Dear Parents and Carers
I am sure that you have been watching the news over the weekend with increasing concern about the alarming rise in cases of the new Covid variant, which is practically on our doorstep and is spreading amongst younger people especially. As you know from my update on Friday, tomorrow we were due to ease our restrictions slightly on the wearing of face coverings by lifting the expectation to wear face coverings in classrooms; however, I would like you to consider the implications of this advice given by experts on the BBC this morning in relation to the spread of the new variant:
“The advice can be summed up like this; think twice about lingering for hours in a crowded room that has little fresh air”
Please now consider what it is like in a classroom in a high school. Whilst we do ensure that all our classrooms are well ventilated, many rooms are nevertheless small and can contain up to 27 people. The situation locally seems to be deteriorating rapidly, common sense dictates that now does not seem the time to be removing the expectation to wear face coverings in classrooms. Last week we had three cases of Covid within the same form bubble in Year 9 and a further case in Year 11 this weekend. For this reason, from tomorrow, our full policy of wearing face masks in school, including in classrooms, will be maintained. This course of action has already been endorsed by public health officials in Bury and Bolton and I suspect that the other Greater Manchester authorities will follow suit later this week.
I know that there may be some parents who will not welcome this change of direction, but I firmly believe that it is the most sensible thing to do in the circumstances. We know from the scientific advice that we were adhering to only last week that face coverings help to minimise transmission. If you do not agree with this and do not wish your child to wear a mask in classrooms, you can contact your child’s Head of Year and ask for an exemption, which will be granted. All existing exemptions will remain in place.
The students will be told about the change in the morning in an assembly. Of course, we will keep this policy under constant review and look to lift this restriction as soon as circumstances will allow us to do so.
I thank-you for your continued support and cooperation.
Mr P Davies