I am writing to you regarding the use of face coverings as a supportive control measure in schools. In guidance published at the beginning of this week the government stated that ‘from the 17th of May, in line with Step 3 of the road map, face coverings will no longer be recommended for pupils and students in classrooms or communal areas, in all schools and colleges. Face coverings will also no longer be recommended for staff in classrooms. Students must still wear masks on public and school transport.’
However, we have also received advice from Wigan Council in partnership with public health leaders across GM that notes, ‘several areas in the North West, particularly in Greater Manchester, have seen a recent increase in infections, including among young people. Evidence suggests that face coverings continue to be an effective way of reducing transmission. Within schools, they may reduce the extent of transmission and reduce the likelihood of bubbles needing to be asked to self-isolate at home, enabling you to maximise the amount of face to face teaching that can be offered this school year. As a result, you may want to promote the continued use of face coverings for all, including pupils, as part of your robust system of controls to reduce potential COVID-19 transmission in school until the end of this half-term. This measure is likely to be most appropriate in communal areas and areas where social distancing may be difficult.’
Furthermore, the National Educational Union has advised that schools continue to recommend the continued use of face masks. They highlight the fact that many staff in schools are yet to be vaccinated.
Therefore, as a school we strongly recommend that students and staff continue to wear face masks in communal areas such as corridors where social distancing may be difficult. School will continue to support Students and Staff who wish to continue wearing face masks in the classroom. We will continue to make masks freely available to those students and staff.
Finally, I would draw your attention to the fact that this recommendation sits alongside various other control measures including;
- KS3 & KS4 bubbles
- additional hand washing and sanitising
- minimising movement around school
- social distancing when possible
- lateral flow testing ( Please continue twice weekly testing )
- enhanced cleaning.
- subject level additional measures.
All of these measures have helped us maintain high levels of attendance and minimal levels of self-isolation since our return in March. This has required significant effort from everyone in the community. We want to do everything we can to maintain this situation and keep all of the children in school. As we move towards half term, I will write to you further regarding our intentions to introduce further adaptations, dependent on the ongoing situation, to help students return to some sort of normal before the summer break. Thank you for your ongoing support.
Mr J Grant
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