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Stockport Localised COVID Restrictions - 27/09/2020

Stockport Localised COVID Restrictions - Face Coverings Required in School Corridors from Monday 28th September

 

27th September 2020

Dear Parents & Carers,

Unfortunately, and with some sadness, I am writing to you today to let you know that under government instruction, due to a rapid rise in local transmission rates over recent weeks, Stockport went into increased localised coronavirus restrictions at midnight on Friday. As you may be aware, the localised restrictions, bring with them a number of further controls that everyone across the borough must now follow.

 

As a result of the increased localised restrictions imposed upon us, I am now required like all other Headteachers across Stockport secondary schools, to advise you that the government have mandated that all schools and colleges located in geographical regions where the transmission of the virus is high, defined as ‘areas of national government intervention’ (or localised lockdown restrictions) should take additional precautionary measures, and that face coverings should be worn by all adults (staff and visitors) and pupils when moving around indoors, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain.

 

Therefore, from tomorrow, Monday 28th September, we are required to introduce a new temporary expectation for all students and adults (staff and visitors). All students and adults on the school premises will from tomorrow, be required to wear a face covering when moving around school on indoor corridors. I would therefore appreciate it, if you could discuss this with your child, and advise them that they should from tomorrow, bring with them and wear a face covering when moving internally across the school at lesson changeover.

 

Despite this new government expectation, some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings under government law. For example people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, anxiety or disability, or if you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate. Teachers and other staff will generally remind students of the new temporary expectation for them to put on a face covering at the end of each lesson before they are due to move along a corridor at lesson changeover, but will also be sensitive to individual needs and anxieties. The government also stress that no-one should be excluded from education on the grounds that they are not wearing a face covering.

 

In-keeping with the main government guidance on this issue, we do not expect students to wear a face covering whilst in lesson, as protective control measures in classrooms reduce the risks and the wearing of face coverings may inhibit effective communication and the quality of teaching and learning activity. Therefore, unless an individual student has an underlying medical condition which makes them clinically vulnerable to coronavirus, or lives with a family member whom is clinically vulnerable, and therefore for those specific additional medical reasons, wishes to wear a face covering in lessons as well as in corridors and communal areas, students should not wear face coverings whilst in classrooms. Should your child fall under these criteria, and they wish to wear a face covering in lessons as an exceptional circumstance, to provide additional self-reassurance and protection for themselves or an immediate household member, then we would ask that you contact your child’s Pastoral Manager to confirm. The Pastoral Manager will then issue your child with a pass to confirm with their teachers that the wearing of a face covering in lesson has been requested under medical grounds and has been approved.

 

We also do not expect students to wear a face covering when outside of the school buildings or when entering the dining halls to eat their lunch, as those spaces are large enough for social distancing to be applied with students remaining in their carefully controlled Year group ‘bubbles’. This is the same for Year group assemblies, where the use of a large space for a short period of time, in which alphabetical, single line, forward facing seating arrangements are in place to help control and track potential transmission. As with the previous point regarding lessons however, should an individual student wish to wear a face covering in one of these environments due to personal reasons, then that is of course permissible.

 

In terms of school policy, face coverings worn in school, must be a plain face covering without any branding, imagery or wording, appropriate for a school environment. You and your child must also take full responsibility for their provision, and for their safe and appropriate usage. The government state that it is vital that face coverings are worn correctly, including how they are put on, removed, stored and disposed of in all of the circumstances above, to avoid inadvertently increasing the risks of transmission. Safe wearing of face coverings requires the cleaning or the sanitising of hands before and after touching – including to remove or put them on – and the safe storage of them in individual, sealable plastic bags between use. Where a face covering becomes damp, it should not be worn and the face covering should be replaced carefully. Where face coverings require disposal, a student must take the important responsibility of doing so by placing it themselves into a bin to avoid contact with others.

 

I appreciate that this is a frustrating and worrying time for us all, however by us continuing to work together and by us all following the government guidance and the ‘Return to School’ plans set out in school, I am confident that we can continue to minimise the risks. Thankfully, at this time, unlike most other schools across the borough, Stockport School has yet to receive a positive COVID case within its school community, and I hope that this continues to be the case for as long as possible.

 

As ever, I will continue to keep you informed and updated as we progress. Thank you for your continued support.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Ian Irwin