Coronavirus Procedures

The government is currently issuing updated guidance on a regular basis through the Department for Education in response to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Some of the government guidance that we are following is available by clicking here and here (for Omicron guidance).

This page contains the government guidelines that we are following, as well as our updated Risk Assessment and recent communication letters sent to families.

Effective Infection Protection and Control

The Department for Education has advised schools to take important actions to help prevent the spread of the virus. The spread of Coronavirus involves dealing with direct transmission (for instance, when in close contact with those sneezing and coughing) and indirect transmission (via touching contaminated surfaces).

The following is the set of actions that the government has directed schools to take in the latest updated guidelines:

Ensuring good hygiene

We have a large number of anti-viral/bacterial gel dispensers throughout our sites and we will continue to encourage all children, staff and visitors to use them frequently throughout the day. Equally, all toilets have sufficient hand basins and soap for use.

All children are reminded regularly about the importance of good hygiene practices in our form times or assemblies and to wash their hands for 20 seconds with running water and soap before drying them thoroughly. This is reinforced through the signage around the sites. All children wash their hands before eating and will be encouraged to do so when entering the buildings.

Our classrooms all have anti-viral/bacterial surface sprays and wipes for use by staff throughout the day.

Maintaining excellent cleaning regimes

Our maintenance teams continue to clean frequently touched surfaces during the day using detergents, computer/iPad wipes and Milton sterilising cleaner. Our cleaning teams continue to provide a nightly ‘deep clean’ every evening of all hard surfaces using Milton sterilising cleaner.

Keeping occupied spaces well ventilated

We have taken steps to ensure that fresh air flow is available in the classrooms and offices throughout the premises and that there is sufficient ventilation. It is a balancing act to increase ventilation while maintaining a comfortable working temperature.

Following public health advice at all times

This includes following the measures below, continuing to encourage asymptomatic Covid-19 testing for staff and senior pupils, with confirmatory PCR tests for those with a positive Lateral Flow test result.

Temperature Checks and Medication

Public Health England is clear that routinely taking the temperature of pupils is no longer recommended as this is an unreliable method for identifying Coronavirus. We will not take the children’s temperatures unless we suspect that a pupil has symptoms. Each school has several contactless digital infrared thermometers on standby.

Do not send children to school with a temperature, consistent cough or any other sickness. Do not try to mask a high temperature with Calpol or any other medicine.

Face Coverings

Many of our older pupils travel to and from school independently via public transport, and face coverings should continue to be worn if using buses and/or trains.

The Department for Education has asked schools to ensure that face coverings are worn in communal areas by staff, visitors and pupils in Year 7 and above.

Staff
Staff will wear face coverings when in communal areas and moving around inside the buildings. In addition, some staff may choose to wear face coverings when teaching inside where social distancing is not possible. This will be optional and may depend on the size and layout of the room as well as the age of the children.

Primary age pupils from Kindergarten to Year 6
Primary children will not need to wear face coverings.

Secondary age pupils from Year 7 to Year 11
Secondary pupils will need to wear face coverings when moving through the buildings and in communal areas (eg locker rooms and dining halls). The wearing of face coverings in lessons will be optional for the time being, although they may not be appropriate when taking part in PE lessons. Pupils should bring sufficient clean disposable or reusable face coverings to school for the duration of each day.

Parents/Visitors
All parents and visitors must wear face coverings when inside any of the buildings. It will not be necessary to wear face coverings outside for the time being, but please do remember to maintain your distance when waiting to pick up.

‘Bubbles’ and Social Distancing

The Department for Education no longer recommends that it is necessary to keep children in consistent ‘bubbles’. This means that activities such as assemblies can resume and we no longer need to make alternative arrangements to avoid mixing at break/lunch times or for communal activities.

Asymptomatic Lateral Flow Testing

Staff

We are distributing the government’s home testing kits for all staff to enable them to carry out lateral flow tests at home twice each week. This will help to protect our staff when they are in school. We recommend testing on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Primary age pupils from Kindergarten to Year 6

Although not part of the Department for Education’s current planning, the local authority advises that families undertake twice-weekly Lateral Flow Tests for children over two years. This will ensure that as much asymptomatic infection as possible is picked up and will help schools to continue to operate at full capacity by minimising the spread of infection.

Lateral Flow Tests will not be provided by the Department for Education for primary children. However, you can collect test kits as follows:

  • from your local pharmacy using one of the new collect codes which can be downloaded here. You can then hand this into your local pharmacy, who will provide you with test kits.
  • from your local library.
  • online through the link here.

Secondary age pupils from Year 7 to Year 11

We are distributing the government’s home testing kits for all secondary pupils to enable them to carry out lateral flow tests at home twice each week. This will help to protect our staff when they are in school. We recommend testing on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Households with a positive case of Covid-19

From 16 August, if you are fully vaccinated or aged under 18 years, you are no longer required to self-isolate if you live in the same household as someone who has tested positive for Covid-19. This means that a child can now attend school even if a sibling or parent has tested positive, as long as the child tests negative. See the Government guidance here for further information.

Positive cases of Covid-19 in School

Individuals are no longer required to self-isolate if they are a close contact of somebody who has tested positive for Covid-19 or they are under 18 years. Instead, they will be required to take a lateral flow test each morning before leaving home for 7 days from the date of the last contact.

Contingency Planning

If there is a ‘substantial increase’ in the number of positive cases in school, then we will work with the Department for Education and Local Authority to manage the ‘outbreak’.

Identifying a group that is likely to have mixed closely will be different in many circumstances. In our schools, this could include:

  • a form group, subject class or sports team
  • a friendship group mixing at break times
  • a group in an after-school activity

At the point of reaching a threshold, we will first review and reinforce the testing, hygiene and ventilation measures already in place. If required, we will put in place the following Contingency Plan for a short, temporary period:

  • assist NHS Test & Trace to identify close contacts who need to take a PCR test
  • require face coverings to be worn in school by all staff, visitors and senior pupils
  • reintroduce bubbles to reduce mixing between groups
  • cancel or postpone educational visits, live performances, events, open days etc
  • limit visitors to the premises.

The Government has asked schools to endeavour to keep any measures to the minimum number of pupils possible and for the shortest amount of time possible. Any measures affecting education will be under regular review and will be lifted as soon as the evidence supports doing so. Attendance restrictions will only ever be considered as a last resort, so we will only move back to remote home learning in more extreme circumstances if specifically directed by the Government.

While we are required to have a Contingency Plan ready to use, clearly we hope never to do so. Our Contingency Plan and Risk Assessment are available to download below.

Documents

Oak-Tree Letters

Risk Assessment

Outbreak Contingency Plan

Resources

Asymptomatic Lateral Flow Testing