Coming back to school following the summer break

School will reopen to all students on Monday 6th September 2021 at 8:40am and close each day at 3:15pm


We are delighted to be able to welcome all students and staff back to school following the summer break. We will return immediately to a full five lessons per day timetable with the right teachers in the right classrooms. Over the course of the school year, we will continue to operate these same basic principles that best support our students and families. All students are expected to be in the classroom at the first session of the day at 8:45am prompt. School finishes at 3:15pm everyday. Our full school uniform policy will be in place and we thank parents in advance for supporting us in maintaining high standards.


We can reassure all students, staff and parents that we will continue to do everything we can to keep our whole school community safe. With this in mind, we will continue to operate many of the normal Covid safety measures that have served us well to this point. All families are encouraged to take part in the regular, twice weekly covid testing.


We recognise our responsibility to manage the school as safely as possible so we are constantly reviewing the information and guidance from the Department of Education, NHS and other organisations to inform our plans. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and where necessary we will make further changes to our return to school plans, Any changes will be documented and we will make this information available on the school website www.hccs1978.co.uk/


If your child is unwell


If your child is unwell in any way, they must not come to school. If you need to discuss any symptoms that your child or other household member may be experiencing please contact us on Nocv19@hccs.info and we will respond appropriately. We must all remain vigilant at all times and work together to keep our whole school community safe. The local Public Health team reports that the presenting symptoms of Covid-19 in children have changed and become less easy to distinguish. We will encourage students to present for PCR tests more frequently when suffering from a range of general symptoms.


Please contact us before sending your child to school If your child or any member of the household has CV-19 symptoms or is waiting to have or receive the results of a Covid-19 test. Please contact us by email at Nocv19@hccs.info or attendance@hccs.info and we will get back to you quickly.


If a child becomes unwell during the school day, we will initially look after them in the usual way and parents will be contacted to pick them up ASAP. Whilst waiting to be picked up they will be isolated from other children.


Face coverings


Speculation in the news suggests that schools may delay reopening whilst mass testing of students takes place. However, we believe that getting all students back into full time face to face learning is a priority. Therefore, based on our current assessment of the risks during the first two weeks of term, we believe on the balance of probability that wearing masks inside of school buildings will help us to maintain a safe environment as we assess the impact of reopening on Covid transmission rates. Therefore, for the first two weeks of school, whilst not being compulsory, face coverings will be strongly encouraged within school buildings. We hope that for the first two weeks, parents will help us by encouraging students to wear face coverings.


We will review this position at the end of the first two weeks back in school by which time all students and staff will have had the opportunity to self test twice per week for two full weeks. We plan at that stage to move to make face coverings completely optional rather than strongly encouraged, for students and staff as they are in other public places. In other words, we hope to be able to move down a level in terms of risk. We will keep this position under review as the school year develops and will continue to monitor closely the local infection rates. We do not rule out the need to return to a level of face coverings being necessary should there be a sharp upturn in the rate of Covid-19 infections.


Lateral Flow Testing (LFT) for students and staff


Up to one third of people who have coronavirus experience no symptoms but may still be able to spread the virus. By continuing to promote regular testing, we will be able to identify those who are free of any symptoms but who are actively carrying the virus. These rapid tests will identify a high percentage of these cases and play an important part in keeping our school community safe. The actual tests that we use will change slightly in September and we will help students and their families to make the transition to the new test kits. The process is pretty much the same as previous LFTs but the swabs will just be from the nose rather than the throat.


Many of the systems that were in place to keep schools safe, including the need to self isolate when in close contact with someone from a different household tests positive for Covid-19. We are clear that we need to make a full and early assessment of the level of covid infection that is present within the school community as quickly as possible. Routine self testing is seen as an important part of keeping schools safe as we move through the coming months and we will do everything we can to encourage families to participate.


We have worked hard to put in place the capacity when we reopen to carry out around 1,000 tests per week which will enable us to offer supportive testing to all students at the start of term. Trained staff will be on hand to support students and staff to self swab which is a fairly simple procedure. The intention is to have one test in school under supervision and then for students to carry on self testing from home at that point.


