Face masks in the Academy

I am writing to you following a letter I received from Lesley Hagger, Executive Director of Children’s Services for Sandwell MBC this morning. Please see the pertinent extract from the letter in the paragraph below:

“I also informed you last week that we made an application to central government to reintroduce the wearing of facemasks in secondary schools. Yesterday we received confirmation from the Joint Biosecurity Centre lead that our request has been agreed by Ministers. This means that we now strongly advise secondary schools to reintroduce the wearing of face masks in all areas of the school.” Lesley Hagger, Executive Director of Children’s Services 15th June 2021

Based on the instruction from the Local Authority we will therefore be reintroducing the requirement for face masks to be worn in all indoor areas of the school by students, staff and all visitors to the Academy. This may take a short time to organise and therefore staff will be required to do this from tomorrow (Wednesday, 16 June) and students can wear them from tomorrow but will be expected to wear them from Monday, 21 June.

This is an action we had hoped to avoid, but as indicated in my communications, it was a step we knew we may have to take. I would like to reiterate that we have had no positive cases in school that required students to self-isolate or to close bubbles since we returned from the Easter break. We continue to offer weekly testing kits to students, and I would urge students and families to continue to test regularly in case there are any asymptomatic cases in the family unit.

Cases in Sandwell remain below the national average according to the latest data from the Sandwell Public Health team. The number of confirmed cases between the 6th and 12th June in the Soho and Victoria ward was 7 out of a population of over 17,000 people and for the Smethwick ward it was 8 out of population of over 15,000.

All of our other systems of control remain in place and will remain in place until the end of the academic year. Whilst this is disappointing news for everyone it is important that we continue to follow the advice that we receive from the Local Authority and Government as we have done throughout the pandemic.

There is no expectation for students to wear face masks in their Physical Education lessons. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Academy.

Kind regards
Mr D Irish
Principal

View full copy of letter here