The use of Face Coverings in and around school
I appreciate that the new academic year has not started yet but I am sure you will have seen the Government’s announcement this week regarding face coverings and I am keen to share with you the school’s position before the start of term...
The Government guidance for schools is based on the recommendation from Public Health England that states:
“Public Health England (PHE) does not (based on current evidence) recommend the use of face coverings in schools. This evidence will be kept under review. They are not required in schools as pupils and staff are mixing in consistent groups, and because misuse may inadvertently increase the risk of transmission.”
We hope that our many measures including to ‘bubble’ children in specific year groups/areas of the school, gives you confidence in your child’s return to school. However, we have recognised that there are areas in a school where it is difficult to manage some inadvertent close contact between ‘bubbles’, such as corridors and indoor communal spaces. Consequently, students are welcome to wear face masks in school, outside classrooms. The school is not making this mandatory. If your child chooses to wear a face mask, the following conditions must be followed:
- Students must bring their own new disposable masks or clean reusable mask each day to ensure minimal risk of infection being brought into a school.
- All disposable face masks must be worn properly, covering the mouth and nose.
- They must be put on and removed properly without touching the front of the mask and stored in a sealable plastic bag (such as a sandwich bag) when not being worn, for example when eating food.
- Students must clean their hands thoroughly before putting on and when removing a face mask within the school building, either washing their hands or using hand sanitiser.
- The disposable face masks must be disposed of in the specific bins provided by the school.
- Face masks must be a plain colour and no designs are allowed. In class, students should not wear face coverings, unless there is a specific reason.
You will also be aware that the Government has said that children age 11 and over must wear face coverings when using public transport. Any student arriving at school on public transport or school transport must remove the face mask or face covering worn for travelling before they enter the school and clean their hands either by washing them or using hand sanitiser. This is to prevent introducing potential infection from close contact on transport into the school setting. In continuing to wear a face mask for parts of the school day, an additional new disposable mask or additional clean reusable mask will also be required, not the same face mask / covering they have used on the transport. Masks must be kept in separate sealable plastic bags during the day and not mixed. Reusable masks should be thoroughly washed in soap and water at the end of each day.
We hope that the added flexibility of being able to wear masks in indoor communal areas will help you feel reassured about your child returning to school. If you need further support, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
These arrangements are based on current guidance. If there are any changes to the guidance, we will update our advice and let you know.
With very best wishes.
Mr R Pett