This will be the fifth time that we have run supervised testing for all students with the exception of year 7 who are new to the scheme. For students in year 7, we will offer supervised self testing twice at the beginning of term with an expectation that they will self test at home in between. It is important for us to be confident that students are able to carry out their tests effectively.


Taking part in testing is not compulsory but is very much encouraged. We have written out to the parents of all year 7 students to obtain consent for students who are new to the regular, twice weekly, self testing scheme. We have also contacted parents who have previously opted for their children not to take part to check that position remains the same. Children whose parents inform us of their wish to withhold consent in regard to the weekly self testing (LFT) scheme will not be asked to self test in school or disadvantaged in any way because of it.


The timetable for supervised self testing by year group will be:

Year 7 - Monday 6th and Monday 13th September

Year 11 - Tuesday 7th

Year 10 - Wednesday 8th

Year 9 - Thursday 9th

Year 8 - Friday 10th


LFT (Lateral Flow Test) Testing of staff


Twice weekly self testing is compulsory for all staff.


No visitors, including contractors will be allowed to enter the school buildings without confirmation of a negative test result.


Please note that these tests are for people who have no symptoms. Please do not attend school or send children to school if they are in any way unwell. Please contact nocv19@hccs.info if you require any advice or contact NHS111.


We are confident that continuing to support the self testing regime will help us to keep our school community safe and we would ask all parents and staff to help us make a smooth transition as we welcome everyone back to school.


Before school restarts, everyone should complete two self tests, with two or three days between tests, in the last week before school reopens to students on Monday 6th September 2021.


If you test positive using an LFT test


Students and staff who test positive will need to stay home and self isolate immediately as will all members of the household that they live with. Test results should be notified to the NHS Test and Trace service. Please let school know by email to Nocv19@hccs.info


You will be required to confirm the result by undertaking a PCR test. From this point, the person testing positive and all members of their household must not leave home and follow the instructions from the NHS Test and Trace service. If you have any concerns or questions contact NHS 111.


Classrooms safety


Clean hands: Regular cleaning of hands is a simple but important part of reducing the transmission of bacteria and viruses including Covid. Over 120 hand sanitising stations were installed throughout the school to make it easy for students and staff to clean their hands. Everyone must clean their hands on entry to every classroom on every occasion.


Air circulation: Classroom doors and windows will remain open in order to allow adequate ventilation. It is suggested that students and staff may wish to consider wearing an extra layer under their normal school uniform in the cooler months. The mass movement of all students once per hour also creates air movement and reduces the build up of ‘stale air’ in classrooms which is why the five lessons per day timetable in the right classrooms is important to maintain.


Seating plans: All classes will have fixed seating plans with students facing the front. Seating plans are compulsory and students will not be permitted to change places. Seating plans are an important part of our internal procedures to identify close contacts of students or staff when a positive case of Covid-19 is confirmed.


Cleaning: In addition to normal cleaning protocols, we have now introduced Ozone environment cleaning. This method uses special machines to turn the oxygen (O2) in a room to Ozone (O3) which kills all bacteria and viruses. We have purchased two machines and will rotate them throughout all classrooms over each half term.


Coming to school and going home


Please consider not bringing cars to the front of school and consider making arrangements to drop off and pick up a short walk away from school. This will help us to reduce crowding at both ends of the school day. New, enforceable parking restrictions are in place that prohibit parking or waiting at the front of school during the school day. The new restrictions run from Portree Drive to Middlewich Road on the opposite side of the road from the school entrance. Please be courteous to local residents and do not block driveways.


The school gate will shut at 8:40am prompt. Tutor time commences promptly at 8:45am. Students who arrive late for school must report to school reception.


If someone in your household tests positive for Covid-19


If you or a member of your household test positive for COVID-19 please email us Nocv19@hccs.info so that we can make sure that all appropriate steps can be taken to keep our school community safe. You will be contacted by the national Test and Trace service who are now responsible for all contact tracing.


