COVID-19 Update – June 2021
Dear Parents, Carers and Students
COVID-19 Update – June 2021
I am sure you will already be aware that a COVID-19 variant of concern (the ‘Delta’ or ‘Indian’ variant) has been confirmed within our region. Although this variant does not appear to cause more severe illness than other strains, we are advised that it does transmit more easily than other variants circulating in the UK. This means that an outbreak at Harton is likely to affect more people than before, increasing the risk of disruption to our students, staff and our families.
We feel it is useful to contact you, once again, to reiterate how we can protect our families, the school, the wider community and ourselves.
We are assured that the vaccines remain the best protection we have against COVID-19, including this new variant. The vaccination programme is progressing quickly, with younger groups becoming eligible every few days. The more people who are vaccinated, the harder it is for the virus to spread and to ultimately reach those who are vulnerable. If you were offered a vaccine, but missed out on taking up the offer, you can still book an appointment by calling 119 or at:
Around 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 do not have any symptoms, so all adults and secondary school-age students are encouraged to carry out testing twice a week. This helps identify individuals who could be spreading the virus without realising. Please can you continue to urge your child to bring their test kit home, when it is issued at school? For information, you can also collect free lateral flow testing kits from pharmacies and local community sites, or order online or by phone for home delivery. In this way, you can do your tests as a family! It is also important that the test results – whether positive or negative – be reported to the NHS, so that the spread of the virus can be monitored. You can do this at www.gov.uk/report-covid19-results
PCR tests are more reliable than lateral flow tests, so anyone who develops symptoms – no matter how mild – should arrange a PCR test straight away. Guidance has recently changed: now, all close contacts of positive cases are asked to book a PCR test as soon as possible to try to stop the spread of the more transmissible variants.
We are doing all we can to keep our staff and children safe at school. The new strain of the virus is no different from any other in that it is more likely to spread in enclosed areas used by lots of people. We ensure that we ventilate all rooms wherever possible, and continue to remind staff and students of the need for thorough handwashing procedures. Staff wear a face covering in congested areas where they cannot maintain a social distance. In this regard, and despite the recent change in guidance for schools on the use of face coverings, discretion may be needed in the case of schools where there are outbreaks, local cases increase or where variants of concern have been identified. In any of those instances, the school will review the situation and may recommend the reintroduction of face coverings as an additional health measure.
We regularly review our COIVD-19 risk assessment, which is shared with all staff, governors, directors and unions in order to continue to make our school a safer environment for students and staff. It was last amended on 9 June 2021 and is on our website for you to see.
Finally, we want to thank you all for your continued efforts in helping to ensure our school stays open and our students continue to get the best education possible. We know only too well that the school experience for students and staff has been disrupted, but urge you to continue to support us and work together to protect our families and communities.
Head of School