Happy New Year! I hope that you have had an enjoyable and restful Christmas break and that your holiday was not too disrupted by COVID.
I am looking forward to welcoming you back to the Academy this week. Please remember that all students are being offered a lateral flow test in the Academy on Tuesday or Wednesday and the timings are in a letter that you should have received from us and all students will then return as normal on Thursday, 6 January. This is crucial to ensure that the virus is not transmitted to others by those without symptoms.
The Government has announced some new rules which will affect our students. These are as follows:
- Students are once again required to wear face coverings in the classroom as well as in communal areas except when eating or drinking in designated areas. Students do not need to wear face coverings outside of the buildings at break and lunchtimes. Government guidance states that staff are not required to wear face coverings in the classroom as it limits the quality of teaching but are expected to do so in communal areas.
- The period of isolation for confirmed cases continues to be 10 days with day zero being the date of first symptom or positive test result (whichever was earliest). However, you may have seen the change to the guidance which states that those staff and students who receive negative lateral flow results on day 6 and day 7 of their self-isolation period – with tests taken 24 hours apart – will no longer have to self-isolate for the full 10 days and can return to the Academy on day 8 (assuming they are well enough and have been without a temperature for 48 hours). There is no change to the guidance for unvaccinated contacts of positive COVID cases (over the age of 18 years 6 months), who are still required to self-isolate for 10 full days after their date of exposure to the virus.
The following measures remain in place:
- Twice weekly home testing (please only use tests provided by the Academy for this purpose and not for other family members given the current national shortage)
- Contacts of confirmed cases can continue to come to Academy assuming they do not have symptoms, have a negative lateral flow result, and conduct daily lateral flow tests with negative results for 7 days after contact.
- Students aged 16 and 17 are eligible for the second dose of the vaccine if not already received and these are available from many of the walk-in centres offering the boosters.
Mr D Irish