COVID-19

Our schools continue to work hard to ensure that they are taking all the necessary precautions to protect our students, their families, our staff and the community.

Our priority is to deliver face-to-face, high quality education to all students and a full curriculum. The evidence is clear that being out of education causes significant harm to educational attainment, life chances, mental and physical health.

The Department for Education has now released guidance that details how school should manage the risks attached to the spread of COVID-19 at step 4 and beyond.

The guidance states:

‘As the country moves to Step 4 of the roadmap, the government will continue to manage the risk of serious illness from the spread of the virus. This marks a new phase in the government’s response to the pandemic, moving away from stringent restrictions on everyone’s day-to-day lives, towards advising people on how to protect themselves and others, alongside targeted interventions to reduce risk. As COVID-19 becomes a virus that we learn to live with, there is now an imperative to reduce the disruption to children and young people’s education - particularly given that the direct clinical risks to children are extremely low, and every adult has been offered a first vaccine and the opportunity for two doses by mid-September.’

 

A summary of the most significant changes from Stage 4 of the Roadmap (from 19th July 2021) are:

  • At Step 4 and after the end of the summer term, it will no longer be necessary to keep children in consistent groups (‘bubbles’). This means we will not have bubbles in our schools from the autumn term 2021; we will return to ‘normal’ routines of students moving to teachers’ specialist rooms for their lessons.
  • Schools and settings will only need to do contact tracing up to 18th July 2021. From 19th July 2021 (Step 4), close contacts will be identified via NHS Test and Trace. This means we will not be routinely contacting you when there is a confirmed case in school
  • From 16th August 2021, children under the age of 18 years old will no longer be required to self-isolate if they are contacted by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case. This means that students do not need to miss school when identified as a close contact, have no symptoms and have fulfilled all the testing requirements of NHS Test and Trace.
  • From step 4, face coverings will no longer be advised for students, students, staff and visitors either in classrooms or in communal areas. From Step 4, face coverings are also no longer recommended to be worn on dedicated transport to school or college.

We will, however, continue to implement a number of control measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission:

  • We will ensure good hygiene for everyone with handwashing/sanitising routines maintained
  • We will continue to enhance our cleaning routines throughout the day.
  • We will keep occupied spaces well ventilated.
  • We will continue to follow public health advice on testing, self-isolation and managing confirmed cases of COVID-19

As students will potentially mix with lots of other people during the summer holidays, all secondary school students and students should receive two on-site lateral flow device tests, 3-5 days apart, on their return in September. Settings may commence testing from 3 working days before the start of term and can stagger return of students across the first week to manage this. Students should then continue to test twice weekly at home until the end of September, when this will be reviewed.



Updates on COVID-19

For further updates on COVID-19 please see the following links:

Latest Department for Education information:

Public Health England
Department for Education
UK Government
Ofqual
Travel advice for those travelling and living overseas

© 2021 The Four Stones Multi Academy Trust. Registered address: Brake Lane, Hagley, Worcestershire. DY8 2XS. A charitable company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales. Company number: 07652306.