COVID Info Letter Parents 17th September 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,                                                                                                         17th September 2020

We continue to be impressed with the superb attitude and work ethic that the students have returned with, really well done to them.

I know that you will have heard of the confirmed cases at several local schools but I am pleased to report that Ferndown does not yet have one. However, I thought it would be useful to outline how we will approach this situation if it does occur.

For any student with any of the three key symptoms of COVID:

  1. Continuous cough  
  2. High temperature
  3. Loss of taste or smell

We would ask that the student is kept at home while you secure a COVID test for them. There is a real issue with gaining a COVID test at the moment so if you cannot get a test for your son / daughter then they will have to stay at home, isolating until 10 days after the onset of their symptoms.

Once the school is notified of a confirmed case, we will investigate to identify ‘close contacts’. We will do this by speaking to the student themselves, speaking to the duty team leads and using our seating plans from lessons and the buses. Those students who have been identified as close contacts will then be notified by the school that they must isolate at home for 14 days. The rest of the household will not have to isolate, unless the student starts to show symptoms.

Every student who is isolating will receive virtual learning to ensure that they do not fall behind in their learning. Work for students who are isolating will be put onto the student’s class Teams page. Please note, this will not be to the same standard as was delivered during lockdown because each teacher will still have a full, in-school, teaching commitment.

If whole classes or year groups are to be isolated, the school will revert to full live remote lessons for these groups.

If staff have to self-isolate they will still deliver their lessons remotely, with a cover teacher sitting in the lesson to ensure student safety.

As an extra precaution, we have also grouped each year into bubbles within bubbles (which we call bands in school). This was the reason why we changed the Y9 tutor groups over the summer in anticipation of such a requirement. The reason for the construction of bands is to limit the amount of students each year group bubble mixes with. So in Y9 for example, a student might be in a different class for maths, English and PE but they will always be in a class with the same 80 student band.

This should mean that if the number of close contacts of a confirmed case are too high, we will not have to ask the whole year group bubble to isolate at home, just the specific band.

The school will therefore only send a whole year group home as a last resort.

One issue with this strategy is that at break and lunch time the students can potentially mix (in their designated areas) between bands. One way to ensure that this does not occur would be to ask the students to wear a mask or face covering. We would therefore like your opinion on this strategy:

Ideally, we would rather not implement this measure, but it would be an effective way to ensure that confirmed cases do not lead to the whole year group having to isolate, so your opinion on this topic would be invaluable.

May I also request that parents do not drop into reception to raise any issues with us, as we are trying to limit the amount of other contacts that occur in the school, we ask instead that you phone or email us with your query and we will ensure it is passed on to the correct person to respond.

Assemblies did not start this week and we are continuing with virtual assemblies for the time being as an extra safety precaution.

The final request from me is could you please speak to your son / daughter about bike etiquette if they cycle to school. May I also request that any issues over student behaviour on the way to or from school are reported to school reception, because I reminded the students today that for the hour before and after school they may still be sanctioned and while 99% of our students behave impeccably, it is not fair that 1% of the student population let the side down.

Have a great weekend, stay safe,