Track and Trace in school


On Monday 16th August 2021, for anyone in close contact with someone who tests positive for Covid-19 the rules have changed. For anyone under the age of 18 years and 6 months or who have been fully vaccinated, compulsory isolation may no longer be required. Close contacts, outside of their household, are now asked to take a PCR test and can continue to go about their business if they test negative. We will however ask students to stay at home until a negative test result is obtained. Given the quick turnaround of PCR tests this is unlikely to impact for more than a day or two and students will continue to access learning via their Google classroom account.


Our school’s Track and Trace Team will be in operation again from Monday 6th September and have been highly effective in keeping students in education as safely as possible. Last year, only once when a link between a small number of cases was identified, did we need to ask a whole year group to stay at home for three days. Even so, we will be altering our systems in light of the updated guidance and we are confident that we will be able to further minimise the impact of Covid cases on classroom learning.


We have now updated our procedures, modifying the system of identifying close contacts which will reduce by around 60% the number of students identified as close contacts and who would previously have been asked to self isolate. Our experience to date gives us confidence that the new system will provide a balance between staying safe and keeping students and staff in the classroom.


Students identified as being in close contact with someone from outside of their households who tests positive for Covid-19 will be asked to remain at home until they obtain a negative PCR test. We will also then ask them to complete a daily LFT test up to day 10 after the last contact although this will not be compulsory. This should help us to monitor the situation closely whilst keeping our school community safe. We expect to see a significant reduction to the number of students having to isolate at home.


These measures go beyond the minimum recommendations for schools and will help us to keep our school community safe. In addition to our local systems, the NHS Test and Trace service now has primary responsibility for contacting close contacts of all positive cases including in schools. If a child tests positive for Covid-19, the NHS Test and Trace service will contact parents directly and ask for details of people who have been in close contact with the child.


Please do not contact the school to ask for contact details for other children. Under the Data Protection Act we cannot share personal information of students or staff. Schools have been informed that they will not be part of this process. We expect our school systems to operate much more quickly to identify close contacts and to bring this to the attention of parents.


Vaccinations


Within the school community, only around 10% of people on site each day will previously be included in the national Covid-19 vaccination programme. However, the situation has been developing rapidly with the government now opening the availability of the Pfizer vaccine to young adults between over 16 years of age. We hope that as many of our sixth form and year 11 students as possible will choose to take up the offer of the vaccine in the coming weeks and months when they meet the age criteria. In the days leading up to the school reopening we have published information to Sixth Form students about vaccinations available locally. We will continue to encourage students to take up the offer of a vaccine as they become eligible.


With this in mind, we would just like to make you aware that the mass vaccination centre at Alderley Park is open to 16/17 year olds. They are open daily from 8:30-18:00 and would welcome our students. There is a list of all the other centres open to 16/17 year olds via the NHS website at:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/north-west/grab-a-jab/

Further information about vaccination in younger people can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-resources-for-children-and-young-people


School uniform


All students will be expected to return to school in full school uniform in compliance with our published uniform policy. Please note that hoodies and training shoes are not allowed. Students arriving at school in non uniform items will be asked to remove the items. Parents may be called and asked to provide alternative items where necessary. Your support in helping us to maintain high standards of uniform is very much appreciated.This can be found at:


https://35f20c92-008e-4b2c-8de4-a0040b2332f7.filesusr.com/ugd/0e64df_b7e472de419241e48e131000afe2f6cc.pdf


PE uniform will be required on the days that students are scheduled to have PE. Changing rooms are fully open and will be available to facilitate a normal timetable and after school activities. Again, the full PE uniform requirements can be found in our published policy.


Useful contacts


School staff will return to work on Thursday 2nd September 2021


For issues relating to COVID-19 including advice and information please contact us by email at: Nocv19@hccs.info

Free any questions about free school meals: financeteam@hccs.info

All other general enquiries please contact us by email at: office@hccs.info