25th September 2020
I hope this update finds you and your family well. We've survived the new challenge of wet and windy break and lunchtimes with style these last few days, as pupils have moved to year-specific indoor spaces with good humour. I remain very impressed by how resilient and calm the school community remains as we take every new challenge in our stride.
When to send your child in to school when they have developed a new cough.
The short answer is: never!
There may be a temptation to send your child in early to avoid missed education. Please do not do this. I would urge all parents to ensure we are following the government guidance and to self-isolate for the full time, unless you get a negative test result. There have been a few occasions where students who have had coughs for a few days have then come back in to school as soon as they have stopped rather than get a test result and we have had to send them home again with the advice to self-isolate and get a test. If the symptoms are very mild, they may not last very long, but you may still be contagious and hence the 10 day isolation. Although quite emotive, I remind you of the words of the Prime Minister on Tuesday: "The tragic reality of having Covid is that your mild cough can be someone else's death knell.” I spoke to a member of the region's PHE health protection team on Tuesday about this issue and asked her what advice I could give my welfare staff regarding how to distinguish between a normal cough and a COVID cough. Her response was that we could sit a child down in front of a doctor for half an hour and they would not be able to be sure one way or another. The only way to be sure is to get a test. We will always err on the side of caution when making the decision about whether to allow someone back into the school community.
However, having a cold is not the same thing as having coronavirus symptoms. Your child does not need to stay at home or have a test if they have a runny nose, are sneezing or feeling unwell but do not have a temperature, cough or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste because these are not normally symptoms of coronavirus
Click here for a letter from the DfE with recent information about symptoms and getting a test. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-parents-and-guardians-when-you-should-book-a-coronavirus-test-for-your-child/letter-to-parents-and-guardians-when-you-should-book-a-coronavirus-test-for-your-child
Sixth Form Information Evening: 30th September
Our outstanding sixth form continues to be successful with more students than usual joining us from both year 11 and beyond. All lessons are taking place on site with no remote education needed, and class sizes remain small to ensure that students get the help and support they need with the jump to A Level. Our students will not get lost in the crowd; they'll stand out from it, with more than national going on to Russell Group universities. Our open evening this year is going to be virtual! To sign up for the information evening, go to our Eventbrite page at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/stannes-6th-form-live-information-event-tickets-121217403517
NHS COVID-19 App
The new app is now available for use by anyone 16 and over in the England and Wales. This would include staff, sixth formers, and year 11s who turn 16. We will allow year 11s who are 16 and sixth formers to have the app on their phones and for it to be active as long as it is on their person, say, in a pocket or in the bag they are carrying. The app will not give accurate information if it is in a bag in a different part of the school from the student or with someone else in the school so would need to be switched to inactive at that point. There is no reason for the phones to be fiddled with, or out in lessons etc and so our normal rules of "switched off and out of sight" are just amended to "out of sight" in this instance. If a student receives a message from the app that they have been in contact with someone who has then tested positive, they will need to let the teacher in their class know, or the nearest adult during social time, who will then support them in their next steps. I attach information about the app for parents and carers.
Face coverings and travelling with other year groups
The students are doing a fantastic job of wearing face coverings around school, with only the occasional child needing to be reminded to wear it correctly (over both mouth and nose) or to put it on as they leave a year group area. The proportion of correct wearing is well above that of what I see in shops and in the street. Those that said that young people couldn't be trusted to do the right thing in this regard have never met St Anne's pupils and students!
However, we have seen some taking them off as they go down the road after school while still around others, and I would ask you to speak to your child about ensuring the good work they've done during the school day is not undone at the end as they walk down the street or get on public transport, especially as they are more likely to be travelling with other year groups by that point.
Extra-Curricular Activities: A message from Mrs Hewitt, Extra Curricular Lead.
It is perhaps more important than ever for our students to take part in extra-curricular activities. Doing something that they enjoy is so important for wellbeing as well as gaining relevant skills and experience ahead of possible future college and university applications. Extra-curricular clubs will be hosted virtually this year via Microsoft Teams. During tutor time students will be shown how to access the extra-curricular club Team with the use of a special code. From there they can try out a range of clubs and activities, this timetable is attached and will be displayed on the school website and in each tutor room. Please encourage your young person to try something new and join a ‘virtual’ club this year!
Swimming: A message from Mrs Kutty, Head of PE
There have been a few questions about the risks around our swimming lessons. We have risk assessed the activity and also followed Swim England (the governing body) advice as well as the advice given to schools. The number that attend swimming has been reduced to only one class at a time instead of 2, face coverings are used making our way to the bus, on the bus and through the reception of the University. Sanitiser is used on arrival and we follow the one way system in the building. Sanitiser is used on entry and exit of our designated school bus. The x2 large changing rooms are divided between the class and no other group is in either the pool or the changing rooms at the same time as us – with a 15 mins cleaning time in between. As such, we are happy with the arrangements for swimming, as it's an important part of the health and safety of young people to learn how to swim and to get regular exercise.
God Bless and have a good weekend!