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COVID Update Letter

Dear Parents and Carers,

Following the letter you will have received from our CEO, Steve Taylor, we wanted to write to you with some key information and messages which are particular for Hans Price Academy, as England is expected to enter a national lockdown on Thursday 5th November. At the time of writing, the DFE have not published further guidance other than that published by the government on 3pt October, so more updates may follow over the coming days.

Firstly, we would like to reassure you of the existing measures that HPA has implemented in order to reduce the risk of infection for students and adults in the academy. We have established good routines of hand hygiene and of social distancing wherever possible. We have staggered the start and end of the school day and organised our breaks _and lunchtimes to keep the year group bubbles apart as far as is practicably possible.

Face Coverings

From Monday 9th November, masks will be mandatory for all staff and students. We are introducing these additional measures to further reduce the risk of infection for all students and staff. Masks should be worn at all times whilst in social areas and corridors. Students and staff with medical exemptions will not be expected to wear a face covering. You can check the list of exemptions on the gov.uk website, linked here: face coverings guidance

Since the law in England has for some time required all people over the age of 11 to wear face coverings when entering shops or travelling on public transport, we expect that the majority of our students already own a suitable face covering. Face coverings for school should be plain with no obvious logos. If you will not be able to provide your child with a suitable face covering by Monday 9th November, please email the school on [email protected]. We would ask that you use this email address to notify us of any medical exemption that you child may have, so that we can inform our staff.

Visitors to the academy

From Thursday 5th November we must strictly enforce our existing policy of visitors to the academy by appointment only. Routine meetings, such as to discuss attendance or academic progress, will continue but will be conducted via telephone or Zoom video conferencing. Please do not come to school without an appointment as you will not be granted entry to the building. Where we are asking parents to attend the academy for a health and safety reason (for example, to collect a poorly child) then you may come to school and we would ask you to wear a suitable face covering when you arrive.

As a consequence of the ‘stay at home’ instructions from the government, the scheduled parents’ evenings for Year 7 and Year 11 students that were due to take place in November will not take place in the usual way. We will be in touch with the families of students in these year groups to confirm the alternative plans.

School attendance

At the time of writing there has been no change to parents’ legal responsibility to ensure their child has good attendance at school. Whilst we appreciate that these are worrying times for many families, the prime minister has been clear that keeping schools open is a top priority for the country because it is in the best interests of young people, for their educational progress as well as their mental health and wellbeing. We expect all of our students to attend school every day, as usual, except where they are unwell or have been told to self-isolate by the NHS test and trace service. 

Key messages for students

It is important that our students and families understand that, whilst school is open and running relatively normally, the nation will be in lockdown from 5th November to 2nd December. Our students should not be visiting shops on their way to and from school, unless they are purchasing essential items for their household. Parents are still allowed, under these laws, to bring their child to school. Students that walk to school should do so either with their household bubble, OR with one other friend. They should not be socialising in parks and open spaces. It would be inappropriate for our young people to be in the community in large groups at this time and would likely cause considerable anxiety and upset for our neighbours. We ask parents and carers to join the school in encouraging our young people to show their sense of responsibility and empathy with others in the way they conduct themselves outside of school.

Contingency planning

If a positive case of Covid 19 amongst students or staff is reported to us outside of the normal school working hours, we conduct close contact tracing according to guidance from the Public Health Protection Team and then contact the affected families to advise them that their child should self­isolate for 14 days and to confirm the earliest date for a return to school. In the event of a positive case of Covid 19 being reported during the school day, we work with the Health Protection Team to carry out a rapid risk assessment and act on their advice. If your child is identified as needing to self-isolate, the school will contact you and ask you to collect your child immediately from school, to take them home to begin their period of self-isolation. All parents of the academy would be notified of the positive test result via email or text.

Work for students that are self-isolating

Whilst students are well but at home self-isolating, their work will be posted on the SIMS engagement apps (SIMS student and SIMS Parent apps). The students know this as ‘GPS’ work, and it is labelled as such to clearly distinguish it from regular independent study or homework. In the event of a whole bubble closure, learning would continue by way of online, Blended Learning opportunities. That is to say, a combination of remotely supported work, individual learning tasks and, where possible, access to ‘Live’ learning opportunities with a member of staff where they are able to get support with their online learning. This work will be set using the SIMS engagement apps and will contain any relevant resources and links to online sessions. Students are able to submit their work to their teachers on the SIMS app too. It is therefore extremely important that we have all your correct and up-to-date contact details on our system. You can make any changes yourself if you have the SIMS Parent App or you can contact the Academy via email: [email protected] or by calling the main switchboard on (01934) 629307.

Whilst these are undoubtedly challenging times for us all, at Hans Price Academy we are pleased to have the opportunity to remain open and to keep learning. We have every confidence that our students and staff will demonstrate their exceptional character and community spirit throughout this temporary period of further restrictions.

If you have any queries or concerns regarding these arrangements, please do contact us.

Yours sincerely

Mr Tony Searle

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