I am writing to confirm that the 3rd phase of the Welsh Government’s planned return to school, as set out in their latest Operational Guidance, will enable all learners to access education provision on site from April 12th 2021 onwards.
Learners will follow a similar pattern of social distancing via contact groups, as prior to Christmas, and follow the same timings of the day and timetable as before the current lockdown. The week commencing the 12th of April 2021 will follow the timetable for Week 1.
Usual school transport will also be provided, learners must wear face coverings on school transport and keep to the same seats.
We would like all learners to wear school uniform when in school. Either a shirt and tie, or school branded polo shirt to be worn with school trousers or skirt, as appropriate. On days when pupils have PE, they are asked to attend school in their kit, as changing facilities are not available.
All learners will be expected to wear face coverings, as provided previously, when on the school site. Face coverings should be worn in all communal areas and now, following new Welsh Government Guidance, in classrooms, where social distancing cannot be maintained. The only exception to this will be when eating at lunchtime, taking part in PE, or for those with exemption. Learners must maintain 2m social distancing from adults and respect the “Teacher area” set out at the front of each classroom.
Break and Lunch
Canteen facilities will operate as in the autumn term. However, learners may bring a packed lunch to school, if so wished. May we remind you that only learners in Penybont Sixth Form are permitted to leave the school site during the day.
Lateral Flow Testing at Home – Yr10, 11, 12, and 13
For those learners who are involved in home testing, only a reminder that they are not required to test over the Easter break but should recommence testing on the morning of Monday 12th April, 2021.
A range of mitigation measures have been put in place. We would be grateful if you can remind learners of the importance of the following measures in advance of their return to school:
- Staff and learners in Yr10, 11, 12, and 13 in the school have the option of participating in twice weekly lateral flow tests to keep everyone in the school community safe
- All secondary school aged learners will continue to be required to wear their face covering for use in school where social distancing cannot be maintained (including within the classroom) with the exception of when they are sat down in the canteen, eating and drinking. Face coverings should be worn by learners and adults in all communal areas and on school transport.
- Learners are also reminded of the need to maintain 2m social distancing from staff
- Hand washing or hand sanitisation should be done on entering school and at various times throughout the day including before and after handling food. Hands must only be cleaned using one method at a time i.e. learners should not wash hands with soap/water then apply alcohol gel.
- Hand sanitising facilities are in place and exit and entry points to classrooms, sports facilities, toilets, and canteens. Hand sanitiser stations, with at least 60% alcohol, will be placed outside classrooms and throughout communal areas of the site and replenished as required. Learners are welcome to bring their own hand sanitiser into school as long as it is over 60% alcohol.
- Respiratory hygiene is also important and this is focused on the ‘catch it, kill it’ approach. Additional bins will be provided for tissues and for the disposal of single use facemasks, if worn.
- A keep left procedure will apply in corridors and on stairs that are not designated as one way.
- Year groups will be designated as contact groups, however older learners are encouraged to keep their distance from one another. The school will limit interaction and the sharing of rooms and social spaces between contact groups as much as possible (Y12 and Y13 who should maintain social distancing at all times and should not interact as year groups)
- As far as is reasonably practicable, the school will expect learners to socially distance when entering or exiting the school site, wearing face coverings in communal areas.
- All parents visiting the site are required to maintain 2m social distancing and wear a face covering – this should be by appointment only.
- Meetings with families and other stakeholders will only take place on a face-to-face basis, when it is considered safe to do so. This measure is designed to limit the number of people entering the school site to help reduce the risk of transmission.
- Year ‘Contact groups’ will remain as separate as possible to lower the risk of transmission. Furthermore, movement around the school site will be kept to a minimum as a result of ‘zoning’.
- The school will make sure that learners and staff are aware of social distancing expectations throughout the day and the need to wear face coverings in all communal areas (including classrooms where social distancing cannot be maintained). Outdoor areas will also be zoned as required.
- The school and Welsh Government Guidance recognises that some direct or indirect mixing between learners in different contact groups is unavoidable. For example, this includes the use of school transport, when receiving specialist subject teaching or owing to staffing constraints or limitations of the school site and classrooms.
- There will be no large gatherings such as whole year assemblies
- To support effective hygiene practices, the school will maintain an enhanced cleaning system to help prevent risk of transmission of the virus. This will focus on frequently touched surfaces.
- Where practicable an additional clean will be initiated when learner groups are changed within any area or classroom, including the wiping of surfaces by learners.
- Increased ventilation will be provided in occupied rooms through the opening of windows.
- Contact groups may be required to self-isolate following positive cases. The use of Lateral Flow Tests for asymptomatic testing could mean that requests to collect learners may be at short notice.
Please keep your child at home and self-isolate if they:
- have symptoms of COVID-19, whether they feel unwell or not,
- have tested positive, even if asymptomatic
- have been advised by NHS Wales Test Trace Protect (TTP) to do so
- are household members of a positive case, even If that case is asymptomatic
Coronavirus symptoms are:
- a new continuous cough
- a high temperature
- loss or change to sense of smell or taste
Learners, staff and other adults with COVID-19 symptoms or who have tested positive in the last 10 days must not come into school.
Anyone developing COVID-19 symptoms during the school day must be sent home immediately
We look forward to welcoming our learners back to school after the Easter break.
Edward H Jones