Returning to School – September 2021 Guidance
Last week, Stratford Girls’ Grammar School opened its gates and welcomed students and staff to the new academic year. We were thrilled to see many familiar and new faces on-site, and many of you will have already experienced the COVID-19 measures that we have put in place, as per government guidelines.
In this week’s blog, we recap the preventative measures that are currently on-site and highlight everything students can expect from full-time classroom learning.
Please note that testing is voluntary, but all members of our community are encouraged to participate. Kits are available in school.
All students are now required to attend the full school day on site unless showing symptoms of COVID-19. These symptoms include, but are not limited to, a high temperature, persistent cough and loss of sense of taste and smell. If you are unsure of how COVID-19 can present itself in young people, please see here to view the full list of symptoms recognised by the NHS.
If a student needs to self-isolate, they will need to do so for ten days unless informed otherwise by the NHS, PH or the school. For more information relating to self-isolation click here.
Tracing close contacts and isolation
As the safety of all students and teachers remains our priority, all close contacts will now be identified via NHS Test and Trace as education settings are no longer expected to undertake contact tracing. In light of this, NHS Test and Trace will work with positive cases and/or their parent to specifically identify close contacts and ensure those individuals follow the correct measures, as with positive cases in any other setting.
In compliance with current guidelines, individuals will not be required to self-isolate if they live in the same household as someone with COVID-19 or have close contact with someone with COVID-19 if they apply to any of the following criteria:
▪ they are fully vaccinated
▪ they are below the age of 18 years six months
▪ they have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
▪ they are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons.
In these specific circumstances, they will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace, informed they have been in close contact with a positive case and advised to take a PCR test.
For Sixth Form students, all 18-year-olds will be treated in the same way as children until six months after their 18th Birthday, to allow them the opportunity to get fully vaccinated. At which point, they will be subject to the same rules as adults and will therefore need to self-isolate if not vaccinated and identified as a close contact.
We will continue to have a role in working with Warks PH in the case of a local outbreak and will respond accordingly, informing all parents/carers first and foremost on any changes, should this be the case.
Preventative Measures on site
Social behaviour is a key driver in reducing the transmission of the virus and all students will be reminded of the need for regular handwashing (for at least 20 seconds) and hand sanitising. Sanitation stations are clearly located around the school for use when entering any buildings and classrooms.
We will continue to encourage ‘HANDS, FACE, SPACE’ as the key message to all, in addition to the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ guidance. Additionally, face coverings will not be required once students have arrived at school grounds. The decision to wear a face-covering will be completely optional and down to the individual staff or student.
Within all buildings, the need for good ventilation in classrooms and buildings remains and we sought expert advice to ensure that we meet this requirement while maintaining ambient temperatures in the classrooms. Top windows should be slightly open and internal doors should be kept open throughout the school day.
Communications about missed work
The school appreciates that being well is linked to being in control of your workload, which is why we will support any student who has been absent from a lesson/s due to illness or pre-arranged absence. In this instance, students will need to follow specific procedures.
If a student is off school due to illness, they should, in the first instance, ask a friend for the work they have missed when they are better. Students should not email/message staff on the day they are off asking for the work they are missing but instead talk to their teacher/s on their return to school. If a student is absent for more than three days, their parents/carers should contact their Head of House/ the Head of Sixth Form to arrange for work to be sent home if appropriate.
Staff will also support students who have absences due to pre-arranged trips or events. Therefore, if a student knows they are going to miss school/lessons, for this reason, they should give their teachers two lessons notice and indicate when they will be missing (NB: a double lesson on one day counts as one lesson). Students in lower years can also ask their Tutor or Head of House for support in collecting work if they are unsure what to do. Please note that access to remote education i.e., via MS Teams, is only available to students who are required to self-isolate as a result of a positive PCR test.
Arrivals and departures
All pedestrian access to the site is via the Shottery fields entrance up to 8.55 am. Students will be allowed to enter the site from 8.15 am when the gate opens but please be advised that pedestrians no longer have access to the Shottery Road entrances at the start and end of the day, to avoid traffic issues including potential accidents.
If arriving and departing on a designated bus, students will be dropped off in the turning circle in the morning, but they will be required to go to the centre lawn at the end of the day, ensuring they only board a bus when directed to do so by duty staff. Alternatively, public buses will now be operating from the public bus stop near the Bell Inn, on the corner of Tavern Lane, which is a five-minute walk from the school. If travelling on public transport or a designated bus, please remember that a face covering is always recommended.
If driving, parents/carers or students should park considering our neighbours or be dropped off at Shottery fields or at a walkable distance from the school as only staff cars are permitted on site. When leaving the premises, students taking public transport, walking or being picked up will exit from the Shottery Field entrance. Parents/carers are asked not to gather at the gate, as this is a public footpath, and wait for their daughter either at distance from the gate or on Shottery Road.
We thank you for your cooperation with these preventative measures as we all continue to fight against the pandemic. SGGS look forward to our first term back and will continue to liaise adapt as needed to ensure we are following the national guidelines as and when it’s updated.