Academy Update – 18/09/2020

Posted on: September 18, 2020

I want to take this opportunity to update the community on the new measures that the academy is taking to further increase the safety and welfare of staff and students.

 

Masks
In light of recent examples of positive test results in schools and academies across the country, it is the right time to add an extra layer of safety in ensuring the protection of all members of our community.

Consequently, from Monday 21st September, we as an academy have decided to make the wearing of face-coverings mandatory in all indoor communal spaces for both students and staff. Face-coverings must be worn when moving around the academy, in the corridors, or in a room/office that does not allow for adequate social distancing. Students will also be required to wear a face-covering in the Bistro when they are not eating or drinking. Classrooms and outdoor spaces will be exempt from this rule and are the only areas where students and staff do not need to wear a face-covering. This rule has been introduced in many other parts of the city, the country and indeed the planet. The academy will provide a free black cloth mask to every student during Form Period on Monday morning, and students must only wear the face mask supplied to them. They will also be shown how to wear and store the mask. The mask can be cleaned in warm water with soap and then be left to dry overnight. If a student forgets their mask, then we will provide a disposable mask for the day, although we will take action if the student continually attends without their mask. If a student loses their mask, they can purchase a new one for £1 from reception.

As is the case in everyday life, there are people who cannot wear a mask for a variety of reasons. If that is the case, please contact your Head of Year. We will also be happy to issue an exemption lanyard to any such student, if they request it, to show to everyone else that they do not need to wear a mask.

I am aware that the issue of masks does split opinion. However, we are following the best medical advice available to ensure that we do everything possible to remove risk in the academy, and I would ask for your support in doing this.

 

What happens if a student/staff member tests positive?

In light of recently recorded positive cases of COVID-19 in schools around the country, we want to be as prepared as possible should this situation arise at OSSMA. To avoid shutting down an entire year group if one student tests positive for COVID-19, we are required by Public Health England to implement our own Track & Trace system within the academy. This will allow us to reduce the number of other students having to self-isolate should a test come back as positive. If a student develops symptoms when in school and subsequently tests positive, then it will hopefully be possible for us to identify which other students they have been in close contact with. However, if a student develops symptoms outside of the academy, and we are informed that they are now self-isolating, this makes it more challenging to do. This is where we would like to ask for the parent’s assistance in identifying the recent close contacts of your child.

If you call the academy to report your child as having symptoms and are self-isolating, please can you provide us with the following information:

The date that symptoms first developed.

In the 48 hours prior to this, with whom has the individual been in close contact. For students this includes Break Time/Lunch, Family Lunch if applicable, PE if applicable and journeys to and from school (no need to specify individuals from other lessons as seating plans will outline this). 

With your help, if we find ourselves in a situation where a student has tested positive, with this system in place, only the students who are close contacts will need to self-isolate, as opposed to the entire year group. We would also be grateful if, in such circumstances, you could inform the academy first of any positive test results. This would then allow us to identify and inform all of those who would be required to isolate as part of the ‘Track and Trace’ system operated by the Government.

We will keep the community fully informed of any positive test results from anyone in the academy and the actions that we have taken, in line with advice from Public Health England. In the meantime, please support the students and staff by keeping an eye out for the three main symptoms of the virus:
The symptoms are:

a high temperature

a new, continuous cough

a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

If you believe your child is suffering from any of these, please contact us immediately and do not send them into the academy. The below flow diagram may help.

Please click here for more information on symptoms, advice and what a close contact is.

Thank you for your continuing support and my best wishes to you and your family.

Nick Brennan
Acting Principal