the day. Each year group will be a ‘bubble’ who will mix with each other, but not with other bubbles and our enhanced cleaning protocols will continue. Social distancing will be encouraged wherever possible. We continue to require students to wear their PE kit to and from the Academy on the days they have PE lessons. We will spend some time reacclimatising our students and reminding them of our procedures and protocols upon their return, with normal lessons resuming from Monday 15th March; this will be ‘Week 1’ on the timetable.
It is recommended that staff and students wear face coverings in all areas, including classrooms where social distancing cannot be maintained. We will require students to provide their own face covering as only a small number will be available at the Academy. This is an additional safety measure that we understand will be reviewed by the government at Easter.
It is vital that you continue to report students with potential symptoms of Covid-19 to us at the earliest opportunity, either via phone or email to [email protected]. Students with symptoms should be taken for a PCR test as soon as possible and the outcome of this should be reported to the Academy. Where positive cases do occur, students and their close contacts will need to self-isolate as per government guidelines.
Remote learning will continue until students return to the Academy. This will continue in its current format until Friday 5th March with live lesson delivery from teachers at 9am, 11am and 2pm each day. From Monday 8th March, remote learning will move to activities posted on the VLE which can be accessed through our website. This is to allow staff time to prepare for face-to-face teaching once students return.
The voucher scheme for those in receipt of FSM will cease on Friday 5th March. As a result, free school meal packs will be provided to those who require them for week commencing Monday 8th March. Further information about this will be shared via text message in due course.
All students and staff will be offered the opportunity for asymptomatic testing. Students will be invited to take three lateral flow device tests at the Academy, three-to-five days apart. We will then be able to issue home test kits which can be conducted under your supervision, twice-a-week at home. Along with the other protective measures we are taking, these tests will give us the best chance of keeping our community as safe as possible. Up to one-third of people who have coronavirus experience no symptoms, so carrying out such testing means that we can help to stop the virus spread. The test is voluntary; however, I would encourage all students and staff to take part. I include our testing schedule below, which you will notice prioritises our older students.
We are mindful that some of our students may be anxious about taking a test and would be reassured by having a parent or carer with them for their first one. For this reason, we will be offering evening appointments on Monday 8th March, Tuesday 9th March and Wednesday 10th March between 5pm and 7pm. Should you wish to bring your child to the testing centre during these times, please email [email protected] to book an appointment.
I wrote to you before half term with more information about the testing, this information is still available at the following link: https://www.onewa.co.uk/news/lateral-flow-device-testing-at-onewa/
If you are happy for your child to be tested, please print and complete the consent statement and form (one per student) available at the link above. Students will need to bring these consent forms with them when they come for their first test. If you indicated on our recent survey that you would like a consent form posted to you, these will be arriving early next week.
Where students have a test scheduled for a date prior to their return to lessons at the Academy, they should attend for their test only and then travel straight home. We will text you with a time slot for their test closer to the day itself. They do not have to wear school uniform for this visit to the Academy site and must continue to adhere to the national lockdown rules.
I hope that the information in this letter reassures you regarding our reopening plans. The safety of our students, staff and community is my priority and I am really grateful for your support during these unprecedented times. If you do have any questions, please email these to [email protected] and we will be in touch as soon as possible. Please do continue to take care and stay safe.
Mr C. Cooling